Since 1956, USY has operated Israel programs for Jewish youth from North America. The safety and well-being of our participants has always been, and continues to be, our highest priority.
All of our programs are adapted as the situation requires, in a manner to assure the safety of all participants. This includes the routes, accommodations and security measures taken. We have decades of experience operating programs under all circumstances and our safety record is proven.
We have always scrupulously avoided unsafe places and venues and are well equipped to make any necessary itinerary changes throughout the programs. Furthermore, the supervision on all our programs is diligent.
Every decision regarding travel itinerary, routes, lodging locations or activity sites is made in conjunction with the Security Department of the SPNI. The SPNI Security Department is in constant contact with the police, army and other intelligence sources and provides USY with frequent updates and precautionary devices.
Generally speaking, USY exercises an even higher level of caution and takes precautionary measures in advance of those recommended or required by SPNI.
In conjunction with the security apparatus in Israel, USY routinely examines and re-examines each activity, lodging site, and transportation route to ensure the safety of our participants. It is our current policy to avoid crowded or congested areas. Free time is predetermined and supervised.
Additionally, the participants, both individually and as a group, are prohibited from traveling to the West Bank and prohibited from traveling on public buses in the cities.
While the U.S. State Department frequently issues warnings to U.S. citizens regarding travel to Israel, the West Bank and Gaza, we feel that our routine security precautions responsibly account for the issues it raises. To begin with, although the advisory includes Israel, much of its focus is on the West Bank and Gaza, and our groups do not and will not travel to these areas.
Next, all of the general precautions in the advisory are already incorporated into our security guidelines. It is also important to note that the State Department warnings do not include suggestions that Americans in Israel should consider leaving the country, nor does it prohibit travel to Israel.
Our staff is accessible to parents/guardians 24 hours a day, seven days a week during operation of the programs. If a situation of any kind arises, we are in direct communication with parents in a timely manner.