Research visa restrictions, safety issues and the best way to pick a guide in the Middle East. Learn about the countries beyond the media hype and discover why the people make the place.

Safe for a jew to travel to Lebanon/Syria?

World Traveller

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  • Added on: March 2nd, 2006
Many countries have the same regulations regarding people coming over from different places. So, I do not see an issue with Saudis wanting to approve who comes and goes. As for the name thing, I agree, if it is an obviously Jewish name, it might be an issue.

Here is another thought to ponder. Besides some government official at best, i bet you a regular Saudi would not recognize a Jewish name. How often to they hear it, deal with it or interact with someone who is Jewsih.

I have been to Saudi, and besides the desert, i do not see what one would want to do there.

Viaggero

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  • Added on: March 2nd, 2006
quote:
How often to they hear it, deal with it or interact with someone who is Jewish.


If they get American TV, most shows with lawyers, doctors, or that center around New York will have characters with such names. Again, it depends on education and name recognition.

jv

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  • Added on: March 6th, 2006
Wow, dawn of the living thread. I'm guessing Daniel has gone to the Middle East by now, but for what it's worth:

IIRC, many Middle Eastern countries (Syria included, I think) ask you to disclose your religion on the visa application. The best advice, of course, is to lie. An obvious Jewish name might raise a red flag, but you could also lie and say you're of German decent, Russian decent, etc. Other than that, you'll be fine. Just be cautious about letting people know your religion.

DanielVH

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  • Added on: March 6th, 2006
I'm not there just yet but will hopefully fairly soon.

At the moment I'm finishing off the south east asia part of my trip and will be flying from Bangkok to London soon where I'll work my way down to turkey and go from there.

Housediggity

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  • Added on: March 10th, 2006
Its safe for a jew to travel around Syria and Lebanon. When asked about religion, I suggest just shrugging off the topic. Let the person you're talking to maintain their assumption that you're Christian. Be prepared for some anti-semitism, which is mostly borne from a visceral hatred for Israel and nothing more.

Of course, this would be impossible if you wear a yarmulke. In that case, I probably wouldn't recommended travelling through those countries.

Viaggero

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  • Added on: March 10th, 2006
Although their numbers are few, there is an active synogogue in Damascus? That might shead a little light on the situation

The Jews of Syria - Jewish Virtual Library


The Jews of Lebanon - Jewish Virtual Library

goodlookinrebel

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  • Added on: March 20th, 2006
The politzer prize winning journalist Thomas L. Friedman lived in Beriut for 5 years and, according to his book, only had one person recognize his name as being Jewish and just told everyone else that it was Lithuanian or something like that. Boosts my confidence for travelling in the region.

jasfy770

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  • Added on: April 13th, 2008
my last name is lewin but i hold french passport i'm a religious jew and want to visit syria or lebanon i have no problem wearing jusr a baseballcap but what about taking tefilin in my suitcase and a prayer book? (even if i take it in french it will cobtain some stuff in hebrew) how thorough is the border check?

Tortuga_traveller

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  • Added on: April 13th, 2008
Hide the Tefilim and book deep. Border checks will probably be cursory, unless you get the 'red' light, at which time they probably tear you apart, just like the USA or any other country I've been too.

Syrian government people have a serious issue with Israelis, and probably orthodox Jews. Lebanese, well, they can be pretty laissez faire since they USED to be a multicultural society until the palestinian refugees upset the apple cart with the help of Syria.

(Well, on the bus to Georgia from Turkey, they took everyones bags apart, item by item, except for mine, I offered to open it, but they waved me off. That was a scene I don't want to repeat, since it was a BUSLOAD of passengers.)
Open your heart, and your dreams will follow

jasfy770

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  • Added on: April 13th, 2008
first i am impressed by how i get an answer on a thread inactive for at least 2 years.......impressive...blackberry style forum is the standard>?
now for syria i get that mostly it should be no trouble as long as you manage to keep everything under wrap at the border.
issue is my name and beard might give me away fairly easily if the guy in front of me end up being even remotely intelligent (which they're suppose to be)
now what happens if i actually get ''caught'' and refused entry? what next?
i dont really insist on syria but my other friend has scored already twice with a japan trip i was dreaming about, and now he confirmed a north korea trip for the summer so i must do something! (and no thailand or vietnam or both won't do...)
beside the syria trip) which is the most developed but authentic destination for the true middle east experience?
(that means hotels,trips,tourists,price,friendliness,stuff to see and do)

Tortuga_traveller

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  • Added on: April 14th, 2008
If you have sidelocks, then there probably will be trouble. Otherwise, everyone has beards.

