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COUNTRY DESCRIPTION:

The State of Israel is a parliamentary democracy with a modern economy.  Israel occupied the West Bank, Gaza Strip, Golan Heights, and East Jerusalem as a result of the 1967 War.  Pursuant to negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, the Palestinian Authority (PA) was established in the Gaza Strip and West Bank in 1994.  Hamas, a U.S.-designated terrorist organization, took control of the Gaza Strip in June 2007 and exercises control there.  The division of responsibilities and jurisdiction in the West Bank between Israel and the PA is complex and subject to change.  Palestinian Authority security forces are responsible for keeping order in certain areas, and the PA exercises a range of civil functions in those areas of the West Bank.  Definitive information on entry, customs requirements, arrests, and other matters in the West Bank and Gaza is subject to change without prior notice or may not be available.  Tourist facilities are widely available.  Travelers may visit the web site of the Israeli Ministry of Tourism for tourist information.  Read the Department of State Background Notes on Israel for additional information.

ENTRY/EXIT REQUIREMENTS:

The general entry and exit requirements for Americans traveling to Israel, the West Bank and Gaza are listed below.  American citizens are advised to read all sections of this sheet very carefully for special regulations that may affect their travel.

The United States Government seeks equal treatment and freedom to travel for all American citizens regardless of national origin or ethnicity.  American citizens who encounter difficulties are encouraged to contact the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv or the U.S. Consulate General in Jerusalem by e-mail or at the telephone numbers below.

Security Screening:  U.S. citizens are advised that all persons applying for entry to Israel, the West Bank, or Gaza are subject to security and police record checks by the Government of Israel, and may be denied entry or exit without explanation.

American citizens whom Israeli authorities suspect of being of Arab or Muslim origin are likely to face additional, often time-consuming, and probing questioning by immigration and border authorities, or may even be denied entry into Israel.

American citizens who feel they have been wrongly denied entry to Israel or the West Bank, or unnecessarily subjected to additional security screening, should fill out the Denial of Entry Sheet located under the U.S. citizen services tab at the Jerusalem Consulate General web site, or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Israeli-Americans:  The Government of Israel considers American citizens who also hold Israeli citizenship or have a claim to dual nationality to be Israeli citizens for immigration and other legal purposes.  For example, an American citizen child of an Israeli parent will be considered an Israeli citizen by Israeli immigration officials and Israeli law will apply to the child's travel to, and departure from, Israel.  U.S. citizens who are also citizens of Israel must enter and depart Israel using their current Israeli passport.  Israeli citizens are currently not permitted to enter Gaza and are generally restricted from traveling to parts of the West Bank under Palestinian Authority control.  Contact the Israeli Ministry of Interior or your nearest Israeli Embassy or Consulate for more information on citizenship and travel restrictions for Israeli citizens.

Palestinian-Americans:  U.S. citizens who have a Palestinian Authority ID number or whom the Government of Israel considers to have residency status in the West Bank or Gaza are advised to read this section very carefully. 
It is possible that Israeli authorities would consider as Palestinian anyone who has a Palestinian Identification number, was born in the West Bank or Gaza, or was born in the United States but has parents or grandparents who were born or lived in the West Bank or Gaza.  Any such U.S. citizens may be required to travel to Israel using their Palestinian Authority passport, regardless of whether they hold U.S. citizenship.  Without the Palestinian Authority passport, these Americans may be barred from entering or exiting Israel, the West Bank or Gaza, or they may face serious delays at the ports of entry.

Individuals who hold a Palestinian Authority ID, as well as persons judged by Israeli authorities to have claim to a Palestinian Authority ID by virtue of ancestry, will be considered subject to Israeli law and to regulations that Israel applies to residents of the West Bank and Gaza, regardless of whether they also hold U.S. citizenship.  In most cases, such individuals will be required by Israeli authorities to enter the West Bank via the Allenby Bridge (also known as King Hussein Bridge) border crossing with Jordan, rather than entering Israel via Ben Gurion International Airport unless they obtain a transit permit for that purpose in advance.  Even if they have entered Israel via Ben Gurion Airport, they may be required to depart via the Allenby Bridge.  Upon arrival at any of the Ports of Entry, such persons may wish to consider asking Israeli immigration authorities from where they will be required to depart.

