For urgent consular assistance call
+61 2 6261 3305 from overseas
1300 555 135 from within Australia
For information about COVID-19, read our article.
Do you or someone you know need help?
26 March 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted global travel to an unprecedented extent.
A travel ban is in place for all Australians. You will not be able to depart Australia to travel overseas.
If you’re trying to get home, and can still book commercial flights, do so as soon as possible.
If you cannot leave or prefer to stay where you are, make plans to remain for an extended period. Ensure you have a safe place to stay, follow the advice of local authorities and minimise your risk of exposure to COVID-19. Stay in touch with family and friends so they know you are safe.
Our network of embassies and consular posts around the world will provide you with up to date local advice and support throughout this difficult period. We also encourage you to subscribe to Smartraveller for the latest advice.
For more information see our Coronavirus (COVID-19) – information for Australian travellers page.
For urgent consular assistance contact:
For non-urgent inquiries, email email@example.com
Do you or someone you know need help?
For urgent consular assistance call
+61 2 6261 3305 from overseas
1300 555 135 from within Australia
For information about COVID-19, read our article.
Do you or someone you know need help?
We now advise you to:
Do not travel to Israel and Palestinian Territories overall.
Do not travel overseas due to the health risks from the COVID-19 pandemic and the significant disruptions to global travel.
Full travel advice: Safety
Full travel advice: Health
Full travel advice: Local laws
Full travel advice: Travel
The security situation in the region remains unpredictable and could deteriorate with little or no warning.
There's a high threat of civil unrest. International events and political developments, such as the announcement by the United States on 28 January 2020 of its Middle East peace plan may lead to protests and demonstrations, which can turn violent. Be alert, avoid demonstrations and monitor the media for the latest updates.
On January 3, 2020, an Iranian senior commander and Iraqi paramilitary leaders were killed in a US airstrike near Baghdad International Airport. On 8 January, Iran fired missiles against two military bases in Iraq. Iranian authorities have also acknowledged responsibility for the shooting down of a Ukrainian International Airlines flight shortly after take-off from Tehran on 8 January.
There have been a number of violent clashes between Palestinians and Israeli security forces around Temple Mount (Haram al-Sharif).
Since early 2018 tension has grown between Israel and Iran. This mostly relates to events in Syria. There have been several military clashes. This includes missiles being fired towards Istraeli controlled territory.
Tensions remain high and more conflict is possible.
During military operations, the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) may declare an area a closed military zone.
If authorities find civilians in this zone, they can arrest, detain or deport them.
Local city government websites keep lists of public bomb shelters and other emergency information.
The IDF Home Front Command has advice on emergency planning and how to deal with rocket attacks. Check the IDF Home Front Command website.
The security situation in the West Bank is unpredictable. This includes in Bethlehem, Hebron, Jericho and Ramallah.
Don't enter closed military zones, even where these have been in place for a long time, such in as the old city of Hebron.
Tensions and violence between Israelis and Palestinians continue in the West Bank.
Stone-throwing and violence are common, especially around settlements and military checkpoints.
Tensions can arise at short notice. Violence happens in tourist areas.
There's an especially high rate of violence in and around Hebron.
Large and sometimes violent demonstrations have happened in the West Bank. Foreigners have been injured.
Israeli authorities may close crossings to the West Bank on local holidays or due to security incidents.
Israeli security operations happen in the West Bank. This can include military action.
Authorities impose strict security measures after terrorist attacks. These may severely affect the movement of Palestinians, including Australian dual nationals.
If you're in the West Bank during military action or civil unrest, stay in a safe place indoors. Monitor the media for information.
Contact the Australian Embassy in Tel Aviv or the Australian Representative Office in Ramallah for assistance. See Local contacts
Many rockets and mortars have been fired from Gaza into Israel. Some have landed in populated areas.
March and November 2019 saw several long-range rocket attacks into central Israel.
November 2018, May 2019 and February 2020 saw significant rounds of rocket fire into parts of southern Israel.
During the most significant military operation in Gaza in July-August 2014, more than 4,000 rockets were fired from Gaza into Israel.
Similar incidents and Israeli military responses are expected.
More conflict between Israel and militants in Gaza would greatly increase risks to your safety and security.
Gaza is extremely dangerous. The security situation is unpredictable. Further Israeli military operations are possible.
The Australian Government may not be able to provide consular assistance in Gaza.
