Editor’s note: This post was updated on November 23, 2015.
Ongoing political and civil unrest in Israel means its security situation continues to remain complex. The best thing you can do in terms of taking safety precautions for travel in the area is first and foremost to check with your government’s travel advisory bureau prior to embarking on a trip.
If you are an American, check with the U.S. State Department. A warning regarding travel in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza was issued on February 18, 2015, and remains in effect. Although hundreds of thousands of citizens safely travel to Israel and the West Bank each year, travelers should stay aware of the continuing volatility in the region.
The U.S. Department of State urges citizens to exercise caution when traveling to Israel and the West Bank. A rise in political and cultural tensions has led to protests and increased levels of violence, including acts of terrorism, resulting in some recent cases in the injuries and deaths of U.S. citizens. Additionally, travelers should be aware of the potential for military conflict between Israel and terrorist organization Hamas; in late 2014, rockets launched from Gaza reached many locales in Israel and the West Bank, including Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. The U.S. Department of State advises travelers to avoid all travel to the Gaza Strip, which is under the control of Hamas.
Another dependable place to get travel advisory information is through the Australian government which, via Smartraveller, offers a detailed account of affairs in foreign destinations, ranking specific areas within a given country according to a color-coded travel advisory system.
Travelers are advised to avoid all large gatherings and demonstrations, stay current with the local news and adopt personal security practices, particularly at night and in isolated areas, to reduce vulnerability to crime. Additionally, visitors are encouraged to learn the proper procedures to follow in the case of rocket attacks or other crises, as well as the location of their nearest public bomb shelter.