Entering Israel:  A passport valid for six months beyond the duration of stay, an onward or return ticket, and proof of sufficient funds are required for entry.  A no-charge, three-month visa may be issued upon arrival and may be renewed.  Travelers carrying official or diplomatic U.S. passports must obtain visas from an Israeli embassy or consulate prior to arrival.  Anyone who has been refused entry, experienced difficulties with his/her status during a previous visit, overstayed the authorized duration of a previous visit, or otherwise violated the terms of their admission to Israel should consult the Israeli Embassy or nearest Israeli Consulate before attempting to return.  Anyone seeking returning resident status must obtain permission from Israeli authorities before traveling.  The Government of Israel at times has declined to admit American citizens wishing to visit or travel to the West Bank or Gaza.  Persons denied entry and who seek immigration court hearings to contest such denials may be detained for prolonged periods while awaiting a hearing.

Entering the Gaza Strip:  The Department of State urges U.S. citizens to avoid all travel to the Gaza Strip, which is under the control of Hamas, a terrorist organization.  American citizens in Gaza are advised to depart immediately.  The U.S. government does not permit its personnel to enter the Gaza Strip, making it difficult for Americans in the Gaza Strip to receive consular assistance.  Please contact the U.S. Consulate General in Jerusalem for additional assistance if necessary.  See the latest Travel Warning for Israel, the West Bank and Gaza for the latest information concerning travel to the Gaza Strip.  Private vehicles may not cross from Israel into Gaza or from Gaza into Israel.  The Rafah border crossing between Gaza and Egypt is generally closed and the Gaza Airport is no longer operating.

Entering the West Bank:  The Department of State urges U.S. citizens to defer travel to the West Bank at this time.  Please contact the U.S. Consulate General in Jerusalem for additional assistance, if necessary.  See the Travel Warning for Israel, the West Bank and Gaza for the latest information concerning travel to the West Bank.

On March 4, 2007, the Government of Israel published a revised West Bank visitor visa policy for foreign nationals.  The policy states that the following are permitted foreign visitor categories:

  • Spouses of resident Palestinians registered in the West Bank population registry;
  • Children (up to age 16) of resident Palestinians;
  • Business people, investors, and bearers of West Bank work permits;
  • Staff of foreign missions in the West Bank;
  • Representatives of international organizations in the West Bank;
  • Lecturers and consultants;
  • Humanitarian cases; and others.

According to the written policy, foreign citizens “may transit to the West Bank via Israel after showing documents at the Ben Gurion airport or Allenby Bridge [crossing between the West Bank and Jordan] that confirm their status/position and the purpose of their visit, subject to inspection and approval by a representative of the Coordinator for Government Activities in the Territories.”  As noted previously, individuals with a Palestinian ID number, or those who have a claim to a PA ID number, are required by Israeli authorities to enter or exit the West Bank through the Allenby border crossing.

For visa extensions for American citizens in the West Bank, the Government of Israel’s policy states the following may request to extend their visa after the initial period for an additional period of up to one year (and no longer than 27 months total):

  • Spouses of resident Palestinians registered in the West Bank population registry;
  • Children up to the age of 16 of resident Palestinians;
  • Businesspersons/investors/bearers of a working permit for the West Bank;
  • Humanitarian cases; and others.

For visa extensions, the above persons must apply via the Visa Office at the Palestinian Population Registry in Ramallah or, in special cases, via the Population Registry of the Israeli Ministry of Interior in Beit-El.

Staff of foreign missions and representatives of international organizations in the West Bank may request an extension of their visa after the initial period for an additional period of up to 6 months (and no longer than a total of 27 months) by applying to the Head of the International Organization Department in the Israeli Civil Administration at Beit El or to the Population Registry of the Israeli Ministry of Interior.
U.S. Citizens should note that these extensions are not automatic; applications often face significant bureaucratic hurdles and are often refused.

Finally, the Government of Israel’s policy notes:

“Foreign citizens whose passports were stamped recently with the words ‘Last Permit’ may nonetheless leave the West Bank and submit a new visa request.  ....  However, the entry of individuals into Israel and the West Bank remains subject to imperative considerations of policy and security by the relevant authorities.”

Israel-Jordan Crossings:  International crossing points between Israel and Jordan are the Arava crossing (Wadi al-'Arabah) in the south, near Eilat; and the Jordan River crossing (Sheikh Hussein Bridge) in the north, near Beit Shean.  American citizens using these two crossing points to enter either Israel or Jordan need not obtain prior visas, but will be required to pay the following fees:

Jordan River Crossing:  Israeli exit fee of 68 NIS/US $15, Jordanian entry fee 5 Jordanian dinars.