Since late March 2018, widespread demonstrations by Palestinians have happened along the Israel-Gaza border. Demonstrations are more intense on Fridays.
There have been a large number of casualties from clashes between protesters and Israeli security forces. Improvised explosive devices have been found in the border area.
Conflict in Gaza could happen at any time without warning. This includes the firing of rockets from Gaza and responses from the Israeli military.
Authorities have stopped some international media personnel from leaving Gaza.
Large demonstrations and threats to Western interests have happened in Gaza. They are sometimes violent. Foreigners have been injured.
There's a threat of rocket attack and spillover from civil unrest along the Gaza and Israel border.
If you're caught in military action or civil unrest, stay in a safe place indoors. Monitor the media for updates.
Some foreigners have been kidnapped.
The Australian Government's longstanding policy is that it doesn't make payments or concessions to kidnappers.
Israel has a naval blockade in place. Don't join others to try to break the naval blockade.
The Israeli Navy patrols territorial waters and the shared water border zone.
People have tried to break the naval blockade along the coast of Gaza. Their actions caused injury, death, arrest and deportation of foreigners, including Australians.
Cross-border political tensions and unrest create security risks for regions of Israel close to its borders with Egypt, Lebanon and Syria.
Ongoing threats of rocket attack, infiltration attempts, revenge fire and other militant activity happen along the border between Israel and Lebanon. This area is known as the 'Blue Line'.
There's a significant military presence in the area. The security situation could get worse without notice.
On 1 September 2019, Hezbollah and Israel exchanged fire on the border between Lebanon and Israel. Tensions remain high and more conflict is possible, including missles fired towards Israeli territory. An outbreak of conflict between Israel and Hezbollah would significantly increase risks to your safety and security.
There have been security incidents in the southern city of Eilat and the surrounding area near the Gulf of Aqaba. This includes the border crossing with Egypt near Eilat. There have been deaths and injuries.
There's also an ongoing threat of rocket attack in this area.
There has been ongoing conflict on the Syrian side of the border since 2014. Kidnapping has been known to happen near the border.
Parts of Route 98 are sometimes closed because of fighting on the Syrian side of the border.
Sometimes artillery and small-arms fire from Syria land in the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights.
We recommend avoiding all parts of the Golan Heights to the east of Route 98 due to militant activities in Syria.
To stay safe during civil unrest, don't go to any demonstrations, political rallies and large public gatherings.
Check the news and other sources for information on unrest or strikes. Plan your activities to stay away from those areas.
Be extra careful during Jewish and Muslim religious holidays. These include Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur, Sukkot, Pesach and Ramadan.
Stay away from traffic congestion at checkpoints.
In each place you stay, know the emergency procedures. Know what to do when air raid sirens sound and where the closest emergency shelters are.
If you're caught in military action or civil unrest, follow the instructions of local authorities.
Unless told otherwise, stay indoors and monitor the media.
Be prepared to change your travel plans.
If civil unrest affects transport services, contact your airline, travel agent or insurer for help.
Israel continues to be a target of terrorist attacks.
Local and international political developments and events may lead to terrorist attacks.
Attacks could happen anywhere, at any time.
There have been fewer terrorist attacks in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza in recent years. However, terrorist attacks still happen.
Terrorists have attacked buses, public transport hubs and tourist areas. These include the Old City in Jerusalem, Jaffa, Sarona Market and Dizengoff Street in Tel Aviv.
Be alert to possible threats, especially:
Australian Government officials and their families are told not to use public transport in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza. This is because of safety and security concerns. Taxis are an exception.
Militant and terror groups operate in regions of Egypt, Syria and Lebanon that are close to Israel. This makes travel close to borders with those countries dangerous.
There have been several attacks against foreigners, including kidnappings.
When planning your activities reconsider going to places known to be terrorist targets. Think about the level of security provided.
Take care when travelling to a region where there are terrorists, or somewhere that terrorists could target. Have an exit plan in case there's a security incident.
To stay safe:
If there's an attack, leave the area as soon as it's safe.
Terrorism is a threat worldwide.
Public protests and events that draw large groups of people can turn violent. Don't go near demonstrations or large gatherings.
Check the media and other sources for information about planned and possible unrest.
Demonstrations could happen anywhere. They're most likely in and around checkpoints, to/from the West Bank and in and around the Old City in Jerusalem.
