Israel Travel Advice
Security travel advice for Israel
Threat level: High
The current travel safety advice for Israel is to be extremely cautious and vigilant when visiting the country due to the ongoing conflict in the country and surrounding regions.
Recent Security Risk Events
The ongoing Israeli-Palestine conflict continues to cause issues and disruptions in the country, particularly around the Gaza area. All travel to Gaza is strongly advised against and you may be unable to receive consular help should you wish to ignore it. If you do travel to Gaza you should contact your foreign office and Israeli authorities well in advance.
The opening of the new US Embassy on Monday 14th of May 2018 in Jerusalem sparked violence between Israeli forces and Palestinians. 58 people were killed and over 2,700 wounded by Israeli troops.
On the 8th of January 2017, a lone attacker drove a lorry into a crowd of soldiers in Jerusalem. 4 people were killed in this attack. It is thought that the attacker, 28 year old Fadi Qunbar, had been radicalised before carrying out the attack.
In March 2016, a man weilding a knife began attacking people in the West Bank city of Hebron. The attacker was then later shot dead by members of the Isreali Defence Force.
Terror-related attacks pose a serious problem in Israel due to its ongoing conflict with neighbouring countries. There is great instability in the country with sporadic firearms, artillery and rocket attacks in the area. There have been many previous attacks on the transport system and it is advised that you do not use the public transport services especially the bus services in Jerusalem and the greater Tel Aviv area.
Many reported security risks include things such as vehicles being attacked with Molotov cocktails, rammings, small arms and other violent attacks including stabbings upon persons with an increasing number of casualties within the West Bank area.
There have been known demonstrations across the country, including rioting, arson attacks and large outbreaks of violence. The West Bank, the villages of Bil’in, Ni’lin, Nabi Saleh, Jayyous, and Al Mas’ara have seen regular demonstrations which have turned violent.
Israel’s occupation of lands previously held by Palestine has caused upheaval among the region for decades. What was once an area of the world affected by religious tensions has turned into a territorial dispute boiling pot since the end of the world wars, resulting in turbulent conflicts in the area and many failed diplomatic negotiations.
Despite these tensions, Israel maintains diplomatic relations with nearly 150 countries including the United Kingdom. The country also enjoys membership of a number of organisations, including the United Nations and World Health Organisation.
Travelling in Israel can be hazardous due to other road users' behaviour as well as the current conflicts within the country. Bethlehem, Ramallah and Jericho are popular areas for tourists, however when in the West Bank you should take great care and remain extra vigilant.
There are routes and areas which should be avoided (as of June 2016):
- Route 98 (from Bar’on intersection to Alonei Habashan) due to the fighting along the Syrian border.
- Quneitra border crossing. Syrian rebel fighters have captured this area.
- Route 60 within the West Bank (the main road connecting Jerusalem with Nablus and Hebron). Violent attacks on vehicles and individuals.
- Route 443 (between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem). Violent attacks on vehicles and individuals.
- Ash-Shuhada Street and the Ibrahimi Mosque/Tomb of the Patriarchs. There has been increased fighting including rocket attacks in this area.
- Rafah border with Egypt regularly closes with no warning, it is advised that there is no attempt to travel to Gaza without proper authorisation, or to approach the perimeter fence on the Gaza Strip.
Religion: Judaism and Islam
Currency: New Shekel
Time now in Jerusalem:
Most foreign nationals, including holders of passports from the USA, Canada, Australia and the EU do not require a visa for stays less than 90 days.
It should be noted that some Arab countries may deny you entry if you have an Israeli stamp in your passport. Israeli authorities are now issuing an entry card upon arrival which provides evidence of your legal entry into the country. You should keep this along with your passport for the duration of your trip as it will enable you to leave the country hassle free. If in doubt please take advice on this from your embassy or consulate.
It is advised that visitors to Israel are up-to-date with primary boosters such as MMR. It is further recommended that most travellers get Tetanus and Hepatitis A vaccinations. You may also want to consider vaccinations for Polio as it is increasingly becoming a risk in Israel. Check with your local health professional prior to travel if you are unsure.
Other health risks
Although many of the hospitals and services in Israel are not up to western standards, there are still relatively modern facilities available if necessary. Healthcare can be expensive and it is not free in Israel, please make sure your insurance covers your journey.
U.S. Embassy Tel Aviv
71 Ha-Yarkon St,
6343229 Tel Aviv,
Telephone: +972 3 519 7575
British Embassy Tel Aviv
192 Hayarkon Street,
6340502 Tel Aviv,
Telephone: +972 03 725 1222
Other useful info
Police emergency: 100
Fire and Rescue Services: 102
Israel Electric Company: 103