Israel 2015 Crime and Safety Report: Tel Aviv
Travel Health and Safety; Transportation Security; Religious Terrorism; Stolen items; Religious Violence; Theft; Burglary; VBIEDs; Drug Trafficking; Aviation; Riots/Civil Unrest; Earthquakes; Employee Health Safety; Hate Crimes; Kidnapping; Fraud
Near East > Israel; Near East > Israel > Tel Aviv
Overall Crime and Safety Situation
Crime Rating: Medium
Cities throughout Israel generally tend to experience lower rates of violent crime in comparison to most similarly-sized metropolitan cities in the U.S. The most commonly reported crimes include: vehicle thefts, petty larcenies, and residential burglaries. After dark, crime increases in the Old City, the Sherover Promenade, and the Haas Promenade.
Vehicle theft is a very common occurrence. Auto theft is a problem in Tel Aviv, and stolen vehicles are often not recovered. In most cases, the stolen vehicles are not recovered, as thieves convey and dispose of them in neighboring countries and territories. The vast majority of vehicle owners have taken precautions and invested in security alarms and tracking/disabling systems to protect and recover their vehicles.
Reports of petty theft are not uncommon, to include unattended items left in vehicles and public places. The Embassy receives frequent reports of such occurrences from both private U.S. citizens and members of the diplomatic community. Personal belongings left unattended in parked vehicles, on public beaches, or in parks are targeted with some regularity. This problem primarily exists in the vicinity of national parks, public beaches, and other areas frequented by tourists.
Residential burglaries are a common occurrence, especially in affluent neighborhoods. The Embassy frequently receives reports of residential burglaries targeting both attended and unattended residences. In most cases, the burglaries of attended residences tend to be perpetrated by non-confrontational burglars using surreptitious means under the cover of darkness. Day-time burglaries of unattended residences are not uncommon. Typically, burglars prefer to slip in, steal items, and slip out without confronting the occupants. During 2013, the U.S. Embassy reported two cases of residential burglaries targeting Embassy housing. During 2014, the U.S. Embassy experienced no residential burglaries, although a few items were removed from yards, and there were frequent reports of burglars targeting homes belonging to other parties in close proximity to official residences.
Information regarding the INP’s crime statistics for 2013 is available through this link.
Organized crime activity has increased in Israel. In a few incidents involving organized crime, stolen military ordnance or vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices (VBIEDs) have been used. While the INP is expanding its efforts to combat organized crime, its focus has been on the prevention of terrorism.
In 2013, one pharmaceutical company suffered a major theft of prescription medications. Pharmaceutical theft and trafficking is a growing crime with many contraband drugs.
Since June 2014, Jerusalem has seen a marked increase in random violent activities. These random acts of violence have not been anti-American in nature, yet they underscore the sometimes volatile nature of the security environment.
Areas of Concern
The U.S. Embassy places restrictions on the travel of U.S. government employees and family members due to the unpredictable nature of the security environment.
West Bank: Please see the Jerusalem CSR for travel concerns and restrictions for the West Bank. U.S. government personnel and their dependents are prohibited from traveling to most places in the West Bank except for Mission-essential business or other approved purposes. Personal travel to Jericho and Bethlehem is permitted. Such travel is carefully monitored by the Consulate General in Jerusalem and subject to restrictions. U.S. government personnel and their dependents are authorized limited road travel through the West Bank using only Routes 1 and 90 in order to reach the Allenby/King Hussein Bridge, the Galilee, the Sheikh Hussein Bridge, or the Dead Sea coast near Ein Gedi and Masada. While traveling on Routes 1 and 90, U.S. government personnel are allowed to stop at roadside facilities. Travel to Qumran is permitted as well. All other roads and locations within the West Bank remain strictly off-limits to personal travel for U.S. government personnel and their dependents.
