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Israel and the Occupied Territories

If you’re travelling to Israel and the Occupied Territories, our travel advice and updates give you practical tips and useful information.

Security Status

  • Normal precautions
  • High degree of caution
  • Avoid non-essential travel
  • Do not travel
  • Overview
  • Safety and Security
  • Local Laws and Customs
  • Embassy Contact

Overview

Overview

General COVID-19 Travel Advisory in Operation:

Avoid non-essential travel until further notice:

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade advises against all non-essential travel overseas until further notice. This includes Great Britain but does not apply to Northern Ireland. It also includes all travel by cruise ship.

If you are currently travelling outside of Ireland:

Flight restrictions and route cancellations are happening on a daily basis worldwide and there is no guarantee that air routes will continue to operate. For this reason, where commercial flights are still an option, we recommend that people who wish to do so make arrangements to return to Ireland as soon as possible.

We are working with airlines to show maximum flexibility to those passengers who need to change their existing flight arrangements. Where commercial flights are no longer available, we are working side-by-side with our international partners to identify alternative options where possible.

It may not be feasible or possible for everyone who wants to travel back to Ireland to do so in the short term. We ask Irish citizens remaining abroad to make decisions that safeguard their health and well-being and that they follow local public health and safety requirements.  We ask that they remain in close contact with family, friends and their local Irish Embassy or Consulate. 

We know that this is a stressful situation for citizens and our embassy network is working around the clock to provide people with all the information and assistance that we can, bearing in mind the situation is unfolding across multiple countries and is not one under our control. 

What to do on entering Ireland from abroad:

The Irish Health Authorities require anyone coming into Ireland, apart from Northern Ireland, to restrict their movements on arrival for 14 days. Check the Irish Health Service COVID-19 Advice Page for full information on these requirements. This includes Irish residents. Exemptions are in place for providers of essential supply chain services such as hauliers, pilots and maritime staff.

Where to go for more information:

We continue to make updates to our online travel advice for over 200 countries and recommend that you download our TravelWise App and follow us on Twitter. If abroad you should register with your local Irish Embassy or Consulate and regularly check their website and especially their Twitter accounts for details of any local public health measures and travel restrictions.

Security status

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade advises Irish citizens to avoid all non-essential foreign travel at this time, including travel to Israel and the Occupied Territories. 

We advise strongly against all travel to the Gaza Strip. 

Latest Travel Alert

Novel Coronavirus

A number of cases of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) have been confirmed by the Israeli and Palestinian authorities.

See links below for details.

https://www.health.gov.il/English/Topics/Diseases/corona/Pages/default.aspx

http://www.emro.who.int/pse/palestine-news/landing-page-for-covid19.html

With effect from 18 March, only foreign citizens who are resident in Israel are permitted to enter the country, and are obliged to spend 14 days after arrival in home quarantine. Even this limited access may change at short notice. Irish citizens intending to travel to Israel are advised to check with their airline if travelling by air, as there have been some cancellations of scheduled flights. 

At the current time, it is not possible for foreign citizens to travel to or from Jordan by land (with limited exceptions). Passage through the land border with Egypt is restricted.  

The Israeli authorities have restricted all gatherings to no more than ten people, and advised people to leave their homes only when necessary. Schools and all other educational establishments are closed, as are restaurants, theatres and a wide range of cultural and sporting facilities, as well as retail outlets apart from those selling food and medical supplies. The Ministry of Health advises to avoid using public transport, and services have been reduced. The holding of international conferences in Israel is prohibited. 

The Palestinian authorities have declared a State of Emergency, with effect from 6 March, for a period of 30 days. During this period, there may be restrictions on rights and freedoms consistent with the need to control COVID-19. As indicated above, all non-essential travel to the West Bank should be avoided at the current time, and all travel to Gaza should also continue to be avoided. Any Irish citizens currently present in the Occupied Territories should keep themselves informed of restrictions announced by the authorities. At the current time, all visits by tour groups have been cancelled, all hotels have been ordered to cancel reservations for foreign tourists, all touristic and religious sites have been ordered to close, all educational institutions have been ordered to close, all conferences have been cancelled, and the authorities have advised against movement between Palestinian cities, except in emergencies. 