Arava crossing: exit fee of 68 NIS/US $15, entry fee of 5 Jordanian dinars.

Allenby Bridge (King Hussein Bridge):  For detailed information, please refer to the Consulate General’s websiteVisas should be obtained in advance for those wanting to cross the Allenby Bridge between Jordan and the West Bank.  (Note: The Government of Israel requires that Palestinian Americans with residency status in the West Bank enter Jordan via the Allenby Bridge.)  Persons with residency status in the West Bank or Gaza seeking to cross the Allenby Bridge from Jordan should contact the Jordanian authorities for information concerning special clearance procedures for Palestinian ID holders before traveling to the bridge.

Procedures for all three crossings into Jordan are subject to frequent changes.  Visit the Embassy of Israel web site for the most current visa information.

Information about dual nationality or the prevention of international child abduction can be found on our web site.  For further information about customs regulations, please read our Customs Information sheet.

SAFETY AND SECURITY:

Israeli authorities strictly enforce security measures.  American citizen visitors have been subjected to prolonged questioning and thorough searches upon entry or departure by Israeli authorities.  American citizens with Arabic or Muslim names, those born in Muslim or Middle Eastern countries, those who have been involved in missionary or activist activity, and those who ask that Israeli stamps not be entered into their passport have been delayed and subjected to close scrutiny by Israeli border authorities.  American citizens have been detained and/or arrested at the airport and at other border crossings on suspicion of security-related offenses.  Members of religious groups have been monitored, arrested, and deported for suspicion of intent to proselytize in Israel.  In some cases, Israeli authorities have denied American citizens access to U.S. consular officers, lawyers, and even family members during temporary detention.

Security-related delays are not unusual for travelers carrying cameras or electronic equipment, and some have had their laptop computers and other electronic equipment confiscated at Ben Gurion Airport.  While most items are returned prior to the traveler’s departure, some equipment has been retained by the authorities for lengthy periods and has reportedly been damaged, destroyed or lost.  Americans who have had personal property damaged due to security procedures at Ben Gurion can This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it at the airport for redress by fax to 972-3-9752387.

Terrorism:  U.S. citizens, including tourists, students, residents, and U.S. mission personnel, have been injured or killed by terrorists while in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza.  Attacks have occurred in highly frequented shopping and pedestrian areas and on public buses.  American employees of the U.S. Embassy and Consulate General and their families are prohibited from using public buses and trains.  American citizens should use good judgment and exercise caution when visiting public areas and using transportation facilities in order to minimize exposure to possible terrorist attacks.  Strategies to minimize risk include avoiding demonstrations and large crowds; being aware of one’s immediate surroundings, especially while visiting contentious religious sites, military areas, and bus stops where large groups of soldiers are waiting; and by avoiding suspicious objects.

Kidnapping:  In the past, armed gunmen have kidnapped foreigners, including several Americans, in Gaza and the West Bank.  Gunmen have sometimes used such foreign hostages as bartering tools.  The threat of hostage-taking remains a concern for Americans and foreigners within the Gaza Strip.  Any Americans traveling to Gaza in spite of the Department of State's Travel Warning should register with the American Consulate General in Jerusalem prior to entry and maintain a very low profile while moving within Gaza.  They should also have the telephone numbers of the U.S. Consulate General at hand for rapid contact in the event of an emergency.  However, the ability of the Consulate to provide service to Americans in Gaza is extremely limited, American citizens should avoid travel to these areas.

Demonstrations and Civil Unrest: Americans are advised to avoid demonstrations. In the West Bank, and Gaza demonstrations or altercations can occur spontaneously and all demonstrations have the potential to become violent without warning.  If such disturbances occur, American visitors should leave the area immediately.  American citizens have been seriously injured in demonstrations that have turned violent.  In Jerusalem's Old City, where exits are limited, American visitors should seek safe haven inside a shop or restaurant until the incident is over.  Demonstrations can be particularly dangerous in areas such as checkpoints, settlements, military areas, and major thoroughfares where protesters are likely to encounter Israeli security forces. Over the past year in Israel there has been an increase in violence in mixed Arab/Jewish towns.

Areas of Instability:  U.S. Government personnel at the Embassy in Tel Aviv or Consulate General in Jerusalem, whether stationed there or on temporary duty, are under tight security controls.  In addition, they occasionally may be prohibited from traveling to sections of Jerusalem and parts of Israel, depending on prevailing security conditions.

