Israel is an epicenter of culture, art, science, and history. The history and people of Israel have had a far-reaching influence on the world stage, especially over the last 150 years. What’s more, the region has been historically significant since before early Biblical events.
A natural consequence of being a historical and cultural crossroad on the global scene is conflict, and Israel has certainly seen its share of that. Still, many people will travel to Israel for a wide range of reasons. They need to know how safe they can expect to be.
Here, we will discuss the latest Israeli travel advisories with the hope that your next trip to Israel will be a safe one.
2023 Update: Is Israel Save for Travel?
Most locations in Israel are reasonably safe by American standards. While concentrated areas of terrorism and armed conflict do exist, they will largely be avoidable. Your guide, the authorities, and the local people will likely make certain that you are made aware of the location visitors should and should not go to.
The nation has a remarkably low crime rate, which can be partially attributed to the ongoing conflict with Palestinians. Because of the 70-year conflict, there are ever-present surveillance systems in place as well as multiple heavily militarized zones and security personnel. As long as tourists remain clear of the West Bank and Gaza, they should be very safe.
It should be borne in mind that tensions are generally high. Tourists are advised to avoid confrontation with the locals. Israelis tend to be quite friendly to tourists, so this should not be a problem.
It should be said that crime is always a factor, no matter where in the world one travels. So it is best to be alert in areas where tourists are expected to congregate. Finally, because of persistent conflict and terrorism, it is always possible that violence will cross over established boundaries.
This means that, while it is unlikely that tourists will experience direct exposure to serious danger, absolute safety can never be guaranteed.
LATEST UPDATES / NEWS from ISRAEL:
March 29 – What are the Israeli protests about and what happens next?
On Sunday night, tens of thousands of people in Israel participated in spontaneous protests to express their anger over the prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s decision to dismiss his defense minister. The minister had called for a pause to the government’s efforts to reform the judiciary, which has sparked months of protests and been criticized by Israel’s key allies, including the US.
March 29 – Israel adopts legislation permitting home searches for illegal weapons without a warrant
A law that permits officers to search homes without a search warrant for illegal weapons was approved by the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, on Tuesday.
The law is intended to combat the increase in violent crime in Israel, particularly in Arab neighborhoods that have seen a rise in organized crime in recent years.
If there is a plausible suspicion that a weapon or evidence of a serious crime is present, the temporary regulation allows police to search a home or business without a warrant. However, a superintendent-level officer or higher must give the green light for the searches.
March 1 – American-Israeli slain in the West Bank as violence grows
As retaliation escalates, an Israeli American was shot dead in the occupied West Bank.
Elan Ganeles, 26, was killed in a vehicle attack on a highway near Jericho.
The shooting occurred after Israeli settlers raided Palestinian towns in the West Bank on Sunday night, destroying hundreds of cars and homes.
This attack came after a Palestinian shot dead two settlers from a neighboring community on Sunday.
February 14: Two Palestinians killed in latest Israeli raids in West Bank
On the 14th of February, 2023, two Palestinian individuals were killed by Israeli forces in the village of Deir Abu Mash’al. This is yet another tragic incident in the ongoing conflict that has plagued the region for decades.
The incident occurred in the early morning hours
when Israeli forces entered the village and engaged in a confrontation with the local residents. According to witnesses, the forces used live ammunition, tear gas, and sound bombs, leading to the death of two individuals and the injury of several others. The deceased individuals were identified as 22-year-old Mohammad Al-Barghouthi and 19-year-old Abdel-Rahman Al-Barghouthi.
Crime in Israel: Violent & Non-Violent
As mentioned above, there will always be a crime. While crime, in general, is remarkably low in Israel, vigilance is warranted, especially for tourists. The overall rate of crime remains stable at 1.49% for every 100,000 people.
The most common cause of violent crime in Israel by far is terrorism. Attacks are usually concentrated in the West Bank, the Sinai peninsula, and Gaza. Civil unrest is a real concern, but Israeli intelligence tends to do a very good job of protecting civilians.
Non-Violent crimes like petty theft and automobile theft are significant concern. Vehicle break-ins and petty theft are the most frequent forms of non-violent crime in Israel. Visitors should take care to park in the most visible places possible and always secure their vehicles and belongings.
Avoid carrying all of your documentation on your person and travel in groups whenever possible.
Due to the 70+ years of constant conflict in the region, terrorism is always a threat. While it is concentrated in certain areas, sudden, unexpected terrorist events can take place anywhere.
Palestinians were promised a 60/40 split by the United Nations. But when the deal was finally struck, it was 80/20 in favor of Israel. This has caused serious unrest which remains to this day.
For this reason, terrorist acts outside conflict zones, while relatively rare, can happen at any time or location.
Tourists are advised to avoid Gaza, the Sinai peninsula, and the West Bank in most cases.
The Gaza Strip encompasses 141 square miles bordering the Mediterranean Sea and is a contested territory. American tourists are subject to travel restrictions and US government officials are not permitted to travel here except under special permission.
The West Bank encompasses roughly 3500 square miles. It is controlled jointly by Palestine and Israeli forces. Conflict is common here and can arise unexpectedly.
The Sinai peninsula belongs to Egypt and shares the southern border of Israel. Israelis and Americans are generally unwelcome here and travel to this location is not recommended.
February 13: Thousands protest Netanyahu’s plan to weaken Israel’s judiciary as president warns of ‘social collapse’
On February 13th, 2023, Israelis took to the streets to protest against Knesset’s actions towards the judiciary. The protests were sparked by the recent developments in the legal case against former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.