Israel, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip
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Israel - Exercise a high degree of caution
Exercise a high degree of caution in Israel as the security situation may change rapidly.
Gaza Strip - AVOID ALL TRAVEL
Avoid all travel to the Gaza Strip, due to :
- continuing conflict between Israel and Gaza Strip-based terrorists, such as Hamas
- the possible resumption of armed hostilities
If you travel to the Gaza Strip, you may be unable to leave.
West Bank - Avoid non-essential travel
Avoid non-essential travel to the West Bank, excluding Ramallah, Jericho and Bethlehem, due to the unpredictable security situation.
Border with Gaza strip - Avoid non-essential travel
Avoid non-essential travel to the Israeli border with the Gaza Strip, due to the risk of rocket and mortar fire, gunfire and military activity.
Border with Syria - Avoid all travel
Avoid all travel to the parts of the Golan Heights that border Syria, that is, east of Highway 98, due to increased militant and Israel Defense Forces activity. This risk level excludes of the urban communities of Buq’ata, Majdal Shams and Mas’ada, where you should exercise a high degree of caution.
Border between Israel and Egypt - Avoid all travel
Avoid all travel to areas within 5 km of the border between Israel and Egypt, as the security situation could deteriorate rapidly. This includes Highway 10 and portions of Highway 12 near the border. This risk level excludes the town of Eilat, where you should exercise a high degree of caution.
Border with Lebanon - Avoid all travel
Avoid all travel to within 500 metres of the border with Lebanon, due to military activity.
Jerusalem - Exercise a high degree of caution
Exercise a high degree of caution in Jerusalem due to protests and clashes between protestors and local authorities in East Jerusalem and parts of the Old City, and politically motivated attacks and violence throughout the city.
Bethlehem, Jericho and Ramallah - Exercise a high degree of caution
Exercise a high degree of caution in the West Bank cities of Bethlehem, Jericho and Ramallah, as the security situation can change rapidly.
Safety and security
Clashes resulting in casualties have been increasingly taking place in the Gaza Strip. Hostilities between the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and terrorist groups, including Hamas, in the Gaza Strip could resume and the security situation could deteriorate with little or no notice.
- Remain aware of your surroundings;
- avoid large gatherings;
- stay informed of the security situation;
- monitor the media for information on ongoing protests; and
- follow instructions from the IDF’s Home Front Command.
The Government of Canada’s ability to provide consular services to Canadians in the Gaza Strip is limited.
The security situation along the Mediterranean coast of the Gaza Strip remains dangerous. Since May 2010, Israeli security forces have intercepted attempts to breach Israel’s naval blockade. These incidents have resulted in deaths, injuries, arrests and deportations. You are strongly advised against participating in any attempt to break the naval blockade. Canadian officials may not be able to provide you with consular assistance if you choose to do so. Participants may be detained by Israeli officials prior to their deportation. In cases of deportation, local authorities are not obliged to notify the Canadian embassy in Tel Aviv nor the Representative Office of Canada in Ramallah.
Border areas with Israel are particularly dangerous.
Rocket and mortar launches, gunfire and military activity occur in the areas of Israel surrounding the Gaza Strip with little or no warning. Cities and towns within 40 km of the Gaza Strip, such as Ashdod and Beersheva, are most likely to suffer material damages and casualties.
Border crossings to and from the Gaza Strip are controlled by Israeli and Egyptian authorities. They are subject to unexpected, sometimes long-term closures. You may not be able to exit the Gaza Strip even if you are in possession of valid entry and exit permits.
There is a high risk of kidnapping in the Gaza Strip and foreigners may be targeted. Maintain a high level of vigilance at all times.
Border with Syria
Do not travel east of Highway 98, except to the urban communities of Buq’ata, Mas’ada and Majdal Shams, and do not approach the Israeli barrier in the Golan Heights that borders Syria.
Increased militant activity close to the Israeli barrier in the Golan Heights, including the use of improvised explosive devices, and attempts to penetrate the barrier from the Syrian side, make the area extremely dangerous.
Cross-border gunfire could occur without warning. As well, the IDF conduct military operations in the area.
Border between Israel and Egypt
The security situation could deteriorate rapidly, specifically on Highway 10 between the Sayarim Valley and the Kerem Shalom border crossing, and on Highway 12 between Eilat and the Netafim border crossing.
The highways are subject to closure by Israeli authorities without warning. Attacks occur and the area is dangerous. Some areas are not properly fenced.
Be particularly aware of your surroundings and do not venture close to the border. Monitor local media to determine where military activity is occurring and avoid these areas.
Border with Lebanon
Israel and Lebanon have not agreed on an international border. The United Nations enforces the “Blue Line,” which separates the two countries but has not been fully demarcated. Areas adjacent to the Blue Line are often heavily mined. The areas of Ghajar, Kfar Shouba Hills and Shebaa Farms are inaccessible and the border with Lebanon is closed.