Violence can happen at checkpoints, and there are few options to leave the area.
Avoid traffic blockages at checkpoints.
Violent crime, other than terrorism and politically motivated violence, is rare.
But purse snatching, pickpocketing and petty theft can happen.
Theft from vehicles may happen, especially in beachside areas.
Australians have reported thefts from unattended vehicles near tourist sites.
Transport and tour operators don't always follow safety and maintenance standards. This include adventure activities.
If you plan to do a tour or adventure activity:
If proper safety equipment isn't available, use another provider.
Israel, the West Bank and Gaza are in an active earthquake zone.
Flash floods can happen in the Judean Hills and Negev desert in the winter months from November to March.
Sandstorms, dust storms and bushfires happen during the warmer months.
*This advice predates COVID-19 and the Australian Government's travel ban for all Australians.
Get comprehensive travel insurance before you leave. Your policy needs to cover all overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation. The Australian Government won't pay for these costs.
If you're going to high-risk areas, you'll probably need a specialised insurance policy. Most Australian policies won't cover you for travel to high risk areas in Israel, Gaza and the West Bank.
If you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel. This applies to everyone, no matter how healthy and fit you are.
If you're not insured, you may have to pay many 1000s of dollars up-front for medical care.
Consider your physical and mental health before you travel, especially if you have an existing medical condition.
See your doctor or travel clinic to:
Do this at least 8 weeks before you leave.
Not all medication available over the counter or by prescription in Australia is available in other countries. Some may even be considered illegal or a controlled substance, even if prescribed by an Australian doctor.
If you plan to take medication, check if it's legal in Israel, Gaza and the West Bank. Take enough legal medicine for your stay.
Carry a copy of your prescription or a letter from your doctor stating:
Waterborne, foodborne and other infectious diseases can occur. These include:
Serious outbreaks sometimes occur.
To protect yourself from illness:
Get medical advice if you have a fever or diarrhoea.
Cases of West Nile virus (WNV) cases are reported throughout Israel, Gaza and the West Bank. There's no vaccine to prevent it.
To protect yourself against illness:
Measles cases can routinely occur in Israel, with the country currently experiencing an increase in measles activity. Make sure your vaccinations are up-to-date before you travel.
The standard of medical facilities is reasonable in Israel. However, facilities in the West Bank and Gaza are below Australian standards.
If you become seriously ill or injured in the West Bank or Gaza, you may need to be evacuated. Medical evacuation can be very expensive.
Doctors may require up-front payment before they will treat you. Costs can be high.
There's a decompression chamber at Joseph Tal Hospital in Eilat.
You're subject to all local laws and penalties, including those that may appear harsh by Australian standards. Research local laws before travelling.
If you're arrested or jailed, the Australian Government will do what it can to help you under our Consular Services Charter. But we can't get you out of trouble or out of jail.
Penalties for drug offences include jail terms of up to 20 years and large fines.
You must always carry your passport, visa or entry permit as proof of identity in the Palestinian Territories.
It's illegal to photograph police, the military, buildings or places considered 'security sensitive'. This includes military installations and some government offices. If in doubt, get local advice.
The import and use of religious material is strictly controlled. If authorities find this material, they may confiscate it.
Under Palestinian law, authorities may enforce the death penalty for treason, helping an enemy and deliberate killing.
Islamic law applies in Gaza. Drinking alcohol and homosexual acts are prohibited.
Some Australian criminal laws still apply when you're overseas. If you break these laws, you may face prosecution in Australia.
Israel doesn't recognise dual nationality. Israeli citizens must enter and leave on an Israeli passport.
Under Israeli law, you're considered Israeli if at least 1 of your parents is Israeli.
Men and women may need to do military service. To check, consult the nearest embassy or consulate of Israel before you travel.
Australians who currently hold, or used to hold a Palestinian ID card, are considered Palestinian nationals while in the West Bank,Gaza or Israel.
If you're considered Palestinian, you may need to get a Palestinian travel document. Contact an embassy or consulate of Israel for details about entry and exit requirements.
This law limits the consular services we can give if you're arrested or detained.
Get to know local and religious customs. Take care not to offend.
Public displays of affection aren't appropriate at religious sites in Israel. In Gaza and the West Bank, being affectionate in public may offend.
Observe local standards of behaviour when visiting Orthodox Jewish neighbourhoods.
