Israel/Middle East (News & Politics)/Lebanon, Israel
I was just looking for some information on travelling to both, Israel and Lebanon, and found your post from 2012. Since the situation between those two countries isn't much different now than 3 years ago, I wanted to ask you about something, as 'you've been there, done that'.
My 'passport situation' is fairly easy - I've been to Israel several times, but never got a stamp from there, so entering Lebanon shouldn't be a problem. What concerns me is the fact that my connections with Israel are quite strong - basically if anyone checks my FB or CS profile it becomes obvious, that I've been there, have friends there, am learning Hebrew etc.
So my question is, how likely is that even after successfully leaving the airport and heading to Beirut I'll be contacted by someone from the local officers and - in best case - send back home immediately? I heard some badbad stories about Lebanese people being way oversuspicious in this topic.
Forgot to mention that I'm considering going there to attend a monthly scholarship at AUB - but still, wouldn't be sure if it makes me any less 'guilty' in the eyes of local government.
Thanks for any advice,
I think you will be safe.
Everyone in Lebanon knows that people travel to Israel and Lebanon (and other countries) and there is nothing they can do to prevent it. (Even some Lebanese citizens go to Israel if they have a second passport.) They only enforce the "stamp/visa rule", but beyond that the Lebanese government doesn't seem to care much UNLESS you engage in other activities that would make them believe that you are a spy.
I have been to Lebanon myself after having been to Israel repeatedly. Like in your case, a visit to my blog would easily reveal my previous visits to, my contacts with and my sympathies for Israel. I was actually not even shy about it and mentioned it openly in discussions, also because I wanted to see how people react.
Like you said, many people are highly suspicious, but these are usually the "Zionist and American and Western global conspiracy to dominate the world" type of people, so they will be suspicious already because you are Western. Nothing will happen, except that you won't take them seriously and vice versa. But then, we should admit that these type of people are found everywhere.
On the other hand, I sometimes encountered genuine interest when I told people that I had been to Israel. Some people realize that the Arabic media are quite biased in this respect and they long for an alternative view to broaden their horizon.
Unless you take photos of military installations or engage in political activities, I don't think you'll have any run-in with representatives of the Lebanese state. In my experience, admitting previous visits to Israel was not even a problem in Iran when I was interrogated there by the Intelligence Service. They asked me what other countries in the Middle East I had been to, I included Israel in the list, and they had no question about it at all.
We should also consider that except for the completely unimportant Sheeba Farms, there is no more territorial dispute between Lebanon and Israel at the moment. Right now, Lebanon has far more serious problems with its other neighbor.
Enjoy your trip!
For more on the (partial myth of the) "Israeli passport stamp problem" when traveling in the Middle East, read here: https://andreasmoser.wordpress.com/2012/08/23/israeli-passport-stamp/