Protests and demonstrations have become common in East Jerusalem and parts of the Old City, many of which lead to clashes between protestors and local authorities, particularly at the Temple Mount (to Jews) or the Haram al-Sharif (to Muslims) on Fridays. Jerusalem has also seen an increased number of attacks targeting civilians.
There is increased police presence in some areas of Jerusalem, and security forces are on heightened alert. Exercise a high degree of caution at all times. Avoid all demonstrations and large gatherings, as they may turn violent without notice. Monitor news reports and follow the instructions of local authorities.
During periods of imposed movement restrictions and on religious holidays, exacerbated tensions can lead to security incidents.
- Avoid travel to the Old City during periods of exacerbated tensions
- Travel in groups and dress conservatively at all times
Demonstrations can occur in religious neighbourhoods and sometimes result in clashes between residents and the local police. Traffic may also be disrupted.
West Bank (excluding Bethlehem, Jericho and Ramallah)
Several West Bank cities have experienced violent demonstrations and civil unrest, which have led to clashes between Israeli and Palestinian Authority security services. The situation remains unpredictable.
Maintain a high level of vigilance and personal security awareness, monitor local developments and follow the advice of local authorities.
Tensions in some areas of the West Bank are high. Violent clashes, demonstrations and military operations occur. There are periodic Israeli security operations targeting individuals in cities and villages throughout the West Bank, particularly in:
- refugee camps
It is not possible to travel without passing through multiple Israeli military checkpoints, where there may be a greater threat of violent confrontations. Areas in the vicinity of the barrier separating Israel and the West Bank are particularly high-risk. Travel only during the daytime and do not stay in the West Bank overnight.
Clashes may occur between Israeli settlers and Palestinians.
If you are travelling to the West Bank despite this advice, ensure that you have appropriate security measures in place to protect yourself. You should also have alternate travel arrangements in case of a rapid deterioration in the security situation.
- Carry your passport at all times
- Register and maintain contact with the Representative Office of Canada in Ramallah
- Keep a low profile
- Monitor local news reports and follow the advice of local authorities
Bethlehem, Jericho and Ramallah (West Bank)
Although violence is not as common in Bethlehem, Jericho and Ramallah, there have been violent incidents, including clashes involving Palestinians, the IDF and Palestinian Authority security forces.
The potential for political demonstrations and military incursions is high, and heightened security measures have been put in place.
- Exercise a high degree of caution
- Avoid areas where demonstrations and large gatherings are taking place
- Follow the instructions of local authorities
- Monitor local media
Cities across Israel may be targeted by rocket fire from the Gaza Strip.
Rockets fired from the Gaza Strip have reached Hadera, Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, and have also struck close to Haifa, located approximately 150 km north of the Gaza Strip border.
Rocket fire from Egypt, Lebanon and Syria has targeted, respectively, Eilat, northern Israel and the Golan Heights. Follow safety advice and instructions from the IDF’s Home Front Command.
Regional safety instructions - Home Front Command
While hostilities between Israel and Hezbollah forces were suspended following the 2006 conflict, stability in the northern region of Israel could deteriorate rapidly and without notice.
Rockets fired from Lebanon into northern Israel have reached Hadera, Haifa, Kiryat Shmona, Nazareth, Shlomi and other northern cities. There is strong potential for future incidents.
Terrorist incidents causing numerous deaths and injuries have occurred in a variety of locations in:
- Tel Aviv
- other major populated centres, including at tourist sites, on public transportation and in other public areas
Foreigners have been affected but have never been directly targeted. There is potential for further violence. Incidents are unpredictable and there is a strong risk that you could find yourself in the middle of a dangerous situation.
Politically motivated violence
Politically motivated violence has occurred throughout Israel, Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
Previous incidents resulting in injury and death include:
- random stabbings
- vehicle ramming
- stone throwing at vehicles
Expect tighter security measures and an increased security presence in Jerusalem’s Old City, in East Jerusalem and throughout Israel.
Maintain a high level of vigilance and personal security awareness at all times.
Police and security forces are on heightened alert.
Exercise a high degree of caution when using public transportation and after incidents of violence, at public funerals and during religious holidays.
Following incidents of politically motivated violence, the Government of Israel may establish checkpoints without warning. Avoid crossing checkpoints on foot, or in a Palestinian public bus.
Exercise caution in public places, such as open markets and bus stations, stay informed of the security situation, monitor local news reports and follow the advice of local authorities.
The crime rate is moderate in Israel but low in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
Vehicle theft is a serious problem. Always lock car doors and keep windows closed.
Thefts occur on public beaches.
Ensure that your wallet, money and valuables are out of sight, particularly in large crowds and public markets.
Violent crime is rare.