Jerusalem:  In Jerusalem, travelers should exercise caution at religious sites on holy days, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, and dress appropriately when visiting the Old City and ultra-orthodox Jewish neighborhoods.  Most roads into ultra-orthodox Jewish neighborhoods are blocked off on Friday nights, Saturdays, and Jewish holidays.  Assaults on secular visitors, either for being in cars or for being "immodestly dressed," have occurred in these neighborhoods.  Isolated street protests and demonstrations can occur in the commercial districts of East Jerusalem (Salah Ed-Din Street and Damascus Gate areas) during periods of unrest.  U.S. Government employees are authorized to travel to the Old City and the Mount of Olives during daylight hours only.  Visitors are urged to exercise caution and be aware of their surroundings at all times.  This is especially true when entering or exiting the Old City at times when the volume of pedestrian traffic could create difficulties.  There have been reports of harassment of tourists by vendors in many tourist areas of Jerusalem including, in particular, the Mount of Olives.

West Bank and Gaza:  For safety and security reasons, U.S. Government personnel and dependents are prohibited from traveling to any cities, towns or settlements in the West Bank, except for mission-essential business or other approved purposes.  For limited, personal travel, U.S. Government personnel and family members are permitted to travel through the West Bank (but are not permitted to stop), using only Routes 1 and 90, to reach the Allenby/King Hussein Bridge or the Dead Sea coast near Ein Gedi and Masada.  Each such transit requires prior notification to the Consulate General’s security office and must occur during daylight hours.  U.S. Government personnel and family members are permitted personal travel on Route 443 between Modi’in and Jerusalem during daylight hours only (but are not permitted to stop).  The deployment of Palestinian security throughout the West Bank beginning in 2007 has increased to all major cities.  Violence in recent years has decreased markedly throughout the West Bank since the PA's security deployment.  Among major West Bank cities, the level of violence is lowest in Jericho, Bethlehem and Ramallah.  Bethlehem, one of the most important cities to followers of the Christian faith, is a significant stop for many pilgrims to the Holy Land.  Following the most recent deployments of PA security forces in 2008, the security situation in all major cities within the Palestinian territories has also improved.  U.S. Government employees frequently travel throughout the West Bank with appropriate security escorts.

Travel to the Gaza Strip by U.S. Government personnel is prohibited.  Private American citizens also should avoid travel to these areas.

During periods of unrest, the Israeli Government sometimes closes off access to the West Bank and Gaza and those areas may be placed under curfew.  All persons in areas under curfew should remain indoors to avoid risking arrest or injury.  Americans have been killed, seriously injured, or detained and deported as a result of encounters with Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) operations in Gaza and the West Bank.  Travel restrictions may be imposed with little or no warning.  Strict measures have frequently been imposed following terrorist actions, and the movement of Palestinian Americans, both those with residency status in the West Bank or Gaza as well as foreign passport holders, has been severely impeded.  Due to current limitations on travel by U.S. Government employees to the West Bank and Gaza made necessary by uncertain security conditions, the ability of consular staff to offer timely assistance to American citizens in need in these areas is considerably reduced at present.

Golan Heights:  There are live land mines in many areas and visitors should walk only on established roads or trails.  Near the northern border of Israel, rocket attacks from Lebanese territory can and have occurred without warning.

For the latest security information, Americans traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs web site

Up-to-date information on safety and security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or, for callers outside the United States and Canada, a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444.  These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).

The Department of State urges American citizens to take responsibility for their own personal security while traveling overseas.  For general information about appropriate measures that travelers can take to protect themselves in an overseas environment, see the Department of State’s information on A Safe Trip Abroad.

CRIME:

Several groups operating in Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza have been designated as Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTO) by the U.S. Department of State.  FTOs include, but are not limited to, Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, Kahane Chai (Kach), and HAMAS (the Islamic Resistance Movement).  It is unlawful for an American citizen or a person who is located in the United States or is subject to the jurisdiction of the United States to knowingly provide “material support or resources” to a designated FTO.

The crime rate is moderate in Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza.  Break-ins of parked vehicles are common at beach areas, the Dead Sea, and national parks (especially Caesarea National Park).  There has been an increase in car break-ins and purse snatchings in cities and in cemeteries throughout Israel.  U.S. citizens should not leave their valuables (including passports) unattended or in parked vehicles.