Gaza: U.S. citizens are strongly warned against travel to the Gaza Strip; the U.S. government does not permit U.S. citizen employees to conduct official or personal travel there. In view of the threat in/around Gaza, U.S. government personnel must provide advance notification of travel in the vicinity of the Gaza Strip so a security assessment can be made of the intended travel. Additional resources, such as the use of armored vehicles, are used to support such travel. Travelers to the vicinity of the Gaza Strip should be aware of the risks presented by small-arms fire, anti-tank weapons, rockets, and mortars launched from inside Gaza toward Israeli cities and towns. Gunfire, rocket, and mortar attacks in the regions immediately bordering Gaza are a regular occurrence and can come with little warning. Visitors to these areas should remain aware of their surroundings and of the location of bomb shelters and should take note of announcements and guidance provided by the Home Front Command.
Travelers and persons residing in Israel are well-advised to be prepared for the possibility of incoming rocket fire from terrorist groups operating in Gaza and Lebanon. Prudent preparations include: having accommodations for protective shelters immediately available in your place of residence and work and knowing the whereabouts of the nearest protective shelters in public places. Additional information to prepare for the potential of rocket attacks can be found at the following resources:
The Israel Home Front Command has considerable information regarding emergency contingency planning in general, including rocket attacks, floods, and earthquakes.
The Red Alert Application is a free “app” for both iOS and Android smart phones that aims to provide real-time alerts when missiles or rockets are fired into Israel.
Southern Israel: U.S. government personnel must notify the Embassy's Regional Security Office in advance if they plan to visit areas in the vicinity of the Gaza Strip or south of Be’er Sheva. Added security measures, such as the use of armored vehicles, are commonly used for such travel.
Travel to northern Israel (Golan Region and Galilee Region): U.S. government employees are required to obtain clearance from the Embassy’s Regional Security Office 24 hours in advance for any travel within 1.5 miles of the Lebanese border, on Route 98 toward the Golan Heights, or east of Route 98. U.S. government personnel must notify the Embassy's Regional Security Office in advance if they plan to visit the Golan Heights via Route 92 or into areas east of Route 92.
As a result of the heightened threat along its northern border with Lebanon, U.S. government personnel must notify the Embassy’s Regional Security Office if they plan to travel within 1.5 miles of the border. There are no border crossing points open with Lebanon.
Road Safety and Road Conditions
Israel’s roads and highways are in good condition but are often heavily-congested during peak travel hours. Signs on major roadways are generally posted in: Hebrew, Arabic, and English.
Visitors are encouraged to drive defensively and be aware of erratic and aggressive motorists. Local motorists are prone to sudden stops and maneuvers. Scooters and motorcycles are common, often passing on the left or right (frequently at high speeds) regardless of whether traffic is moving or stopped.
Motorists should use caution, as Israel has a high rate of motor vehicle fatalities. It is recommended that persons involved in a traffic accident contact the INP.
The use of cell phones while driving is prohibited unless a hands-free device is employed. Israeli law requires the use of seat belts for all occupants of a motor vehicle. During the winter season, head lights must be used for all travel and during inclement weather. Cold weather conditions and precipitation can lead to ice and snow accumulation on road surfaces especially in elevated areas, resulting in perilous driving conditions, traffic congestion, and in some cases road closures. During 2014’s anomalous sudden blizzard conditions, large numbers of local motorists in elevated areas in/around Jerusalem and in northern Israel found themselves trapped by impassable road conditions and had to be rescued by the Israel Defense Forces using military four-wheel-drive and tracked vehicles. Following the blizzard, some roads in elevated areas were closed and impassable for up to two days due to snow and ice accumulation. During periods of heavy rainfall, many roadways are susceptible to standing water and flooding.
Public Transportation Conditions
Buses and bus terminals remain off-limits for U.S. government employees throughout Israel.
