SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (News4Utah) – Brigham Young University put out a travel restriction Thursday for students and staff on their Jerusalem campus. This comes after the unrest and violence seen since President Donald Trump’s announcement to move the U.S embassy to there.
The President officially announced recognized Jerusalem as the capitol city of Israel. The move angered many in the Middle East.
During the holiday season many Christians also travel to the holy land to celebrate the birth of Jesus, and visit historical sites.
Brent Jenson is the Vice President of Morris Murdock Travel which does specialized trips to Israel. Later this month there are a group of 50 LDS members going, and his company has made them aware of the increased risks.
Jenson said no one has canceled so far, but he believes that’s because unrest in the region is nothing new.
“If you wait for the perfect time to travel to the holy land you might not ever find it,” said Jenson. “There are always going to be conflicts in the Middle East.”
The company warns it’s travelers how to stay safe during trips and they travel in large groups. Jenson said they mostly rely on local travel guides to keep them safe.
” We have local tour guides in Israel that are up to date on a daily bases,” said Jenson. They’re going to be telling us what’s going to be happening and if there is a place we need to avoid.”
According to BYU the travel restrictions on students and staff are only for certain areas of the city. They have been put in place before.
Freshman Julia Lifferth is currently attended the main Provo campus, but her older brother is studying in Jerusalem. For her family the unrest has become hard to deal with.
“My mom is really worried and she wanted him to come home early,” said Lifferth.
The university is keeping parents and students up to date with an information page which is continually updated. BYU said they don’t plan on pulling students and staff from the site.
Although Julia said her brother worries that could happen sooner than later. While she said her brother isn’t overly concerned about his safety, but those who are already there.
“He’ll get home fine, but he’s a little bit worried about the friends he’s made their now and how they’re going to fare,” said Lifferth.
BYU said it’s unclear how long the unrest could last, but they will continue to monitor the situations as they unfold.