In many countries around the world, counterfeit and pirated goods are widely available. Transactions involving such products may be illegal under local law. In addition, bringing them back to the United States may result in forfeitures and/or fines. More information on this serious problem is available at the U.S. Department of Justice web site.

INFORMATION FOR VICTIMS OF CRIME:

The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to the local police and to the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate during business hours.  If you are the victim of a crime while overseas, in addition to reporting to local police, please contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate for assistance.  The Embassy/Consulate staff can, for example, assist you to find appropriate medical care, contact family members or friends and explain how funds may be transferred.  Although the investigation and prosecution of the crime is solely the responsibility of local authorities, consular staff can help you to understand the local criminal justice process and to find an attorney if needed.

The Government of Israel provides assistance to victims of terrorist acts.  Please contact the National Insurance Institute for more information.

The local equivalent to the “911” emergency line in Israel is 100.

The local equivalent to the “911” emergency line in the West Bank and Gaza is 101.

Please see our information on Victims of Crime, including possible victim compensation programs in the United States.

CRIMINAL PENALTIES:

While in a foreign country, a U.S. citizen is subject to that country's laws and regulations, which sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States and may not afford the protections available to the individual under U.S. law.  Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than those in the United States for similar offenses.  Persons violating Israeli or Palestinian Authority laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned.  Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Israel and Palestinian Authority administered areas are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines.  Engaging in sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime, prosecutable in the United States.  Please see our information on Criminal Penalties.

SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES:

Video cameras and other electronic items must be declared upon entry to Israel.  They are sometimes seized by Israeli customs and security officials and may be returned either damaged and/or after a lengthy delay.  It is advisable to contact the Embassy of Israel in Washington, D.C. or one of Israel’s consulates in the United States for specific information regarding customs requirements.  Definitive information on customs requirements for the Palestinian Authority is not available.  Please see our Customs Information sheet.

Arrests and Detentions:   U.S. citizens arrested by the Israeli National Police (INP) and charged with crimes are entitled to legal representation provided by the Israeli Government and to consular notification and visitation.  In some cases, there are significant delays between the time of arrest and the time when the INP notifies the Embassy or Consulate General and grants consular access.  This is particularly true in the arrest of dual American-Israeli and American-Palestinian citizens.  The notification procedure may be expedited if the arrested American shows a U.S. passport to the police and asks the police or prison authority to contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate General.  When access to a detained American citizen is delayed or denied, the U.S. Government formally protests the lack of consular access to the Israeli Government.

U.S. citizens arrested by the Israeli Security Police for security offenses, and U.S. citizens arrested by Israeli authorities in the West Bank or Gaza for criminal or security offenses may be prevented from communicating with lawyers, family members, or consular officers for lengthy periods.  The U.S. Consulate General and the Embassy sometimes are not notified of such arrests, or are not notified in a timely manner.  Consular access to the arrested individual is frequently delayed.  Arrestees have been subject to mistreatment during interrogation and pressured to sign statements in Hebrew that have not been translated.  Under local law arrestees may be detained for up to six months at a time without charges.  Youths over the age of 14 have been detained and tried as adults.  The U.S. Government will formally protest any report of mistreatment to the relevant authorities.

U.S. citizens arrested by the Palestinian Authority (PA) Security Forces in the West Bank for crimes are entitled to legal representation and consular notification and access.  The PA Security Forces normally notify the Consulate General of non-security-related arrests for criminal offenses within two days, and consular access is normally granted within four days.  This procedure may be expedited if the arrested American shows a U.S. passport to the police, or asks the police to contact the U.S. Consulate General.

Palestinian-American dual citizens living in the West Bank can be detained or arrested by the IDF.  In such instances the GOI may not recognize the American citizenship and will instead consider the arrested person a Palestinian.  In such cases the IDF may not notify the U.S. Consulate.

Dual Palestinian-American citizens arrested by the PA Security Forces in the West Bank for security offenses may be prevented from communicating with lawyers, family members, or consular officers for lengthy periods.  In addition, they may be held in custody for protracted periods without formal charges or, before being brought before a judge for an arrest extension.  The PA often does not notify the U.S. Consulate General of such arrests in a timely manner, and consular access to arrestees is occasionally delayed.  Since Hamas seized control of the Gaza Strip in June 2007, their Executive Forces (EF) has dominated security matters there.  The United States Government has no contact with the EF.

