Travel Insurance for Israel & Palestine

Country Risk Code: Extreme

Overall: Extreme Risk

Israel is an Extreme Risk destination: defer non-essential travel.

Security: Extreme Risk

Extreme Risk locations are extremely dangerous and present unpredictable security risks. Travel, if possible, is likely to be chaotic. Refer to our Risk Map for up to date information on all areas under conflict.

Travel Security

Political Instability: High Risk

Following the outbreak of the war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza on 7 October, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced the formation of a war cabinet on 11 October. The cabinet is made up of Netanyahu, Defence Minister Yoal Gallant and opposition figure Beni Gantz in addition to three observer figures. Netanyahu’s right- wing coalition government, formed on 21 December 2022, has taken a step back since the war began and has been broadly blamed for the lapse in security which permitted the initial Hamas incursion. The coalition is generally understood by the international community as ultra-right wing, ultra-nationalist and ultra-Zionist.

Conflict: Extreme Risk

On 7 October, a ground infiltration carried out by Hamas forces from Gaza into Israel’s Southern District led to a declaration of war and ongoing clashes and artillery fire between Hamas forces and Israeli security forces as well as on Israel’s northern border with Lebanon and Syria in clashes with Hezbollah and other Iran-proxy groups. Bombardments and clashes remain ongoing, affecting all of Gaza, Israel’s Southern and Northern Districts and cities including Tel Aviv. Israel expanded airstrikes and ground operations in the northern Gaza Strip on 28 October; a ground offensive byIsrael is ongoing across the whole of Gaza.

Terrorism: High Risk

Since the ground incursion carried out by Hamas on 7 October into Israeli territory, the risk of attacks on Israel has increased significantly. Despite Israel's move to lockdown the West Bank, its continued heavy bombardment and ground operation in Gaza has drastically increased the likelihood of individual terror attacks on Israeli security forces and civilians on Israeli territory. Several terrorist organisations remain active in Gaza, and rocket barrages have been regularly launched from both sides since 7 October.

Unrest: Medium Risk

Protests organised by Palestinians - usually over the issue of Israel's settlement policy - regularly escalate to violence and fierce clashes with Israel Defense Forces (IDF) across ethnically mixed cities, including in Jerusalem’s Old City. Settler violence targeting Palestinians and Muslim places of worship is also common in the same areas. Spontaneous or planned protests, sometimes channelling nationalist and religious tensions, likewise have a high probability of escalating to violent clashes, including along the Gaza border, in East Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. Recently legislative changes have triggered mass protests across urban areas nationwide.

Crime: Moderate Risk

Israel has low crime rates in general. Petty crime is common in urban areas like Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Haifa and Eilat.

Israel-Gaza border conflict: Extreme Risk

Defer non-essential travel to Israel and the Palestinian Territories of Gaza and the West Bank due to Israeli military operations. Israel continues to carry out ground operations, air and drone strikes affecting all of Gaza. Occasional rocket barrages are launched from Gaza, targeting Israel’s Southern District and cities further north, including Tel Aviv. Israel has also implemented a lockdown across the West Bank and drastically increased raids across the territory. A ceasefire in place between 23 November-1 December 2023 broke down and permanent ceasefire talks remain unsuccessful.

Early on 7 October 2023, Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) and other militant factions based in Gaza broke through the Israel-Gaza border fence in an unprecedented infiltration offensive. Over 5,000 rockets were launched into Israel’s Southern District and as far north as Tel Aviv and Jerusalem within the first 48 hours of the conflict. Following the rocket barrage, Palestinian militants overran Israel Defence Forces (IDF) border outposts and attacked the areas of Nahel Oz, Netiv HaAsara, Kfar Azza, Kissufim, Alumim, Sufa, Be'eri, Sderot, Netivot, Re'im, Magen, Yad Mordechai, Ofakim, Mefalsim, Erez, Sufa Beheri, Shokeda, Sa'ad and other Southern District communities.

Israeli and foreign national fatalities stand at 1,200 with some 5,132 more wounded since the conflict began; Israeli authorities confirmed that approximately 242 people were abducted and taken back to Gaza as hostages. The governments of Austria, Argentina, Australia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Denmark, Eritrea, Estonia, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Ireland, Italy, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Mexico, Moldova, Nepal, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, the Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Thailand, Türkiye, United Kingdom (UK), Ukraine, United States (US) and Uzbekistan announced that their citizens were among those killed and/or taken hostage, most of them when Palestinian gunmen stormed a music festival in Re'im. The Israeli government formally declared war on Hamas on 8 October 2023 and a state of emergency remains in effect until further notice. Over 300,000 people in communities along the Gaza -Israel border, including Nahal Oz, Erez, Nir Am,

