Top Picks For You
Israel Travel Guide

Should You Travel to Israel Right Now?

The latest travel advice for Israel and the West Bank.

Updated: October 11, 2023. The State Department has raised the advisory for Israel and the West Bank to to Level 3 – Reconsider Travel. Gaza remains at Level 4.

Israel has plunged into armed conflict after attacks by the Hamas militant group, a U.S. government-designated foreign terrorist organization, which has administrative control over Gaza, a Palestinian enclave in Israel. The Hamas assault began October 7 with a barrage of rockets, followed by armed attacks on Israeli towns around Gaza. Hamas militants took over 100 Israeli hostages, and randomly shot at civilians, including attendees at a nearby music festival.

More than 1,500 people have died since Saturday. The Israeli authorities have reported 900 deaths—including 11 American citizens—and 687 deaths reported by the Palestinian Health Ministry.

Israel has formally declared war against Hamas.

Due to the ongoing and unpredictable nature of the conflict, travel to Israel is not advisable at the present time.

The U.S. State department said in an advisory Monday that “The situation in Israel remains dynamic; mortar and rocket fire may take place without warning. Individuals should follow the instructions of security and emergency response officials.”

Continue Reading Article After Our Video

Recommended Fodor’s Video

The State Department further advises that Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion International Airport remains open. However, all U.S. and many European airlines serving Israel have suspended service to Tel Aviv, leaving visitors attempting to exit the country without options. Israel’s national carrier El Al has maintained service for exiting travelers and to bring expatriate reservists back to Israel. Some visitors have resorted to crossing the border with Jordan to take flights from the Queen Alia International Airport in Amman.

Many cruise lines with scheduled calls at ports in Israel have also diverted their ships away from the country. Haifa and Ashdod are popular cruise ports for eastern Mediterranean cruises, and many cruise lines, including Celebrity, Norwegian, Oceania, Regent Seven Seas, Celestyal, Princess, Holland America Line, and Royal Caribbean, have suspended all calls in Israel, diverting ships to call instead in Greece or Turkey.

The State Department further advises any U.S. citizens in Gaza that consular services are unavailable, and that U.S. citizens who wish to leave Gaza should check the status of the Rafah Border Crossing into Egypt.

In spite of the warnings, the State Department has not yet elevated the Travel Advisory Level for Israel, which was last updated on October 3. The Travel Advisory Level for Gaza was already Level 4 – Do Not Travel, and State Department employees are already prohibited from traveling to or near Gaza. The Travel Advisory Level for Israel and the West Bank, however, remains at Level 2 – Exercise Increase Caution. (For context, much of Western Europe is also at Level 2.)

The UK’s Foreign Office has advised against all but essential travel to all of Israel, and has advised against all travel to Gaza and surrounding areas, and the border with Syria and Lebanon in the Golan Heights. Britons who are in Israel or intending travel to Israel are advised to register their presence in the country with the Foreign Office.

The Government of Canada has issued a similar Risk Level, but advises against all travel to a wider section of the country, including the West Bank and to all border regions except Jordan.

The attacks have so far been the deadliest conflict in Israel in decades, and were launched by Hamas the day after the 50th Anniversary of the Yom Kippur War, which lasted nearly three weeks in October 1973. A coalition of fighters from Arab states, led by Egypt and Syria, engaged in fighting in the Sinai Peninsula and the Golan Heights, with the United States and then-Soviet Union providing military support.

Most embassies are advising their citizens in Israel to shelter in place, follow instructions issued by local first responders and security authorities, and to depart the country when safe to do so if traveling for non-essential reasons.

The travel insurer Allianz lists October 8, 2023, as the date the event was considered known and foreseeable, meaning policies issued for travel after that date will generally not cover losses related to those events. Policies issued prior to that date will generally cover financial outlay associated with trip interruption or cancellation.

Avatar for jacketwatch
jacketwatch October 12, 2023

Good article, though I simply don't understand why this would be an option at this time. Of course, simply do not go.

mandy68 October 11, 2023

So that's a firm no? Duh.