Thousands of Israelis have been vacationing in Sinai amid repeated
government warnings of an insurgency strike. At least three major Al
Qaida-aligned attacks took place in Sinai since 2003.
[On July 20, the Israeli government issued an updated travel warning
that reported an easing of threats throughout the world, Middle East Newsline reported. The warning by the
prime minister's office also canceled an alert issued in April of an
imminent attack in Sinai.]
Researchers questioned Israelis as they crossed into Sinai amid warnings
by the government's Counter-Terrorism Bureau. Based on 489 interviews, the
report said Israelis were first concerned over the reliability of their
Sinai hosts as well as sanitary conditions.
"The risk of terrorism only ranked third on their list of concerns," the
study, conducted by Natan Uriely, Arie Reichel and Galia Fuchs, said. "The
risk included a fear of the ineffectiveness of the local security forces in
dealing with such a threat."
Other Israeli concerns included overcrowding at vacation sites in the
Sinai. The tourists also cited the popular use of recreational drugs by
Most of the tourists were said to have dismissed the Israeli
government's warnings against travel to Sinai. Those interviewed asserted
that the prospect of an attack increases only during Jewish holidays, when
the Israeli tourist season peaked.
"Respondents argued that the chances of an act of terrorism increases
during Jewish religious festivals," the study said, "that their hosts who
they knew would take good care of them and protect them, that the chances of
anything happening decreases closer to the border with Israel, that it is
safer not to stay at hotels, that the presence of police forces serves as a
deterrent, that terrorism does not strike twice in the same place, that the
media enhances the sense of danger in the Sinai, and that the chances of a
terrorist attack in Israel were greater than in Sinai."
The researchers said Israelis who defined their political views as
"right-wing" or "centrist" were more concerned over their safety in Sinai.
The researchers said the link between political views and fear of terrorism
should be explored.
"Another interesting and unique finding was the importance tourists
traveling to Sinai attributed to the concerns raised by relatives, which has
never been investigated before in research on the perceptions of the risks
of terrorism," the study, released in May 2011, said. "Despite all the
self-justifications used by the tourists about the dangers of terrorism,
they were actually concerned about their relatives back home worrying about