Antalya, in southern Turkey, is a favorite Israeli tourist destination – Photo: AP
The Prime Minister’s Office issued its routine semi-annual travel warning, formulated by the Counterterrorism Bureau in the Prime Minister’s Office, stating that “all non-essential visits to Turkey should be avoided.”
The threat issuing from Turkey is defined as an “ongoing potential threat,” a mid-level threat on the bureau’s five-level scale. Turkey is now on the same threat level as countries where jihadi terror cells are known to be operating, including Nigeria, Kenya and Azerbaijan.
The travel warning is for the coming Jewish holidays in September. So far, over the summer months of July and August, tens of thousands of Israelis have visited Turkey.
Travel warnings are official documents issued by the Counterterrorism Bureau, designed to help Israelis avoid attacks. The government cannot legally stop any of its citizens from visiting a foreign country, unless that country is hostile to Israel.
As well as Turkey, Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula is also on the warning list. There, the threat is defined as “concrete and very high,” the Counterterrorism Bureau’s highest level. The document states that all visits to Sinai should be avoided and any Israelis already there should immediately leave.
The Counterterrorism Bureau also recommends that Israelis avoid the two countries with which Israel shares a border and a peace agreement: Egypt and Jordan. In those two countries, the threat facing Israelis is defined as a “basic concrete threat,” one level higher than the threat facing Israelis in Turkey.
For Morocco, another popular destination for Israelis, an “ongoing potential threat” warning has been issued and the recommendation is to “postpone any non-essential trips there.”
The Counterterrorism Bureau says that Hezbollah publicly blames Israel for the death of arch-terrorist Imad Mughniyeh and that Iran has publicly accused Israel of the deaths of three nuclear scientists. According to information in Israel’s possession, threats of vengeance against Israelis abroad persist, with a focus on attempts to strike Israeli businesspeople visiting out-of-the-way destinations and not just the tourist hubs that tend to have better security.
The bureau says that there is no reason for Israelis to avoid travel abroad, but that citizens should consult the list of travel warnings before doing so. Even in countries where there is no threat, Israelis should take extra precautions.
The recommendation is to completely avoid those countries where the travel warning is “concrete and very high.” In addition, Israelis should reject any tempting, unexpected offers for business or recreation abroad. While abroad, it is best for citizens to mix up their routines by frequently altering their travel routes, accommodations and restaurants.
The full list of countries to avoid can be found on the Counterterrorism Bureau’s website.
Visit original Israel Hayom publication at: http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_article.php?id=11457