Ben Gurion International Airport, Israel’s primary international gateway, employs one of the most comprehensive security screening programs for travelers in the world. Accordingly, security-related delays are not unusual for travelers carrying audio-visual or data storage/processing equipment, and some travelers have reported that their laptop computers and other electronic equipment were confiscated during the screening process. While most items are returned prior to the traveler’s departure or permitted to accompany the traveler as checked baggage, some equipment was retained by the authorities for lengthy periods and has reportedly been damaged, destroyed, lost or never returned. Travelers who have had personal property damaged due to security procedures at Ben Gurion may contact the Commissioner for Public Complaints at the airport for redress by fax to 972-3-9752387. In such circumstances, travelers should have no expectation of privacy for any data stored on such devices. In order to facilitate the security screening process for business travelers, Ben Gurion Airport security officials established a pre-screening program called the Mokdan Process. It is highly recommended that travelers check with the company or organization sponsoring their travel to see if they have a certified representative who can provide Mokdan pre-screening service for their travelers. The contact information for sending a representative to become accredited and issue Mokdan pre-screening is:
Other Travel Conditions
During 2014, Israel experienced several “lone wolf” attacks involving the use of motor vehicles as a weapon targeting pedestrians and the stabbing of people with a sharp object. While host country personnel in uniform were specially targeted in several cases, there have also been attacks carried out against innocent civilians standing at cross walks, mass transit stops, and onboard buses.
Political, Economic, Religious, and Ethnic Violence
Political Violence Rating: High
Local, Regional, and International Terrorism Threats/Concerns
Gaza-based organizations (Hamas, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), the Popular Resistance Committees (PRCs)) are among the most active terrorist organizations in the region. These organizations carry out asymmetrical attacks(rocket/missile fire, snipers around boundaries with the Gaza Strip, other acts of terrorism in/around the West Bank). Both Hamas and the PIJ are designated as Foreign Terrorist Organizations by the U.S. government, although the PRCs are splinter groups whose attacks have grown in scope and lethality since 2008. While some Palestinian groups, particularly those in the West Bank, have recognized Israel’s right to exist and engaged in negotiations, Hamas, the PIJ, and other factions remain publically committed to the destruction of Israel and do not distinguish between attacks on civilian or military targets. The Israeli government responds to these attacks with military operations directed at terrorist leaders, their infrastructure, and rocket launching teams.
From July 8-August 26, 2014, Israel conducted a large scale military action (Operation Protective Edge, OPE) that concluded with a cease-fire agreement between Israel and Palestinian groups in Gaza (including Hamas). During OPE, over 4,500 rockets and/or mortars were fired from Gaza toward/into Israel, with 735 rockets intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system. Central Israel, including the greater Tel Aviv metropolitan area, experienced near daily (and frequently multiple daily) rocket attacks, interceptions, and impacts in isolated areas. Israel’s Iron Dome Defense system served an important role in ensuring the overall safety of the majority of Israel’s population with a nationwide success rate of approximately 87 percent; however, the closer one ventured toward Gaza, this rate would decrease due to diminished warning and response time for incoming rocket fire. While the vast majority of incoming rockets were intercepted over population centers throughout central and northern Israel, falling debris remained a significant safety concern. As a result of incoming rocket fire and falling debris, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration issued a Notice to All Airmen and Mariners (NOTAM), temporarily prohibiting U.S. carriers from Tel Aviv’s airport for a 48-hour period. Throughout OPE, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) lost over 67 personnel during combat operations in Gaza and another 1,620 wounded in action. Over 2,500 Gazans were killed during combat operations within Gaza and another 11,000 injured. Five civilians were killed in Israel and another 837 wounded. During the course of combat operations, the IDF located and destroyed 32 tunnels accessing Israel from Gaza. These tunnels were constructed by Hamas and others resident in Gaza to conduct kidnapping and terrorist operations in Israel. While the OPE ceasefire has significantly calmed the environment around Gaza, there have been occasional rocket/missile launches directed toward Israel and out to sea throughout late 2014 and early 2015, as well as small arms fire along the Gaza/Israeli border area.