Karmia, Zikim, Kerem Shalom, Kissufim, Holit, Sufa, Nirim, Nir Oz, Ein HaSlosha, Nir Yitzhak, Be'eri, Magen, Reim, Sa'ad and Alumim, were evacuated. Public transport was suspended within an 80km (50 miles) security perimeter along the Israel-Gaza border. Israeli officials closed the Eilat-Aqaba border crossing between Israel and Jordan, as well as most checkpoints with East Jerusalem, Jericho and Jordan Valley in the West Bank until further notice. On 9 October 2023, the IDF announced a full blockade of Gaza, including fuel, water, medical and food supplies. Multiple airlines have halted flights to Tel Aviv Ben Gurion International Airport (TLV/LLBG) due to safety concerns. The Philippines Embassy in Tel Aviv suspended operations, effective 8 October 2023 until further notice. On 30 January, Israel Defence Forces (IDF) declared the Nitzana border crossing between Israel's Southern District and Egypt's North Sinai a closed military zone following Israeli protests at the border attempting to prevent aid destined for Gaza from entering Israel to be verified by authorities; civilians will not be allowed in the Israeli area of the crossing or on the nearby Route 211.Several attempted drone strikes on Israel's southern Eilat have been carried out by Yemeni Houthis since 30 October 2023, however, no major damage or casualties have been reported in relation to the strikes. Due to the Israel-imposed blockade, by 11 October 2023, the Gaza Power Plant had run out of fuel, causing widespread blackouts in the enclave. On 15 October, Israeli authorities restored the supply of water to the southern Gaza Strip, but not power, leaving the water inaccessible without electricity-powered pumps. On 16 November, the first of many telecommunications blackouts, including internet and fixed and cellular phone networks, was reported across the Gaza Strip due to a lack of fuel for generators. In Gaza, Israeli airstrikes and shelling remain ongoing, with at least 28,567 Palestinians killed, 65,000 others injured, thousands missing and over 1.5 million more displaced as of 14 February. At least 380 Palestinians have also been killed in the West Bank in clashes with Israeli security forces and Israeli settlers since the fighting began. Following the collapse of a short-lived ceasefire and exchange of hostages between 23 November-1 December 2023, Israel has heavily bombarded the southern half of Gaza. Since 11 December, ground operations have been underway in Khan Yunis, where fighting intensified from 13 December, while UN agencies warned of mass starvation and disease spread in the south of the Strip. On 9 February, Israel carried out airstrikes on the Rafah safe zone, killing at least 74 Palestinians. Strikes continue to target Rafah as of 15 February.

Announcements made by the Israeli war cabinet indicated that increased military activity would commence in Rafah from Ramadan (10 March) unless all hostages were returned. Should Israeli military activity in Rafah drastically increase this may lead to a spike resistance activity across the rest of the region. Defer non-essential travel to Israel and the Palestinian Territories of Gaza and the West Bank due to ongoing clashes between Palestinian militants and Israeli security forces. Immediately respond to the incoming rocket siren – indicated by a repeated rising-falling tone – by seeking shelter and remaining there for at least 10 minutes. Once the alarm is sounded, those within 10 kilometres (6.2 miles) of the Gaza Strip will have approximately 15 seconds to get to a shelter before the rocket hits. Those further away in Ashkelon and Ashdod, have 30 to 45 seconds, respectively, while in the city of Beersheba it is advised to take shelter in a fortified space within 60 seconds of hearing the siren. In other cities under threat of rocket attacks emanating from Gaza, people have up to 90 seconds to seek shelter. The use of seatbelts in Sderot and other border communities is discouraged as a measure to ensure rapid response to a Red Alert. Avoid listening to your car radio at a high volume, and only shower if there is somebody else nearby to hear the alarms. In the event of sustained rocket fire, seek shelter in the room of a building that is furthest from the direction of the missile fire threat, with the fewest external walls, windows and other openings. Inside the secure space, sit on the floor, under the window line and against an interior wall, though not opposite to the window. In an open area, lie down on the ground and protect your head with your hands. After 10 minutes, you may continue on your way unless otherwise instructed. Register itineraries, avoid concentrations of security personnel and contract a vetted local guide. Never approach the area of an Israeli attack, as secondary confirmatory strikes are likely. Avoid concentrations of security forces; limit exposure at checkpoints.

Border regions with Lebanon, Syria and the Golan Heights: Extreme Risk

Defer non-essential travel to the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights and areas within 10 kilometres (6.2 miles) of the border with Syria and the northern Blue Line border demarcation with Lebanon on an ongoing basis due to the risk of military escalation.