Portrait of an Israeli Driver – Steering With Integrity

Inspiration Travel



The Middle East is known for a longstanding tradition of hospitality and the local emphasis on caring for guests and visitors is one of our favorite aspects of travel in Israel. Every so often we encounter a person, gesture or gift that goes beyond simple hospitality—often coming from the guides who play such a big role in keeping our guests safe and secure on our Christian tours. Here’s just one recent example:

One of our passengers began her Israel tour having gone through a very trying few weeks. She’d experienced great uncertainty about the trip due to health complications. This was compounded by some unexpected financial difficulties right before leaving but she came anyway, adamant that nothing would keep her from the Holy Land tour she’d been anticipating for so long. She finally arrived in Tel Aviv only to discover her luggage had been delayed.

As any traveler knows, this can be a complicated and frustrating situation. Airlines rarely lose luggage outright but in the unlikely event it gets sent to the wrong destination, an unlucky traveler may be in for an inconvenient few hours—or days. Unfortunately, this was one of the worst luggage delays we’ve experienced. Our guest endured an entire week without her things while our team worked diligently with the airline to locate her bags.

She finally reached a point where she needed to purchase some fresh clothing, so we sent her out shopping with one of our team members. Asaf, one of our local Israeli drivers, was behind the wheel. Friendly, reliable and incredibly helpful, Asaf went above and beyond his role as a transportation provider. He entered the stores with them, helped them communicate with employees and even pointed out deals. However, during their shopping excursion, the woman lost her clutch purse—and the $1200 cash she’d just transacted from an ATM.

By the time Asaf dropped her off at the hotel, she was devastated. She assumed the worst: that it was just...gone. Then, just a few hours later, Asaf returned to the hotel. He walked into the lobby, holding her purse and an envelope with every dollar of the cash still in it. He had been cleaning his van at the end of the day and discovered the lost belongings.

When he returned the money to our guest, she immediately began to cry. “It was her money,” Asaf told us. “If I didn’t let her know her money was safe, I wouldn’t have been able to sleep tonight.” Since the money didn’t belong to him, he said it didn’t occur to him for a second to keep it for himself.

Did we mention that, until this tour, Asaf had been out of work for some time? And that he was engaged to be married soon and desperate to save money? His actions remind us of Proverbs 28:6—“Better the poor whose walk is blameless than the rich whose ways are perverse.”

What a genuine and honest young man!

One of the things we regularly tell our guests is that Israel is warm and welcoming to visitors. In fact, tourists are more likely to encounter crime in almost any major U.S. city—like Chicago, New York, or Atlanta—than in Israel. We’re grateful for partners like Asaf and our other local guides who prove this to be the case day after day, and tour after tour. Thank you, Asaf!