The deteriorating situation in Syria is of major concern to Israel. As the Syrian regime is struggling to maintain control, terrorist groups (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), Jabhat Al-Nusra Front (JN)) are vying to overthrow Assad and gain greater control, including parts of Syria adjacent to Israel. The Syrian civil war (2011-), has led to fighting between the military and opposition forces. Much of the fighting has occurred in the central portion of the Disengagement Zone adjacent to the Israeli border in the Golan Heights. This area is also in close proximity to the town of Quneitra. In August 2014, the al-Qai’da affiliated al-Nusra Front terrorist group operating in Syria encroached into the Disengagement Zone near the Quneitra border crossing and took captive, and subsequently released, several dozen Fijian and Filipino soldiers assigned to the UNDOF. Sporadic gunfire has occurred along the Disengagement Zone. In September, UNDOF vacated many of the observation posts they had maintained on the Syrian side of the border for the past four decades, thereby leaving this area less secure and more susceptible to hostile activity. There have been several incidents of mortar shells and small arms fire impacting on the Israeli-controlled side of the zone as a result of spillover from the fighting in Syria. The IDF have augmented their positions on the Golan and engaged in air strikes to prevent weapons transfers between Syrian elements and Hezbollah.
Authorities have maintained a heightened state of alert along Israel’s border with Egypt given the turmoil in that country. There have been cross-border incidents from Egypt, including rocket attacks and ground incursions, such as an attack that took place in August 2013 and one on January 20, 2014. Rockets were fired from Sinai in the direction of Eilat on July 15, 2014.
Authorities are also concerned about the terrorist threat posed along its northern border from Hezbollah or other groups operating in Lebanon. While the Israeli/Lebanese border has been an area of relative calm in recent years, the threat of rocket/missile attacks persists.
The presence of Israeli settlements and Israeli security forces in many areas of the West Bank remains a politically contentious and at times volatile issue, resulting in incidents of stone throwing, shootings, petrol bombs, grenade/improvised explosive device attacks, kidnappings, civil unrest, and other hostilities. The Jerusalem Crime and Safety Report will provide more details for the West Bank.
Below is a list of other notable, recent security incidents; while not all-inclusive, it is illustrative of the local security environment and threat conditions:
01/21/15: A Palestinian male residing illegally in Israel boarded a municipal bus in Tel Aviv during the morning rush hour and attacked/stabbed several passengers with a sharp object before being shot and detained by police. Over a dozen people were wounded, including six seriously, during this incident.
11/18/14: A terrorist attacked worshipers in a synagogue in West Jerusalem; four expatriates were killed and several were injured.
11/13/14: The Israel National Police closed Route 444 in the vicinity of Taibe (located in central Israel) for several hours in response to stone throwers targeting passing vehicles.
11/12/ 14: A historic synagogue in Shefar’am (northern Israel) incurred fire damage by a petrol bomb.
11/10/14: A uniformed IDF soldier was stabbed to death and two Israeli civilians were injured at a train station in central Tel Aviv, thereafter the Palestinian attacker attempted to grab the injured soldier’s rifle. The perpetrator was apprehended and remains in custody.
11/10/14: The INP arrested two Israeli-Bedouins east of Be’er Sheeva (southern Israel) on reports they may have been involved in an attempted vehicular attack. This matter remains under investigation by the INP and Israel Security Agency (ISA).
11/9/14: Unknown people threw stones at a bus traveling on Route 1 in the vicinity of Abu Ghosh (an Arab Israeli town) in central Israel. The bus was damaged, but no injuries were reported. Route 1 is the main east-west roadway connecting Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.
11/8/14: Route 65, in the vicinity of Wada Ara (southwest of Lake Kinneret/Sea of Galilee), experienced several cases of roadside arson (foliage set on fire) and stone throwning at passing vehicles. This area has a significant Arab Israeli population and has experienced similar incidents during past periods of elevated tensions.
11/5/14: A motorist intentionally drove his vehicle into a group of commuters waiting at a light rail stop in Jerusalem. An Israeli border police officer was killed, and several others were injured. After fleeing the scene, the motorist disembarked from his vehicle and began attacking pedestrians and motorists with a metal bar before being shot and killed by security forces. In the past decade, there have been 15 reported incidents of similar vehicular attacks in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, including two in the greater Tel Aviv metropolitan area.
10/23/14: A Palestinian motorist intentionally drove his vehicle into a group of commuters waiting at a light rail stop in Jerusalem. Two people were killed, and several others injured. The driver was subsequently shot and killed by Israeli security forces while resisting arrest.