Dual Nationality:

Israeli citizens naturalized in the United States retain their Israeli citizenship, and children born in the United States to Israeli parents usually acquire both U.S. and Israeli nationality at birth.  Israeli citizens, including dual nationals, are subject to Israeli laws requiring service in Israel's armed forces, as well as other laws pertaining to passports and nationality.  American-Israeli dual nationals of military age, including females, who do not wish to serve in the Israeli armed forces should contact the Israeli Embassy in Washington, D.C. to learn more about an exemption or deferment from Israeli military service before going to Israel.  Without this exemption or deferment document, such dual nationals may not be able to leave Israel without completing military service or may be subject to criminal penalties for failure to serve.  Israeli citizens, including dual nationals, must enter and depart Israel on their Israeli passports, and Israeli authorities may require persons whom they consider to have acquired Israeli nationality at birth to obtain an Israeli passport prior to departing Israel.

Bearers of Palestinian passports or identity numbers who have become naturalized United States citizens are considered by the Israeli government to retain their Palestinian nationality, and Israeli authorities will view them as Palestinians.  Palestinian-Americans whom the Government of Israel considers residents of the West Bank or Gaza may face certain travel restrictions (see Entry/Exit Requirements above).  These individuals are subject to restrictions on movements between Israel, the West Bank and Gaza and within the West Bank and Gaza that are imposed by the Israeli Government on all Palestinians for security reasons.  During periods of heightened security concerns these restrictions can be onerous.  Palestinian-American residents of Jerusalem are normally required to use laissez-passers (travel documents issued by the Israeli Government) that contain re-entry permits approved by the Israeli Ministry of Interior for any out-of-country travel.  All U.S. citizens must enter the U.S. on their U.S. passports.

Court Jurisdiction:   Civil courts in Israel actively exercise their authority to bar certain individuals, including nonresidents, from leaving the country until monetary and other legal claims against them are resolved.  Israel's rabbinical courts exercise jurisdiction over all Jewish citizens and residents of Israel in cases of marriage, divorce, child custody and child support.  In some cases, Jewish Americans who entered Israel as tourists have become defendants in divorce or custody cases filed by their spouses in Israeli rabbinical courts.  These Americans have been detained in Israel for prolonged periods while the Israeli courts consider whether the individuals have sufficient ties to Israel to establish rabbinical court jurisdiction.  Jewish-American visitors should be aware that they might be subject to involuntary and prolonged stays in Israel if a case is filed against them in a rabbinical court, even if their marriage took place in the U.S. and regardless of whether their spouse is present in Israel.

Purchases of Property:  American Citizens who buy or lease property in the occupied territories of East Jerusalem, the West Bank, and Gaza may find their ownership challenged by people displaced from those lands, either as a result of the 1967 conflict or previously.  Prospective property buyers should always seek legal advice before buying in these areas.  The possible establishment of a Palestinian state may have legal consequences for property owners in Israeli settlements in the West Bank and in East Jerusalem.

MEDICAL FACILITIES AND HEALTH INFORMATION:

Modern medical care and medicines are available in Israel.  Some hospitals in Israel and most hospitals in the West Bank and Gaza, however, fall below U.S. standards.  Visitors are required to have health insurance.  Travelers can find information in English about emergency medical facilities and after-hours pharmacies in the "Jerusalem Post" and the English language edition of "Ha'aretz" newspapers.

Some HIV/AIDS entry restrictions exist for visitors to and foreign residents of Israel.  The Ministry of Health ‘reserves the right’ to deny entry to visitors who declare their status.  Please verify this information with the Embassy of Israel before you travel.

For information on avian influenza (bird flu), please refer to the Department of State's Avian Influenza Fact Sheet.

For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad, consult the World Health Organization’s (WHO) websiteFurther general health information for travelers is available from the WHO.

MEDICAL INSURANCE:

The Department of State strongly urges Americans to consult with their medical insurance company prior to traveling abroad to confirm whether their policy applies overseas and whether it will cover emergency expenses such as a medical evacuation.  Please see our information on medical insurance overseas.

TRAFFIC SAFETY AND ROAD CONDITIONS:

While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States.  The information below concerning Israel, the West Bank and Gaza is provided for general reference only, and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.

