Jerusalem – Israeli Travelers Say Shalom To North Korea


    FILE - North Korean leader Kim Jong Un guided the "2015 combat aeronautics contest of air commanding officers of the Air and Anti-Air Force of the Korean People's Army" at Kalma Airport, which has been rebuilt on an expansion basis, to mark the 62nd anniversary of the victory in the great war for protecting the country, in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on July 30, 2015. ReutersJerusalem – Israelis hoping to visit North Korea can start packing their bags as an Israeli tour group has been awarded an exclusive franchise for official tourist visas.

    Israeli news site Globes reported that Tarbutu, a subsidiary of Israel’s Rimon Tours, has worked out an arrangement with KITSC, the North Korean national travel agency and will be running four tours this spring.

    North Korea has been largely closed to Israeli citizens until now and Tarbutu’s program manager, Haim Peres, estimated that, to date, only 100 Israelis have taken organized tours of North Korea using Chinese visas. Peres described North Korea as “one of the most fascinating countries in the world today.”

    Israelis traveling to North Korea are also required to obtain a Chinese tourist visa with two entries.

    Travelers will be subject to certain restrictions during their time in North Korea. While cell phones, laptops and tablet are permitted in the country, internet access is limited to within North Korea and international communications are only available at hotels. Tourists are forbidden to use local currency, but can use dollars, euros and the Chinese yuan. With no ATMs or currency conversion facilities in North Korea, visitors are advised to bring sufficient cash with them.

    There is no travel ban to North Korea but Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs recommends that travelers to the area exercise extreme caution. Israel does not maintain diplomatic relations with North Korea, which according to Tarbutu, has one of the lowest crime rates in the world.

    Tarbutu’s tours to North Korea start at $3,850, which does not include expenses, insurance or tourist visas.

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    1. Disgusting. No Jews from anywhere should visit the national prison torture chamber that is N Korea. There is mass starvation going on, absolute rule by a brutal tyrant that has had members of his own family killed, and is making atomic bombs aimed at Japan, S. Korea and America. Why visit a death house?

    2. Travel to North Korea by Israelis is highly not recommended. The north Koreans are waiting for the opportunity to avenge the death of the north Korean scientists killed by the Israelis by the bombing of the Syrian nuclear plant.

      Besides, it is halachically not permitted for a jew to travel there. Every visitor is compelled to bow before the statues of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jung Lee. They are considered dieties.

      • Oh, so the imbecile leader from North Korea, who’s threatened South Korea as well as the USA countless times, with destruction, doesn’t worry you in the least yet POTUS worries you !

        You must either be sarcastic or a fool, perhaps a sarcastic fool !!!

    3. Well, if life were a Hollywood movie, one could imagine a scenario in which Israelis bring agricultural marvels to N. Korea and, as prosperity increases there, the N. Korean Leader makes a special business relationship with Israel which eventually leads N. Korea to moderate and eventually eliminate harsh policies.

      But as the above postings warn, in real life such trips would be fraught with peril. Still, given binding assurances of various sorts from N. Korea, perhaps it would be possible.

    4. To #2- I had to laugh when you mentioned that halachically, it is forbidden to go to North Korea. Why didn’t you mention that halachically, it should be forbidden to smoke, as that is a far worse habit, which many Jews engage in. Incidentally, no visitor to N. Korea is required to visit, or to bow to any statues. There is a very clean and modern subway in North Korea’s capital, which Wolf Blitzer visited; also, unlike New York City, there are no two legged animals riding that subway.

      • You are not seriously comparing smoking to idol worship, are you? Idol worship is considered one of the 3 cardinal sins, which Jews (even nor religious) have historically avoided at the pain of death.

        You are also plainly wrong. Every participant in an organized tour (the only way to visit North Korea) is expected to visit Mansudae Hill and bow before idols of the leaders. I suppose that you can try to refuse, but the North Koreans are known to have very thin skin when it comes to their Dear Leaders, so the consequences might be dire. There is an American teeager serving 15 years hard labor right now for disrespecting a billboard sign.

    5. Projecting a possible scenario, would “pidyon shivuim” apply when someone deliberately travels, for no apparent legitimate reason except to “tour” (unlike, say, a professional diplomat on duty) to a place like North Korea and gets arrested?

    6. To #15- Why don’t you refrain from perpetrating untruths on this site? The person you referred to is not a teenager. He engaged in larceny, by stealing a poster in his hotel, which is a very serious offense in North Korea, since the poster made reference to their regime. While I feel badly that he was sentenced to 15 years at hard labor, he showed atrocious judgment by engaging in such reckless conduct, in a totalitarian regime. When one travels abroad, they are subject to the laws of the country that they are in. They should not expect the same legal protections, which they enjoy at home. Even in Japan, there were several Israeli teenagers, who were duped into smuggling drugs abroad, for another Israeli. Even if they didn’t specifically know that they were carrying drugs in their luggage, they showed very bad judgment, by engaging in such activity. Incidentally, you may poo poo smoking, but thousands of people die every day in the world, from the effects of smoking.


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