10/29/14: A prominent Jewish political activist and religious organizer advocating increased Jewish access and presence on the Temple Mount was shot and seriously injured outside the Menachem Begin Heritage Center in Jerusalem. The Palestinian assailant was shot and killed by Israeli security forces attempting to escape.
Virtually all incidents of terrorism have been from regionally-based organizations rather than transnational terrorist groups.
Terrorism Rating: High
Below is a list of notable incidents of recent civil unrest. While not all-inclusive, it illustrates the security environment and threat conditions. While most occurrences of civil unrest take place in the vicinity of the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and Jerusalem, demonstrations and violent incidents occur, often without warning.
11/5/14: Israeli police and Palestinians clashed at the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif, one of the holiest sites in Judaism and Islam, resulting in several injuries. This incident and charges that Israeli authorities violated the sanctity of the mosque serve to incite already inflamed tensions.
11/14/14: Violent clashes occurred between Druze and Muslims from Israel's Arab community of Abu-Snan (in Israel’s Western Galilee region). These riots were the result of increased tension by the Muslim Israelis toward the Druze Israelis for their support and service in the Israel Defense Forces and security services. Over 35 persons were reported injured during a prolonged riot between Muslim and Druze residents. This riot endured for several hours before police brought it under control.
11/7/14: Kafr Kana in Israel’s northern Galilee region (with a sizable Arab Israeli population) experienced riots and civil unrest after the INP shot and killed a local Arab Israeli who approached and attacked an INP tactical unit passenger van with a knife. Video of this incident was widely disseminated and commented on in social media.
As part of a growing movement to address the migrants’ status, the African migrant and asylum community, with the assistance of several non-governmental organizations, organized numerous demonstrations in Tel Aviv. During 2014, several large rallies and peaceful demonstrations in support of the African migrants have taken place in Rabin Square, near the U.S. Embassy, near the Knesset, and in public parks/streets in Tel Aviv.
The U.S. Embassy has also witnessed several peaceful demonstrations in support of Jonathan Pollard, a U.S. citizen convicted of committing espionage on behalf of Israel, at the U.S. Embassy or across from locations visited by the U.S. Secretary of State. These demonstrations have been peaceful and coordinated in advance with police and municipal authorities.
Spontaneous protests in/around the Old City periodically take place, especially after Friday prayers. This can often cause incidents of violence that have resulted in strong responses from the parties involved. Protest activities have occurred within the Old City and areas around Salah Ed-Din Street, Damascus Gate, Silwan, and the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhoods. Demonstrations and clashes have occurred in several East Jerusalem areas: Shufat, Beit Hanina, Mt. of Olives, As Suwaneh, Abu Deis, Silwan, Shuafat Refugee Camp, inside the Old City (near Lions Gate), Issawiyeh, and Tsur Baher. Such events have resulted in violence between protestors and Israeli National Police (INP). The intensity of these violent clashes appears to have diminished, although the possibility of renewed clashes remains, mainly during evening hours. The INP continues to deploy a heavy presence in many of the neighborhoods that have seen clashes and may restrict vehicular traffic to some of these neighborhoods without notice. The clashes and demonstrations have not been anti-American in nature, but U.S. citizens are advised not to enter any neighborhoods restricted by the INP and to avoid any locations with active clashes.
The Jordan River Valley, which marks Israel’s eastern border, constitutes the northern section of the Great Rift Valley that forms the tectonic border of the African and Asian plates. Accordingly, the region experiences regular seismic activity. The most recent earthquake of significance was in May 2014. It was measured as 4.1 on the Richter scale with no injuries or damage reported. The last major earthquake in Israel occurred in 1927. Nevertheless, in recognition of the potential for a natural disaster, the government used an earthquake scenario in 2012 for its largest annual emergency preparedness exercise, Turning Point 6, held throughout the country.
Critical Infrastructure Concerns
In November 2014, a 60-ton container of ammonia gas leaked at a factory in the Emek Hefer industrial park near Netanya, resulting in the death of one firefighter and injury of 20 others who inhaled the gas. The leak occurred when a two-to-three centimeter breach opened in the pressurized container, which authorities believed was in danger of erupting. The surrounding area was cordoned off until the situation was under control.
