Over the weekend, Israel issued a travel warning for non-essential travel to the United Arab Emirates, Turkey and Bahrain, citing danger from terrorist actors in those countries ahead of the Jewish Passover holiday.
The warning came from the National Security Council ahead of the holidays, which begin April 15, when many Israelis travel abroad.
The NSC also warned Israelis to refrain from traveling to the northern Sinai Peninsula due to the presence of Islamic State operatives there, and called for heightened vigilance even during the visit South Sinai – which includes the resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh.
Of the 198 countries in the world, Israel has issued travel warnings of varying levels for 48. In six countries, travel is prohibited by law for any Israeli citizen, including Israelis who hold multiple nationalities, including Iranian, Yemen, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia.
Travel advisories have been updated and amended, with the approval of the safety cabinet, and divided into four levels.
Level 1: A country with no unusual warnings and normal precautions are recommended. Level 2: Occasional threat, with a recommendation for heightened precautions. Level 3: A medium threat, it is recommended to avoid non-essential travel. Level 4: A high threat, it is recommended to avoid these countries completely.
The NSC said in its recommendation to avoid non-essential travel to the United Arab Emirates, which is classified as a medium threat level (Level 3).
“There are various terrorist activities in the UAE, and this poses a real risk to Israelis staying in or visiting the country,” the travel warning said. “Recently, the Houthi movement in Yemen and Iraqi (pro-Iranian) militias have carried out attacks on parts of the country using unmanned drones, which could pose a risk to visiting Israelis.”
Even in Turkey, the threat level is moderate – level 3 – with a call to avoid non-essential travel.
According to the IDF, there are terrorists present in Turkey affiliated with various militant organizations, including global jihadist groups.
“These are direct risks to Israelis staying in the country, therefore, increased caution is recommended when visiting Turkey,” the statement said. Recommendations to avoid non-essential travel have also been issued for Bahrain – a Level 3 threat.
Morocco, another Muslim country and a popular tourist destination among Israelis, has seen its threat level remain at 1 – the lowest – and there are no travel warnings in place.
Neighboring Jordan has been classified as Level 2 on the threat barrier, with a recommendation for heightened precautions due to continued terrorist threats and hostility from part of the Jordanian public towards Israel.
The northern parts of Egypt’s Sinai received the highest threat level.
“In North Sinai, attacks were carried out by an offshoot of the Islamic State, which threatened Israel and Israelis. There are also fears that ISIS operatives may attempt attacks, including on tourist destinations in South Sinai,” the warning adds.
The threat level for South Sinai is relatively low, Level 2, but heightened precautions are recommended.
“Over the past year and a half, Iran and its proxies have intensified their activities abroad. As a result, Iranian officials are once again threatening to attack Israeli and Jewish targets, as they express heightened motivation,” the NSC said.
“In 2021, several Iranian attacks, including assassination plots against Israelis, were foiled – in Colombia, Cyprus and Turkey. According to our estimates, the period ahead, Iran will continue to act to promote attacks on Israeli targets around the world. Areas with a higher likelihood of such activities are countries close to Iran, as well as enemy states or those with which Israel does not have official relations,” said the NSC.
“In recent months, we have witnessed increasing attempts by Iranian agents to contact Israelis in order to get them out of the country and harm them. Following the guidelines set out in travel advisories can reduce the chances of success. of these efforts,” the NSC added.
“The Islamic State and the rest of the global jihadist organizations continue to demonstrate their motivation to carry out attacks against Jewish and Israeli targets, in various countries around the world. These organizations have an extensive infrastructure and have been active in Africa, Middle East (especially North Sinai) and Asia.”