Israeli roads and highways tend to be crowded, especially in urban areas.  Aggressive driving is a serious problem and many drivers fail to maintain safe following distances or signal before changing lanes or making turns.  Drivers are also prone to stop suddenly on roads without warning, especially in the right lane.  Drivers should use caution, as Israel has a high rate of fatalities from automobile accidents.
American employees of the U.S. Embassy Tel Aviv and Consulate General Jerusalem and their families have been prohibited from using public buses and trains (please review the earlier section entitled "Terrorism").

The Government of Israel requires that all passenger car occupants use their seat belts at all times and that headlights be used during all intercity travel, both day and night, during winter.  Since January 1, 2006, all drivers are required to carry fluorescent vests in the car with them at all times, and they are required to wear these vests whenever they get out of their cars to make repairs, change tires, etc.  If a vehicle is stopped for a traffic violation and it does not contain a fluorescent vest, the driver will be fined.  These vests can be purchased for a nominal price in all local gas stations.  While cellular handset phone use is prohibited while driving, hand-free units are authorized.

West Bank and Gaza: Crowded roads are common in the West Bank and Gaza.  During periods of heightened tensions, cars with Israeli license plates have been stoned and fired upon.  Emergency services may be delayed by the need for Palestinian authorities to coordinate with Israeli officials.  Seat belt use is required outside of cities and drivers may not drink alcohol.  Individuals involved in accidents resulting in death or injury may be detained by police pending an investigation.

Please refer to our Road Safety page for more information.  Visit the website of the Israeli Ministry of Tourism and national authority responsible for road safety.

AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT:

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the Government of Israel's Civil Aviation Authority as not being in compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards for the oversight of Israel's air carrier operations.  Further information may be found on the FAA’s web site.

CHILDREN'S ISSUES:

For information see our Office of Children’s Issues web pages on intercountry adoption and international parental child abduction.

REGISTRATION/EMBASSY AND CONSULATE LOCATIONS:

Americans living or traveling in Israel, the West Bank or Gaza are encouraged to register with the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv or the Consulate General in Jerusalem through the State Department’s travel registration web site, and to obtain updated information on travel and security within Israel, the West Bank or Gaza.  Americans without Internet access may register directly with the U.S. Embassy or Consulate General.  By registering, American citizens make it easier for the Embassy or Consulate General to contact them in case of emergency.

The U.S. Embassy

Is located at 71 Hayarkon Street in Tel Aviv.  The U.S. mailing address is Unit 7228, Box 0001, APO AE 09830.  The telephone number is (972) (3) 519-7575.  The emergency number after 4:30 p.m. and before 8:00 a.m. local time is (972) (3) 519-7551.  The fax number is (972) (3) 516-4390.

The Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy should be contacted for information and assistance in the following areas:  Israel, the Golan Heights, and ports of entry at Ben Gurion Airport, Haifa Port, the northern (Jordan River) and southern (Arava) border crossings connecting Israel and Jordan, and the border crossings between Israel and Egypt.

The Consular Section of the U.S. Consulate General in Jerusalem is located at 27 Nablus Road in Jerusalem.  The U.S. mailing address is Unit 7228, Box 0039, APO AE 09830.  The telephone number is (972) (2) 622-7200.  The Consular Section's public telephone number for information and assistance is (972) (2) 628-7137, Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.  Messages may be left at that number at other times.  For after-hours emergencies directly involving an American citizen (after 4:30 p.m. and before 8:00 a.m. local time,) calls should be directed to (972) (2) 622-7250.  The Consular Section's fax number is (972) (2) 627-2233.  You may This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

The Consular Section of the U.S. Consulate General should be contacted for information and assistance in the following areas:  Jerusalem, the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, the Allenby crossing connecting the West Bank and Jordan, and the Rafah crossing between Gaza and Egypt.
A U.S. Consular Agent who reports to the Embassy in Tel Aviv maintains an office in Haifa at 26 Ben Gurion Boulevard, telephone (972) (4) 853-1470.  The Consular Agent can provide both routine and emergency services in the northern part of Israel.

This replaces the Country Specific Information for Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza dated February 8, 2008, to update sections on Country Description, Entry/Exit Requirements, Safety and Security, Crime, Information for Victims of Crime, Special Circumstances, Medical Facilities and Health Information, Traffic Safety and Road Conditions, and Registration/Embassy and Consulate Locations.

 


 

The UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office has information pertaining to Israel HERE.....

Looking for an Embassy ?, You can also check out our World Wide Embassy Listings Section HERE (For US Citizens) or HERE (For UK Citizens)...............

There is a Travel Warning for Israel HERE.....

Regards

The SW Team......

 

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