In December 2014, millions of liters of crude oil gushed out of a breached pipeline during routine maintenance work 12 miles north of Eilat (at the southernmost tip of Israel). Local officials categorized this incident as “one of the gravest pollution events in the country’s history.”
Economic Espionage/Intellectual Property Thefts
All forms of communication may be subject to compromise. While there is no specific information, it is better to be safe and assume it is occurring.
Personnel Background Concerns
In the mid-2000s, Israel became a destination for a large number of African nationals who illegally immigrated through Israel’s southern border coming mainly from Sudan and Eritrea. In 2013, Israel completed construction of a border fence along its border with Egypt that effectively halted the stream of Africans crossing into Israel. While some African migrants departed Israel on their own accord, it is estimated that there are still 53,000 African migrants in Israel. Many of these migrants live in south Tel Aviv, specifically in/around the Central Bus Station. Without legal status, many Africans are unemployed or work in temporary, low wage jobs in/around Tel Aviv. Israeli residents of south Tel Aviv complain of increased theft, assault, and vagrancy.
Israel has similar drug problems to those of any Westernized country. There is prevalent use of heroin in Israel along with other recreational drugs (cocaine, marijuana, ecstasy, synthetic cannabis). When contemplating contingency planning, narco-terrorism has not been a consideration.
Kidnappings are generally not a widespread problem or issue within Green Line Israel. However, reports are common of potential terrorist operations in areas of Jerusalem, the West Bank, Gaza, or along the Sinai border to kidnap Israeli military personnel or civilians.
On June 12, 2014 three Israeli teenagers (including one U.S. citizen dual national) were kidnapped in the West Bank while hitchhiking to return to their residences in Green Line Israel. One of these teenagers managed to place a phone call to the police reporting he had been kidnapped. This phone call also included Arabic voices and several volleys of gun fire. The authorities initiated Operation Brother’s Keeper, a concerted effort to locate the victims and perpetrators of this kidnapping. During the ensuing 11-day period, Israeli authorities arrested over 350 Palestinian leaders, including most of Hamas’ leadership in the West Bank. In late June, Israel released the identities of the perpetrators of the kidnapping, whom it was later confirmed killed the victims soon after the abduction. Authorities recovered the bodies of the three teenagers and vowed a tough response for their deaths.
On July 2, 2014, a Palestinian youth was kidnapped in East Jerusalem. His charred remains were found a few hours later in the Jerusalem Forest. On July 6, 2014, Israeli authorities arrested 6 Jewish Israelis in connection with this crime. Three confessed, while the other three were released, as they were not involved. While this kidnapping was widely condemned throughout Israel, it was determined to have been conducted in retaliation for the three Israeli youths kidnapped in June.
Unattended belongings are considered suspicious items and are subject to confiscation or may be destroyed by INP bomb squads.
When entering most establishments, be prepared to be physically searched and have your bag and/or vehicle inspected prior to entry.
How to Handle Incidents of Police Detention or Harassment
U.S. citizen travelers who have been arrested, are the victim of a crime, or need assistance may contact the U.S. Embassy’s American Citizen Services at 03-519-7575 or after normal business hours at 03-519-7551.
Embassy Tel Aviv rarely receives reports of police harassment. Some U.S. travelers may encounter increased security screening at Ben Gurion International Airport for both inbound and outbound travel. Generally, the Regional Security Office and American Citizen Services are notified by Israeli Immigration authorities if a U.S. citizen is detained or denied entry into Israel.
Crime Victim Assistance
Emergency services usually have English-speaking operators.
Israeli National Police (INP): The INP focus is on common civilian issues (auto accidents, burglaries, robberies etc.) for Green Line Israel and in the Jewish Settlements.
Border Police (BP): The BP is a division of the INP that focuses on border issues, smuggling, and crimes near/on Israeli borders and in the West Bank. BP officers are also posted outside of several embassies and Ambassadorial residences as they are considered sovereign territories.