Planned and unplanned demonstrations regularly occur in Israel, Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Exercise particular caution if demonstrations take place around areas such as settlements, checkpoints or military zones.
- Avoid areas where demonstrations and large gatherings are taking place
- Follow the instructions of local authorities
- Monitor local media for information on ongoing demonstrations
More about mass gatherings (large-scale events)
Live landmines are present in certain areas, including parts of the West Bank and along Israel’s borders. Some minefields have not been clearly marked or fenced.
Walk only on established roads or trails.
Exercise a high degree of caution when using public transportation, as terrorist and politically motivated violence has occurred (see Terrorism above). There is a risk of traffic fatalities due to erratic driving habits and frequent accidents.
West Bank and Gaza Strip
The use of Israeli public buses in the West Bank (also known as “settlement buses”) and in Israel, other than the East Jerusalem Palestinian bus system and the Jerusalem Light Rail Train isn’t recommended.
Many of the roads in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank are of poor quality. During the winter months, precipitation can cause driving conditions to deteriorate and may result in road closures
Access to the West Bank is controlled by the IDF through a series of military checkpoints. Even if you have a valid visa and authorization to enter the West Bank, there is no guarantee that the vehicle will be allowed to pass through security checkpoints. You may also be stopped for security checks by Palestinian Authority police within their jurisdiction. If you are planning to enter the West Bank with a rented vehicle, verify your insurance coverage and permissions with your car rental agency.
We do not make assessments on the compliance of foreign domestic airlines with international safety standards.
General information about foreign domestic airlines
Travellers using Israeli airlines should expect enhanced security screening procedures, which may result in delays.
General safety information
Carry your passport at all times and register with the Embassy of Canada to Israel in Tel Aviv.
There are frequent disruptions in telephone, power and water services in the Gaza Strip.
Every country or territory decides who can enter or exit through its borders. The Government of Canada cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet your destination’s entry or exit requirements.
We have obtained the information on this page from the authorities of Israel, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. It can, however, change at any time.
Verify this information with foreign diplomatic missions and consulates in Canada.
Entry requirements vary depending on the type of passport you use for travel.
Before you travel, check with your transportation company about passport requirements. Its rules on passport validity may be more stringent than the country’s entry rules.
Regular Canadian passport
Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months beyond the date you expect to leave Israel, the West Bank or the Gaza Strip.
Passport for official travel
Different entry rules may apply.
Other travel documents
Different entry rules may apply when travelling with a temporary passport or an emergency travel document. Before you leave, check with the closest diplomatic mission for your destination.
Tourist visa: Not required for stays up to 90 days
Business visa: Not required
Student visa: Not required
Work visa: Required (must be arranged by Israeli employer)
The Government of Israel issues an entry card on arrival.
The Government of Israel tightly controls checkpoint crossings within the West Bank and to the Gaza Strip.
Security-related closures can severely restrict entry to and exit from these areas, even for persons possessing valid entry and exit permits. Limited hours of operation, unannounced travel restrictions and extended closures often result in large crowds gathering, which may elevate risks to personal safety.
The Canadian embassy’s ability to intervene may be limited in these situations.
Canadians who were born outside Israel to a mother or father who is an Israeli citizen may be considered citizens of Israel. Israeli law requires Israeli citizens to enter and exit the country on an Israeli passport, and to show proof of military status upon arrival. If you are unsure of your Israeli citizenship and/or your military status, verify it through the Embassy of Israel to Canada or an Israeli consulate before leaving Canada.
If you are a Canadian of Palestinian descent, be aware of border control policies affecting entry to and exit from Israel, Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip prior to travel, as you may be subject to Government of Israel travel regulations for Palestinians. Anyone registered in the Government of Israel’s West Bank or Gaza Strip population registry as a resident of the West Bank or the Gaza Strip is not permitted to enter Israel via Ben Gurion International Airport and must do so only via Jordan at the Allenby (King Hussein) Bridge, near Jericho, Israel. (Canadians of Palestinian descent born in the West Bank or Gaza after 1967 will be registered in the Government of Israel’s West Bank or Gaza Strip population registry.)
This policy may also be applied to Canadians born in Arab states or those holding dual Canadian-Arab state citizenship. In these cases, travellers will be asked to enter and exit Israel on their Arab passport.
Travel to and from West Bank
The West Bank is divided into three administrative divisions, which fall under varying degrees of administrative and security control between Palestinian and Israeli authorities.
Israel controls entry to and exit from the West Bank. In some circumstances, you may be denied entry into the West Bank by Israel. Contact Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs or the closest Israeli embassy for more information.
Ensure that you have the proper and up-to-date identification, travel documentation and authorization if you are travelling to or residing in the West Bank.
Travel to and from Gaza Strip
Entry to and exit from the Gaza Strip is severely restricted.
All border crossings have been closed to the general public since June 2007.