For the time being, there are severe restrictions crossing between Israel and the Bethlehem area and between the Bethlehem area and other parts of the West Bank

If you are in Israel and the Occupied Territories, you should monitor developments regularly, including through the links above, and follow the advice of local authorities.

Be alert to common signs of infection: respiratory problems, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. Seek medical advice if you experience these symptoms.

HSE medical advice to protect yourself from getting COVID-19 is below.

Do:

• wash your hands properly and regularly with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub
• cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve when you cough and sneeze
• put used tissues into a bin and wash your hands

Don’t:

• touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean

Additional information on COVID-19 can be found via the following links:

HSE

HPSC

ECDC

World Health Organisation

Latest Alert

The security situation in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory can be unpredictable. Please follow advice from local authorities and stay informed of the security situation.

Tensions are high in Gaza following large-scale protests which have taken place in close proximity to the fence separating Israel from Gaza since March 2018, with high levels of violence and multiple casualties recorded. There have been major exchanges of fire in recent months, resulting in multiple deaths and injuries. Citizens are advised to follow developments closely and to avoid all potential flashpoints.

All demonstrations and public gatherings should be avoided. The situation in Jerusalem and across the West Bank can be tense. We advise citizens to exercise a high degree of vigilance and caution when travelling in and around Jerusalem and to be aware of the potential for political demonstrations or civil unrest to occur, in particular around the Old City and the Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount site, where tourists can also expect an enhanced security presence. 

There is an ongoing risk of so-called "lone wolf" attacks in both Israel and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. These have included stabbings, shootings, vehicular attacks, arson and stone throwing. Reaction to these attacks by Israeli security forces has been strong and in many instances has included the use of live fire.

The Israeli Parliament passed a law in March 2017 which gives authority to immigration officials to deny entry to foreign nationals who have publicly called for a boycott of Israel and/or settlements, or who belong to an organisation which has called for such a boycott. Contact the Israeli embassy in Dublin if you require further information.

Golan and Northern Israel

The situation in and around the Golan, the Israel-Lebanon border and northern Israel remains volatile and possibly subject to further hostilities. The Department of Foreign Affairs advises against all travel to the parts of the Golan Heights that border Syria, east of Highway 98 and also the Sheba'a Farms and Ghajjar along the border with Lebanon (the 'Blue Line'). The situation in the Golan, especially the borders between Syria and Lebanon with Israel, can change very rapidly and it is strongly advised to check DFAT travel advice on the latest developments.

Gaza Strip

We advise strongly against all travel to the Gaza Strip and against non-essential travel within 40km of Gaza. The situation remains very difficult there. In the event that you encounter difficulties, any assistance that the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade or our Embassy in Tel Aviv may be able to provide is likely to be extremely limited.

West Bank, including East Jerusalem

The situation in the West Bank remains very tense and there is an ongoing high risk of demonstrations and other forms of civil unrest. It is recommended that travel within the West Bank be confined to daylight hours as much as possible. A high degree of caution is recommended when visiting the Old City of Jerusalem. Gathering or stopping in the areas around Damascus Gate, Lions Gate and the vicinity of the Haram al Sharif (Temple Mount) and Al Wad Street should be avoided. Caution and vigilance should be exercised at checkpoints, where demonstrations and clashes can occur.

Emergency assistance

The best help is often close at hand so if you have problems, try talking to your local contacts, tour operator representative or hotel management.

Contact the Embassy

If there is an emergency, or if you need help and advice, you can contact the Irish Embassy in Tel Aviv.

If you phone outside of working hours, leave us a message giving:

  • Your name
  • The nature of your problem
  • Where you are now
  • Your contact details (mobile phone number or phone number of where you're staying)

We regularly monitor these messages and one of our staff members will be in contact with you.

