Gov’t Issues Warnings, Bans on Holiday Travel Abroad

Ben Gurion
El Al planes at Ben Gurion International Airport. (Moshe Shai/Flash90)

The National Security Council has released a travel warning in advance of the Pesach season. Out of 194 countries, the warning allows travel to 28 and forbids visits to six. There are also 10 warnings to various regions that cover more than one country.

The Council stressed that the warnings issued for Pesach were similar to those issued for previous holidays, and that no new destinations had been added. The warning includes a ban on all travel to Iran, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Yemen.

Sinai is considered one of the most dangerous destinations for Israelis. The vast majority of Israelis who visit Sinai are Arabs, but their religion or ethnic identity does not make them any safer. “Sinai should be avoided,” the statement said. “The security situation there is terrible, even if areas like Taba appear to be safe. But terror groups have no limitations anywhere in Sinai. Although there is no concrete information about possible attacks, we still recommend avoiding the area.”

As far as Jordan was concerned, the situation was somewhat better, the statement said, and “we are satisfied with the level of security cooperation with that country.” There are numerous travel warnings for African countries as well, the statement added.

Topping the list of destinations to avoid are Arab and Muslim countries, including Turkey, the warning says. The statement on travel warnings said that although there had been a previous warning issued about Turkey, the new statement wishes to “emphasize the warning about travel to Turkey. Terrorist attacks continue in that country, and they threaten tourist areas of the country.” In 2016, three Israelis were killed in a terror attack in central Istanbul, the statement said.

Senior defense officials said that Israel was keeping an eye on areas where large numbers of Israeli tourists or Jews would gather over the holidays. Although there were no specific warnings, the officials said that “appropriate steps” should be taken to ensure safety.