That and if you wear the shawl with fringes.
Open your heart, and your dreams will follow

jasfy770

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  • Added on: April 14th, 2008
nop not of those....my fringes will not show obviously
how about the currency? the shopping?

Prisa

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  • Added on: April 15th, 2008
Understand that regardless of your take on the political blah-blah-blah of the Israeli/Palestine/Lebanon/Syria conflict it is a real and serious conflict. These people have seen the bloodshed and been given images that ...we in the West dont see. And they are bitter and incredibly angry. Righfully or not is not something you can change or even address (as a non resident anyway) so leave.it.alone. Do not engage in any conversatinos about Palestine, Jews, Hizbollah, Hamas or Iran. Just dont do it. This is comming from someone on both sides of the Jew/Arab issue. That's right...I'm all mixed up (oohoohooh) and I've had Arab family actually look me in the eye and say, "No you are not Jewish, no way, no how" because they cared about me. They flat out refused to believe it. Not because they hate all Jewish people. They dont. But they see them as oppressive occupiers of their people. Murderers and theives.
So, you really should be careful to keep your heritage underwraps. It should be no problem. If you look in anyway Semetic then you look like the Syrians, Lebonese, ect allready. The tribes are all similar blood/gene-wise. It's just the religious crevace that you have to deal with.

And ya, absolutly enjoy yourself. In truth Jews and Arabs are the most similar people on the planet. We both say "aaaackkk", we both shout on the phoneA, both dont eat pork, and both believe God/Allah/Yaweh is the only god.
Oh ya. Jews and Arabs, minus the political hosh-posh generally get along fantastically. Albiet a little loudly...
___________________________
'The time has come,' the Walrus said,
'To talk of many things:
Of shoes -- and ships -- and sealing wax --
Of cabbages -- and kings --
And why the sea is boiling hot --
And whether pigs have wings

Tortuga_traveller

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  • Added on: April 15th, 2008
I forgot about that.

Hallal food is probably going to be made under Kosher rules, all but the approval of the Rabbi of your particular order, and that can get weird for the Orthodox, some of whom will not eat at a Kosher restaurant not approved by a Rabbi considered to be not religous enough.

So, as long as you don't insist on strict Kosher unless you find some Jews in Damascus, you'll probably eat the most kosher un-approved food you've ever eaten in your life.
Open your heart, and your dreams will follow

jasfy770

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  • Added on: April 15th, 2008
well for food....not to get much off topic but just so you know: i'm orthodox and i don't eat in a restaurant i haven't been DIRECTLY recommended to by somebody i trust. no matter what rabbi gives his stamp. a kosher restaurant must be supervised at all time while open by a third party working for the supervising authority,which is mostly not the case for many ''lenient'' rabbis,for me personally i need to know from a reliable source that the boss and/or manager is serious in general and i eat no matter who the rabbi is but only for dairy restaurant (we dont mix milk and meat) for a meat restaurant it's much trickier and limits my choices even in a city like paris.
now for traveling: mostly i would go to places where they have at least 1 place where i can eat and resupply,which is the case in a LOT of places including:turkey,japan,thailand,china (all over) etc
otherwise certain products do not need any kosher seal.
fresh fruits and vegetables,fresh fish. many basic items made the old fashion way,coca cola,coffee (no milk),pringles,lays.
i know i am very serious about it but i've worked in the kosher supervision biz and restaurant and believe me i ain't over doing it...you have no idea what kinda sh@%!t they put in your plate sometime.
o and btw many travelers pack up on food before they go
the married ones get the good stuff(it's called the wife reminder by many, and it just work to keep them faithful on the road)the singles like me buy stuff in stores (it's actually quite a big market by us)


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