Our tips for safe travels

  • Purchase comprehensive travel insurance which covers all your intended activities.
  • Add an alert for your destination within the Travelwise App.
  • Register your details with us so that we can contact you quickly in an emergency, such as a natural disaster or a family emergency.
  • Follow us on twitter @dfatravelwise for the latest travel updates.
  • Read our Topical 'Know Before You Go' guide.

 

 

 

Safety and Security

Safety and security

Social unrest

If you're planning a trip to Israel and the Occupied Territories, we advise you to exercise extreme caution.

Fluctuating periods of unrest have taken place in recent years, as well as sporadic violent incidents and individual attacks, mainly in Jerusalem and in West Bank cities, but also in urban areas of Israel. These include stabbings, shootings, vehicular attacks, arson and stone throwing. Tensions and the possibility of further incidents remain high. Reaction to these attacks by Israeli security forces has been strong and in many instances has included the use of live fire.

Demonstrations

There is a high risk of demonstrations and other forms of civil unrest, sometimes at short notice, particularly in the vicinity of Israeli settlements, Israeli military checkpoints, refugee camps, in some areas of East Jerusalem, Jenin, Nablus, Ramallah, and in Hebron and the surrounding area.  All demonstrations and public gatherings should be avoided. Restrictions on access are in place in a number of areas across the West Bank, and additional temporary restrictions may be put in place by the Israeli authorities with little notice. Visitors should be aware that sporadic incidences of violence occur frequently in the West Bank, but are not generally directed towards foreign nationals and visitors. While the cities of Bethlehem, Ramallah and Jericho welcome large numbers of tourists with very few reported incidents affecting tourists, it is recommended that all non-essential travel within the West Bank is avoided and confined to daylight hours as much as possible.  You should be especially vigilant after Friday prayers and on religious holidays.

West Jerusalem and occupied East Jerusalem, including the Old City of Jerusalem, remain popular tourist destinations. It is recommended, for the moment, that the public transport system, which has seen a number of violent incidents, be avoided in favour of taxis or shuttle buses, as well as travel on the light rail beyond the Ammunition Hill stop as there have been violent incidents on that part of the route. A high degree of caution is recommended when visiting the Old City, and gathering or stopping in the areas around Damascus Gate, Lions Gate, the vicinity of Haram al Sharif (Temple Mount) and Al Wad Street should be avoided. Visitors should remain vigilant and should leave the area if there is evidence of tension or unrest.

While you are there

You should keep up to date with local media and travel reports.  Also keep up to date with any developments that could lead to a likely outbreak of regional military conflict and make your travel plans accordingly.

Gaza Strip

We advise strongly against all travel to the Gaza Strip, where the situation remains very difficult. In the event that you encounter difficulties, any assistance that the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade or our Embassy in Tel Aviv may be able to provide is likely to be extremely limited. If you need consular assistance while in Gaza, you should be aware that there is no permanent Irish diplomatic or consular presence inside the Gaza Strip and such access is subject to the facilitation of Israeli, Palestinian and de facto authorities. The ability of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to intervene with local authorities and bodies on behalf of Irish citizens in Gaza remains extremely limited.

Essential services (water, electricity and health provision) in Gaza are very limited and travel within the area is very risky due to prevailing conditions, including poor roads and infrastructure and the possibility of crime and public order disturbances. The security situation remains uncertain.

Given the uncertain security situation in and around Gaza, and until a period of sustained calm is reached, we also recommend against non-essential travel within 40 kilometres of Gaza, which would be the area most severely affected within Israel should there be a resumption of the conflict. Should there be compelling reasons to travel to this region, extreme caution would be essential.

The Gaza strip continues to be under Israeli blockade. We advise against any attempt to enter Gaza by sea, or sailing in the waters off the coast of Gaza.