Conservative standards of dress and behaviour apply at holy sites in Jerusalem, and throughout Gaza and the West Bank.
Be respectful when photographing people in Muslim and Orthodox Jewish areas. Ask permission before taking photos of people.
The Jewish Shabbat or Sabbath happens from sunset Friday until sunset Saturday. It's closely observed in Orthodox Jewish areas in Israel.
During this time of rest in Orthodox neighbourhoods, driving and using electricity is restricted. Using a mobile phone or camera on the Sabbath is likely to offend.
Public access to these neighbourhoods is usually restricted on the Sabbath. Don't drive in these areas.
The Islamic holiday month of Ramadan is expected to begin on or around 23 April 2020. Respect religious and cultural customs and laws at this time.
Avoid eating, drinking or smoking in public or in front of people who are fasting.
Unmarried and same-sex couples are not allowed to live together in Gaza or the West Bank. They're not allowed to share hotel accommodation either.
Make sure you meet all entry and exit conditions. If you don't, the Australian Government can't help you.
If despite our advice you choose to travel to Israel as a tourist for less than 3 months, you generally won't need a visa.
For longer stays, you'll need to arrange a visa before you travel.
Entry and exit conditions can change at short notice. For details about visas, security checks, currency, customs and quarantine regulations:
If you're in Israel and wish to leave, do so as soon as possible by commercial means. Follow the Australian Embassy on social media for updates on flight options leaving Israel. See Local Contacts section for link.
To limit the spread of COVID−19, Israel and the Palestinian Authority have introduced additional travel and movement restrictions.
If you're travelling despite our advice, you'll be denied entry into Israel if you're not an Israeli citizen or resident. Exceptions may apply for those whose “lives are based in Israel”.
If you arrive and are unable to show you can maintain quarantine conditions at your residence or in another place, you'll be quarantined for 14 days in a designated isolation facility.
Israel has imposed significant internal restrictions. You can only leave your residence in very limited circumstances. Public gatherings are generally forbidden. All non-essential businesses are closed. You must wear a protective mask in public. Public transport has been significantly reduced. Intercity trains and buses have stopped. You may not be able to enter or exit communities with high infection rates. It is your responsibility to know and follow these restrictions. There are penalties for failing to comply.
The Palestinian Authority has extended the state of emergency. All education facilities, tourist and religious sites, and most restaurants, cafes and hotels are closed. Foreign visitors are not permitted to enter or leave the West Bank, and strict travel restrictions apply between Palestinian cities. A number of cities in the West Bank have additional movement restrictions in place. The authorities in Gaza have closed Gaza’s two entry and exit points. A number of cities in the West Bank have additional movement restrictions in place. The authorities in Gaza have closed Gaza’s two entry and exit points
For the latest information on local restrictions, check the Israeli Ministry of Health’s website (https://govextra.gov.il/ministry-of-health/corona/corona-virus-en/). You can also follow the Australian Embassy and Australian Representative Office on social media (see Local contacts).
Further restrictions may be imposed. Check with your airline or tour operator, monitor local media and follow the advice of local authorities.
Israeli authorities can subject you to a security and police record check if you're entering Israel, Gaza or the West Bank.
Authorities may refuse you entry or exit without a reason.
Security officials may question you at length. They may also search your bags when you arrive and depart.
If you're travelling to protest against Israeli policies, authorities may refuse your entry. You will be returned to the country where you boarded. This includes if you arrive by boat.
Authorities can deny you entry if you have association with, or belong to, an organisation that has called for a boycott of Israel or Israeli settlements.
We can't intervene if you don't meet entry or exit requirements.
You'll get an entry card instead of an entry stamp on arrival.
Keep this card with your passport until you leave. The card is evidence of your legal entry into Israel. Authorities may ask for it during your stay.
If you plan to travel to other countries after Israel, read the travel advice for each country. Some countries may refuse you entry if:
Travel restrictions may apply to some visitors in Israel and the West Bank. There's no clear information about who may have these restrictions.
If you enter Israel via the Allenby Bridge crossing and say you're going to the West Bank, you may have your passport stamped 'Palestinian Authority Only'.
If you get this stamp, you will be restricted to the West Bank and not allowed to enter Israel or Jerusalem.
Airport officials may ask you to sign a form that stops you entering the West Bank.
In these situations, the Australian Embassy has limited ability to step in.