Israeli Defense Forces (IDF): The military is focused on Israeli Defense Security and Security within the Occupied Territories of the West Bank. The military has three main branches: Army, Navy and Air Force.
Israeli Security Agency (ISA/Shin Bet): The Shin Bet is focused on internal security and intelligence and also provides protection for the prime minister, president, and several other key government figures.
Travelers should dial 101 for medical emergencies.
Contact Information for Recommended Hospitals/Clinics
Ichilov Hospital (03-697-4444) is the largest hospital in Tel Aviv and central to the downtown metropolitan area. English speaking operators and medical staff are usually available. Ichilov is a Level 1 trauma center.
Recommended Air Ambulance Services
Orange Aviation can provide air ambulance service within Israel or internationally. Contact information is provided below:
Moshav Ben-Shemen 35
Tel. +972 8 923 5751
Fax +972 8 923 5758
CDC Country-specific Vaccination and Health Guidance
For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad, consult the World Health Organization (WHO) website. The WHO website also contains additional health information for travelers, including detailed country-specific health information. Polio is an increasingly serious health concern in Israel. You can find further information about polio and recommended precautions for those traveling to Israel on the CDC website: . http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/traveler/none/israel?s_cid=ncezid-dgmq-travel-single-001.
Tips on How to Avoid Becoming a Victim
Residents receive spam or phishing emails comparable to other similar-sized Western countries. Recent trends included an email phishing campaign involving a fraudulent diversity lottery and green card prize. In addition, the Embassy has received several complaints from Israelis who wired money to individuals posing as U.S. soldiers serving in Iraq or Afghanistan. Generally, these Israelis met these individuals over chat rooms and other online social media sites.
Situational Awareness Best Practices
Visitors should be aware of their surroundings, as the security environment changes constantly. U.S. government employees are cautioned to use discretion and good judgment when visiting crowed places (shopping malls, restaurants, hotel lobbies, entertainment/recreation venues). Personal belongings should be secured while shopping or visiting tourist attractions.
When traveling in Jerusalem’s Old City, people should remain vigilant and aware of surroundings at all times. Be alert to street vendors who often aggressively harass tourists.
Security alarm systems, security grilles/shutters, exterior lighting, security patrols, and sound residential security operational practices are all accredited for reducing the occurrences of burglaries. Many local residences in affluent areas have multiple closed circuit television cameras to detect and deter crime as well.
The U.S. Embassy also recommends that travelers, particularly those staying long-term, familiarize themselves with the locations of public bomb shelters or ensure that residences contain a hardened room that can serve this purpose.
In light of the fluid nature of Israel’s security environment, travelers are also encouraged to regularly monitor the local news. Good sources of news in English are: YNet, Haaretz, and Jerusalem Post.
U.S. Embassy Location and Contact Information
Embassy Address and Hours of Operation
The U.S. Embassy is located at 71 Hayarkon Street, Tel Aviv, Israel.
The Embassy is open for business Monday-Friday from 8:00 AM-4:30 PM except on U.S. and Israeli holidays.
Embassy Contact Numbers
Outside of business hours, there is an embassy duty officer who can offer assistance regarding emergencies involving U.S. citizens.
Telephone: (Country Code 972) 03-519-7575
After Hours: (972) 03-519-7551
The Regional Security Office, Consular Affairs American Citizen Services, Political, and Economic Sections can all be contacted through these numbers.
Fax: (972) 03-516-4390
Consulate Jerusalem: http://jerusalem.usconsulate.gov/
All travelers and U.S. citizens residing in Israel are encouraged to consult the Department of State’s Country Specific Information Sheet and Travel Warnings at http://travel.state.gov for current information concerning entry/exit requirements, safety and security, and medical information.
OSAC Country Council Information
Israel has an active OSAC County Council. Questions regarding Tel Aviv’s OSAC Country Council can be directed to Paul D. Brown, Regional Security Officer, U.S. Embassy Tel Aviv (BrownPD@State.Gov). To reach OSAC’s Near East team, please email OSACNEA@state.gov.