Exercise increased caution in Israel due to terrorism. Some areas have increased risk. Read the entire Travel Advisory.
Do not travel to:
- Gaza due to terrorism, civil unrest, and armed conflict.
Reconsider travel to:
- The West Bank due to terrorism, potentially violent civil unrest, and the potential for armed conflict.
Terrorist groups and lone-wolf terrorists continue plotting possible attacks in Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza. Terrorists may attack with little or no warning, targeting tourist locations, transportation hubs, markets/shopping malls, and local government facilities. Violence can occur in Jerusalem and the West Bank without warning.
U.S. government personnel can travel freely in Israel, except to areas in close proximity to Gaza, Syria, Lebanon, and Egypt. Travel of U.S. government personnel is extremely limited throughout the West Bank, and occasionally portions of Jerusalem are off limits to personnel. The U.S. government prohibits its employees from traveling Gaza.
Read the Safety and Security section on the country information page.
If you decide to travel to the areas covered in this document:
- Check the most recent Alerts at the Embassy and Consulate General websites for the latest information on travel in all of these areas.
- Maintain a high degree of situational awareness and exercise caution at all times, especially at checkpoints and other areas with a significant presence of security forces.
- Avoid demonstrations and crowds.
- Follow the instructions of security and emergency response officials.
- Beware of and report suspicious activities, including unattended items, to local police.
- Learn the location of the nearest bomb or other hardened shelter.
- Obtain comprehensive travel medical insurance that includes medical evacuation prior to travel. Most travel insurance packages do not cover mental health related illnesses/care.
- Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive Alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
- Follow the Department of State on Facebook and Twitter.
- Review the Crime and Safety Report for Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza.
- U.S. citizens who travel abroad should always have a contingency plan for emergency situations. Review the Traveler’s Checklist
Jerusalem: Violent clashes, protests, and terror attacks have occurred throughout the city, including in the Old City. Acts of terrorism have resulted in death and injury to bystanders, including U.S. citizens. During periods of unrest, the Government of Israel may restrict access to and within portions of Jerusalem.
West Bank: U.S. government travel throughout the West Bank is extremely limited.
Terror attacks and violent clashes in the West Bank have resulted in the deaths and injury of U.S. citizens and others. During periods of unrest, the Government of Israel may restrict access to and within the West Bank, and some areas may be placed under curfew.
Visit our website for Travel to High Risk Areas.
Gaza: The U.S. government is unable to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in Gaza as U.S. government employees are prohibited from traveling there.
Hamas, a U.S. government-designated foreign terrorist organization, controls security in Gaza. The security environment within Gaza and on its borders is dangerous and volatile.
Demonstrations occur on a frequent basis and may turn violent without warning.
Sporadic mortar or rocket fire and corresponding Israeli military responses may occur at any time.
U.S. government employees are not allowed to travel to Gaza and are restricted from traveling close to the Gaza demarcation line.
Visit our website for Travel to High Risk Areas.
Restrictions on U.S. Government Employee Travel
- U.S. government personnel are prohibited from travel to Gaza and areas in close proximity to Gaza.
- U.S. government official travel into the West Bank is conducted only with enhanced security measures. U.S. government employees are largely restricted from most personal travel in the West Bank, though portions of the West Bank are occasionally authorized for personal travel, depending on the security environment.
- U.S. government personnel take additional security precautions when visiting refugee camps and “seam areas” where Israelis and Palestinians are in proximity to each other, and which have historically been flashpoints for violence. For example, sites with significant religious meaning to multiple faiths can be subject to violent protests or security incidents with little or no warning, especially during or around significant religious holidays.
- The U.S. government occasionally restricts travel for its employees to Jerusalem’s Old City based on the security environment. U.S. government employees are prohibited from personal travel into Jerusalem’s Old City on Fridays during the Muslim month of Ramadan.
- U.S. government employees are prohibited from using public buses and public bus terminals throughout all of Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza.
- U.S. government employees must observe additional security requirements if traveling for any reason to the following locations:
- Within 7 miles of the Gaza demarcation line;
- Within 1.5 miles of the Lebanon border;
- East of Route 98 in the Golan; and
- Within 1.5 miles of the Egypt border along the Sinai (including all portions of Route 10 and portions of Route 12).
Originally Published: December 28, 2018