If you decide to travel to Gaza despite our advice, know that the security situation is unpredictable and dangerous.
Exiting Gaza is difficult and unpredictable.
There are only 2 land crossings into and out of Gaza. Israel controls Erez. Egypt controls Rafah.
Both crossings may be closed or have highly restricted access for long periods.
You may not be able to leave Gaza even if you have valid entry and exit permits.
The ability of the Australian Government to step in is extremely limited.
Israeli authorities control the Erez crossing into northern Gaza from Israel.
You must have permission from the Israeli authorities to use the Erez crossing.
The Israeli authorities rarely grant permission for people to leave Gaza through the Erez crossing.
Australian-Palestinians with a Palestinian ID or passport can contact the Palestinian General Authority of Civil Affairs (Arabic) for help.
Egyptian authorities control the Rafah crossing into Gaza from Egypt.
You must get permission from Egyptian authorities to enter and exit Gaza using the Rafah border crossing with Egypt.
Regulations and restrictions around the border between Egypt and Gaza can change.
People who enter Gaza through this border crossing must leave the same way.
The crossing may open or close at short notice. Once it has closed, you can't leave Gaza through this crossing.
You may be delayed in Gaza for an long time while awaiting approval to return to Egypt. You could be waiting months for the crossing to open.
Some countries won't let you enter unless your passport is valid for 6 months after you plan to leave that country. This can apply even if you're just transiting or stopping over.
Some foreign governments and airlines apply the rule inconsistently. Travellers can receive conflicting advice from different sources.
You can end up stranded if your passport is not valid for more than 6 months.
The Australian Government does not set these rules. Check your passport's expiry date before you travel. If you're not sure it'll be valid for long enough, consider getting a new passport.
Your passport is a valuable document. It's attractive to people who may try to use your identity to commit crimes.
Some people may try to trick you into giving them your passport. Always keep it in a safe place.
If your passport is lost or stolen, tell the Australian Government as soon as possible:
Israel's currency is the Israeli Shekel (ILS).
You can change Australian dollars to shekels in major centres.
ATMs are widely available.
When arriving or leaving Israel, you must declare amounts of $US10,000 or more, or the equivalent in another currency. This covers all forms of currency, not only cash.
If you don't declare your currency on entry or exit from Israel, authorities could arrest or fine you.
When deciding on travel around Israel, the West Bank and Gaza, consider the general security situation.
Also consider specific risks to your safety and security in different places.
You can drive in Israel for up to 1 year with a valid Australian driver's licence.
Security checkpoints may be set up or closed at any time. This often happens without warning throughout Israel, Gaza and the West Bank.
You could face delays or trouble passing through checkpoints.
Israeli car insurance does not usually cover travel into Palestinian-controlled areas of the West Bank. This includes Bethlehem, Jericho and Ramallah.
Separate insurance can often be arranged for travel to these places.
Check if your travel insurance policy covers you when travelling by motorbike.
Only ride a motorcycle if you're:
By law, you and your passenger must wear a helmet when riding a motorbike.
Taxis are generally safe and reliable in Israel.
Take care when using public transport.
Due to safety and security concerns, Australian Government officials and their families are advised not to use public transport, except taxis.
This applies in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza.
Don't travel by sea to the coast of Gaza. See Safety
DFAT doesn't provide information on the safety of individual commercial airlines or flight paths.
Check Israel's air safety profile with the Aviation Safety Network.
Depending on what you need, contact your:
For criminal issues, call 100.
Always get a police report when you report a crime.
Your insurer should have a 24-hour emergency number.
Contact your provider with any complaints about tourist services or products.
Read the Consular Services Charter for what the Australian Government can and can't do to help you overseas.
For consular assistance, contact:
Discount Bank Tower
23 Yehuda Halevi Street (corner Herzl Street)
Tel Aviv 65136, Israel
Phone: (+972 3) 693 5000
Fax: (+972 3) 693 5002
Facebook: Australia in Israel
Check the Embassy website for details about opening hours and any temporary closures.
7th floor, Trust Building
48 Othman Ben Affan Street
El Bireh Ramallah West Bank
Phone: (+972 2) 242 5301
Fax: (+972 2) 242 8290
Check the Australian Representative Office website for opening hours.
In a consular emergency, if you can't contact an embassy, call the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on:
Be the first to know official government advice when travelling.