Many Americans visit Israel to tour holy sites, but for some, a bit of excitement is added to the tour package. For instance, Caliber 3 offers a 2-hour anti-terrorism training course for people of all ages. It even offers at its shooting range some extras, like paintball activities available for "families, friends, birthday parties" or other events.
The program is part of something called "Zionist tourism," a kind of tourism that The Times of Israel characterizes as "the hottest Israeli tourism trend of the summer," drawing in Americans who look forward to some "shoot 'em up" training.
Caliber 3 explains:
At our program we combine together the values of Zionism with the excitement and enjoyment of shooting which makes the activity more meaningful. The contact with real soldiers who have experienced anti terrorism fighting means that everything shown and taught is authentic.
Although not marketed as having "values of Zionism," terror-related tourism in Israel is nothing new. For instance, there's the "Ultimate Counterterrorism Mission to Israel" tour that Slate magazine described in a 5-day diary published in 2008. Earlier, in 2003, an article published in Hebrew at Ynet read in part (translated using Google translation):
New attraction: terrorism challenges
Posted: 03/05/03, 10:14
Five days of combat activity beyond the Green Line, the staple food, strenuous physical activity and life-threatening. Sounds like a horrible nightmare? 22 young Americans agreed to pay more than $ 1,000 per day for the experience "fun" this.
Two entrepreneurs from Gush Etzion, and Joshua J. Grinbld Oriental, decided to outsmart recession in tourism to Israel, and instead convince not dangerous here – offer the attraction of terrorism. Challenged tourism is not an Israeli invention: the climbing and sliding into the crater of an active volcano, diving with Great White sharks and swimming with crocodiles have been heard, but Israel can not offer those choices. So they decided to offer what we have here in abundance – the military, terrorism and attacks.
Assistance Yesha Tourism Association, marketed two American tourists package developers seeking thrills and action. Israelis heard "trip" more like a cross between Basic training for reserve duty: up at six in the morning, fitness training and Krav Maga, the rate of dismantling and assembling weapons, shooting range, visiting the outposts, helicopter flight over Hebron and Gaza, patrol and guard the settlements. "A tour along the perimeter of one of the settlements at night, knowing that there is a chance that instead of a battle unfolds, is an unforgettable experience to the world", explained the developers, who own the United States in recent years and live in the settlement of Neve Daniel.
It's not just Americans going on terror-related outings. In 2011, LiveLeak reported on picnic-like gatherings where Israelis watched watch military strikes on Gaza: