Utah tourists began tour of Israel, now trying to leave

Oct 12, 2023, 8:33 PM

SALT LAKE CITY — A Utah based-tour group was in Israel for a few days when the war broke out. Now, they’re trying to get home while the country is in conflict.

They traveled with the guided tour group called Israel Revealed, which is headquartered in Salt Lake City and Jerusalem. The owner of that company, Daniel Rona, said Thursday the group was most recently in Jerusalem.

“There are about 36 people, quite usual,” Rona said. “They would visit Egypt and Jordan first and then the altercation that happened Saturday, obviously the Sabbath, and as it turns out, they had no way of going back, they had arrived in Israel.”

He said they found themselves inside of a country in conflict just three days into their tour.

“There was quite a scramble out to get out at the Ben Gurion Airport which was virtually shut down because the major U.S. airlines had stopped flying,” Rona said.

Rona said the group is mostly made up of members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He said many of them are from Utah. He was born in Israel and is a church convert. He said he started his own guided tours 50 years ago to allow people of faith to visit the Holy Land.

“People don’t go there for a vacation, they go there for an experience,” he said.

Rona said after the war was announced, they took tourists to places that were safe and secure, like the Sea of Galilee and the Western Wall.

“Some heard some sirens because … we will over warn in Israel, but no one had any encounter with missiles or rockets coming,” he said.

He said, as a native, he and his son, Steven, who is this group’s tour guide are used to and well-equipped for rocketing and conflict. He said it’s not uncommon in southern Israel.

“I’ve gone through a number of altercations,” Rona said. “We’re aware, we’re Israelis, we’ve all been in the military, I’ve got local people who are there all the time, we’re tuned into the police force and to the military alerts.”

Rona said his office staff in Jerusalem reached out to their contacts in neighboring countries to make new travel arrangements for the tour group.

“We have beautiful partners in Egypt and in Jordan, we helped them make arrangements to cross the border to Jordan and 14 left two days ago,” Ron said.

He said the other 20 are set to fly out of Amman, Jordan Friday morning.

The U.S. Department of State announced they will fly American citizens out of Israel on chartered flights starting Friday, Oct. 13.

KSL 5 TV Live

Local News

Follow @KSL5TVLike us on Facebook...

Matt Gephardt

How hoarding documents puts you at risk for identity theft

Someone who knows what they’re doing can do a whole lot of damage with the scraps of paper you’ve stashed in filing cabinets, drawers and other various hiding places around your house.

7 hours ago

Dilawar Syed, Deputy Administrator for the U.S. Small Business Administration and the highest-ranki...

Erin Cox

Highest ranking Muslim in the U.S. visits Utah to help small businesses

Dilawar Syed, Deputy Administrator for the U.S. Small Business Administration and the highest-ranking Muslim in the U.S. paid a visit to the Beehive State Tuesday.

7 hours ago

The Burger King where Taylorsville Police arrested Rodolfo Martinez-Avila. (KSL TV)...

Pat Reavy, KSL .com and Garna Mejia, KSL TV

Police: Abused homeless 4-year-old boy gets help, thanks to fast food workers

A 4-year-old boy and a 6-month-old baby were helped by Burger King employees who called police after they realized the children were homeless and being abused.

8 hours ago

Handcuffs in a jail cell. (Ravell Call/Deseret News)...

Mary Culbertson

Inmate found unresponsive in Cache County Jail, pronounced deceased at scene

An inmate at Cache County Jail was found unresponsive in his cell, and pronounced dead.

8 hours ago

FILE - Chad Daybell is on trial for the murders of his wife Lori Vallow Daybell's two children, Jos...

Lauren Steinbrecher

Defense: Chad Daybell didn’t steal money from wife’s dead children

Chad Daybell's trial continues on Day 5, as the court discussed evidence that possibly connects Daybell to insurance fraud, with funds that were meant for Lori Vallow Daybell's murdered children.

9 hours ago

Délice French Bakery and Café is getting ready for the 2024 Olympics in Paris, Italy, the home co...

Shelby Lofton

French bakery in Utah ramping up for Paris 2024 Summer Olympics

The owner of Délice French Bakery and Café in Salt Lake City is preparing for the Olympics in his home country.

11 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Women hold card for scanning key card to access Photocopier Security system concept...

Les Olson

Why Printer Security Should Be Top of Mind for Your Business

Connected printers have vulnerable endpoints that are an easy target for cyber thieves. Protect your business with these tips.

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light Up Your Home With These Top Lighting Trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for Hassle-Free Computer Repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Close up of finger on keyboard button with number 11 logo...

PC Laptops

7 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Laptop to Windows 11

Explore the benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 for a smoother, more secure, and feature-packed computing experience.

Stylish room interior with beautiful Christmas tree and decorative fireplace...

Lighting Design

Create a Festive Home with Our Easy-to-Follow Holiday Prep Guide

Get ready for festive celebrations! Discover expert tips to prepare your home for the holidays, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for unforgettable moments.

Battery low message on mobile device screen. Internet and technology concept...

PC Laptops

9 Tips to Get More Power Out of Your Laptop Battery

Get more power out of your laptop battery and help it last longer by implementing some of these tips from our guide.

Utah tourists began tour of Israel, now trying to leave