Crime

Crime remains relatively low in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory but you should take sensible precautions:

  • Don’t carry your credit card, travel tickets and money together - leave spare cash and valuables in a safe place.
  • Carry a copy of your passport rather than the passport itself.  It is also advisable to keep a physical or electronic copy of your passport (and travel and insurance documents) somewhere safe.
  • Avoid showing large sums of money in public and don’t use ATMs after dark, especially if you’re alone. Check no one has followed you after conducting your business.
  • Avoid dark and unlit streets and stairways, and arrange to be picked up or dropped off as close to your hotel or apartment entrance as possible.
  • Keep a close eye on your personal belongings and hold on to them in public places such as internet cafés, train and bus stations.
  • If you’re a victim of a crime while in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory, report it to the local police immediately. And you can contact us at the Irish Embassy in Tel Aviv if you need help.

Driving

If you’re planning to drive in Israel and the Occupied Territories, you should be extremely careful. Driving is erratic and there are frequent accidents. Radar speed traps operate on Israeli roads and fines for speeding are high. If you’re caught speeding, you may also have your licence confiscated.

If you want to drive:

  • Bring your international driving licence and make sure you have adequate and appropriate insurance
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is against the law and you risk being detained, fined or banned from driving if caught
  • Keep your vehicle doors locked and your bags kept out of sight to prevent opportunistic bag-snatching if you’re stopped at traffic lights

Vehicle hire

If you’re hiring a vehicle, we advise you not to hand over your passport as a form of security. If you’re allowing your passport to be photocopied, keep it in your sight at all times.    If you are planning to drive in the West Bank, please note that not all hire companies permit their vehicles to be taken into occupied Palestinian territory.

Check that you have adequate insurance and read the small print of the vehicle hire contract (particularly any waiver that will come into effect if the vehicle is damaged).

Hitchhiking

It’s not safe to hitchhike in Israel and the occupied Palestinian Territory.

Travelling to the desert

If you’re travelling in the desert:

  • Go with others
  • Carry a sufficient supply of water
  • Take a mobile phone
  • Make sure that somebody is aware of your itinerary and your expected time of return 

Local Laws and Customs

Local laws and customs

Remember, the local laws apply to you as a visitor and it is your responsibility to follow them. Be sensitive to local customs, traditions and practices as your behaviour may be seen as improper, hostile or may even be illegal.

Local culture

You'll notice a mix of religions and cultures in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory. Many people feel strongly about their beliefs and customs and you should be aware of local cultural mores at all times.

You should avoid entering Jewish Ultra-Orthodox areas, particularly in Jerusalem, on Shabbat (Friday evening to Saturday evening).

Dress modestly at pilgrimage sites and in religious areas in Jerusalem as well as in the West Bank and Gaza.

Be sensitive when taking pictures of people in Muslim and Orthodox Jewish neighbourhoods.

Avoid taking photographs of military or police personnel or installations.

During Ramadan, eating, drinking and smoking between sunrise and sunset are forbidden for Muslims over the age of 8. Although alcohol will be available in some hotels and restaurants, drinking alcohol elsewhere may cause offence. As a courtesy, you should avoid drinking, eating, and smoking in public places during Ramadan. In 2020, Ramadan will begin on or about 23 April.

Illegal drugs

Illegal drug use (no matter what the drug) carries stiff penalties, including fines and long prison terms.

Personal identification

We recommend you carry identification with you at all times (eg a photocopy of the personal details page of your passport) in case it's requested by the local authorities. It is also advisable to make photocopies of your passport in case of theft or loss. 

Buying property/Investment

Buying property in Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian Territory, or the Golan Heights under Israeli occupation is risky and you should be aware that the Irish Government considers these settlements to be illegal under international law.

Embassy contact

Embassy Contact

Please note that if you are an Irish citizen and require urgent assistance while the Embassy is closed, contact the main Embassy number (+972-3-696 4166) and follow the prompts to leave a message for the Embassy duty officer.

Embassy of Ireland
Amot Atrium Building, 19th Floor,
2 Jabotinsky Street
Ramat Gan 5250501
Israel

Tel: +972 3 696 4166
Fax: +972 3 696 4160

Public office opening hours: Monday - Thursday 10:00-12:30

Contact us