With the media constantly paying close attention to the situation in southern Israel and Gaza, many tourists are questioning if it’s safe to travel in Israel now, and what it’s like to be in Israel at this time. In this article we’ll try to run through facts about the situation. We’ll give you the information you need to make a decision. Ultimately it is safe to travel in Israel. The situation in the south of the country is not affecting tourists who are traveling in the country. That being said, you should always be sure to check and adhere to your country’s travel advisories.
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*Last updated August 2021*
What’s The Situation Now?
We aren’t going to go into details here. We’ll give you a general overview and explain how that impacts you as a traveler.
Israel is in a continuous state of conflict with Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza. Every once in a while, after the conflict starts brewing, there is a small “war” or operation. During these small wars, rockets are fired at Israel. The rockets are generally fired at the south or north of Israel, depending on who the conflict is with. At times, the rockets hit more central parts of Israel. Fortunately, Israel has an awesome defense system called the Iron Dome which intercepts rockets. As an extra caution, there are sirens in specific areas to warn citizens to take cover in a bomb shelter, or a “miklat.”
It’s very rare, especially in the areas you will be in as a tourist, to get injured by a rocket.
Is it Safe to Travel in Israel Now?
Despite what you see in the news, Israel is actually a very safe country to travel to. It’s easy to associate all of Israel with Gaza and the West Bank. This is mostly what shows on the news. But, you must remember that these aren’t areas where most people live. They certainly aren’t the areas that travelers visit. The main tourist areas- Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Haifa, the Negev, Dead Sea, and Galilee, remain as safe as always.
In addition to that, personal safety in Israel is always incredibly high and crime very low, especially when compared to many Western countries and cities. In an ironic way, coming and traveling in Israel is safer than staying at home in the UK, USA, or most other Western Countries.
That being said, parts of Israel are not safe to travel to and travelers are advised against traveling to them. The area of the country around Gaza is not touristic and there is no reason for tourists to go travel there. Tourists should also be very vigilant when traveling to the West Bank or east Jerusalem.
Current travel warnings, as of August 2021.
- The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise against all travel specific areas – to Gaza, the Sheba’a Farms and Ghajjar and within 500m of the border with Lebanon (the ‘Blue Line’) east of Metula, and east of Route 98 along the Syrian border. These are not regions or areas typically visited by tourists visiting Israel.
- The US State Department does not advise tourists against traveling to Israel but does advise U.S citizens to be aware of “the continuing risks of travel to Israel, the West Bank and Gaza due to the security situation and heightened tensions there, and warns against travel to Gaza.” They also advise travelers to stay cautious in the Old City and when traveling to the West Bank.
How’s the Mood in Israel?
In Israel, the sun is (mostly) always shining, the hummus is flowing, and the clubbers keep clubbing. It takes a very serious and tense situation to make Israelis stop going about their daily lives. This means that shopping in the markets, meeting up with friends for dinner, and going out into the wee hours of the morning is a way of life regardless of what is going on in certain parts of the country.
As far as tourists go, there is no slowing them down in 2021. There were a record-breaking 4.5 million tourists who visited Israel in 2019.
Tours in Israel continue to depart as usual without changes to itineraries. We have lots of Package Tours to help you make the most out of your trip in Israel, plus many hotels in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and more.
Should I Still Travel to Israel?
If you are wondering whether you should travel to Israel, it is, of course, a personal decision that you should make. There are still thousands of tourists in the country having an unforgettable and safe experience.
In short, the security situation in Israel and in the Occupied Palestinian Territories often changes. You should always exercise caution and stay up-to-date with your country’s latest travel reports.
Becki Enright, an award winning travel writer and editor of Backpacker Becki wrote: “
“While you should stay open to developments of the conflict, travel in Israel is still safe. It’s important to remember that the main tourists areas are away from Gaza, where this current conflict is taking place (and where any travel in close proximity is prohibited). You may come across very small incidents or have to follow the protocol of sirens, but you should not be put off travelling there. Travel in Israel and in the West Bank is also an opportunity to better understand this conflict from both sides – and that alone is invaluable.”