Palestinian-Canadians should note that they are permitted to enter and exit the Gaza Strip only through the Rafah border crossing into Egypt, when it is open. Non-Palestinians are generally not permitted to use this crossing.
Travel to and from Jordan
Entry visas are available at the Arava (Wadi al ’Arabah in Arabic) crossing near Eilat in the south and at the Jordan River (Sheikh Hussein Bridge) crossing near Beit She’an in the north.
Canadian passport holders may also cross at the Allenby (King Hussein) Bridge crossing near Jericho. Visas must be obtained before the date of crossing as they cannot be obtained at the crossing point.
Travel advice for Jordan
Canadians have been denied entry into Lebanon, Syria and other countries because their passports bore an Israeli visa, an Israeli border stamp or an Egyptian or Jordanian border stamp issued by an office bordering Israel (such a stamp would indicate that the traveller entered from Israel).
Health entry requirements
Israeli officials may screen passengers arriving on international flights for the H1N1 flu virus.
Other entry requirements
Proof of a return ticket is required.
Learn about potential entry requirements related to yellow fever (vaccines section).
Children and travel
Learn about travel with children.
- Measles in Asia - March 12, 2019
Be sure that your routine vaccines, as per your province or territory, are up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.
Some of these vaccines include: measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, varicella (chickenpox), influenza and others.
Vaccines to Consider
You may be at risk for these vaccine-preventable diseases while travelling in this country. Talk to your travel health professional about which ones are right for you.
Hepatitis A is a disease of the liver spread through contaminated food and water or contact with an infected person. All those travelling to regions with a risk of hepatitis A infection should get vaccinated.
Hepatitis B is a disease of the liver spread through blood or other bodily fluids. Travellers who may be exposed (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment, sharing needles, tattooing, acupuncture or occupational exposure) should get vaccinated.
Seasonal influenza occurs worldwide. The flu season usually runs from November to April in the northern hemisphere, between April and October in the southern hemisphere and year round in the tropics. Influenza (flu) is caused by a virus spread from person to person when they cough or sneeze or by touching objects and surfaces that have been contaminated with the virus. Get the flu shot.
Outbreaks of measles are ongoing.
Measles is a highly contagious viral disease that can cause serious complications for some people.
You are at increased risk of measles infection if you have not had the illness or if you are not up to date on your vaccinations.
Yellow Fever - Country Entry Requirements
Yellow fever is a disease caused by a flavivirus from the bite of an infected mosquito.
Travellers get vaccinated either because it is required to enter a country or because it is recommended for their protection.
- There is no risk of yellow fever in this country.
Country Entry Requirement*
- Proof of vaccination is not required to enter this country.
- Vaccination is not recommended.
About Yellow Fever
Yellow Fever Vaccination Centres in Canada
* It is important to note that country entry requirements may not reflect your risk of yellow fever at your destination. It is recommended that you contact the nearest diplomatic or consular office of the destination(s) you will be visiting to verify any additional entry requirements.
Food and Water-borne Diseases
Travellers to any destination in the world can develop travellers' diarrhea from consuming contaminated water or food.
In some areas in Western Asia, food and water can also carry diseases like cholera, hepatitis A, schistosomiasis and typhoid. Practise safe food and water precautions while travelling in Western Asia. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!
Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease that typically causes fever, nausea, vomiting, muscle pain, skin rash and eye infection. The disease is spread through direct contact with urine from infected animals or with urine-contaminated water, soil, or food.
Leptospirosis is a risk in this country, especially when participating in freshwater activities (e.g., swimming, rafting), being in areas with poor sanitation, or having close contact with animals, especially rodents. Most travellers are at low risk. There is no vaccine available for leptospirosis. Travellers at high risk may wish to consult a health care professional about pre-exposure antibiotics.
- Travellers' diarrhea is the most common illness affecting travellers. It is spread from eating or drinking contaminated food or water.
- Risk of developing travellers' diarrhea increases when travelling in regions with poor standards of hygiene and sanitation. Practise safe food and water precautions.
- The most important treatment for travellers' diarrhea is rehydration (drinking lots of fluids). Carry oral rehydration salts when travelling.
Typhoid is a bacterial infection spread by contaminated food or water. Risk is higher among children, travellers going to rural areas, travellers visiting friends and relatives or those travelling for a long period of time.
Travellers visiting regions with a risk typhoid, especially those exposed to places with poor sanitation should speak to a health care professional about vaccination.
Insects and Illness
In some areas in Western Asia, certain insects carry and spread diseases like chikungunya, Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever, dengue fever, leishmaniasis, malaria, Rift Valley fever, and West Nile virus.
Travellers are advised to take precautions against bites.
There is no risk of malaria in this country.
Animals and Illness
Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, monkeys, snakes, rodents, birds, and bats. Certain infections found in some areas in Western Asia, like avian influenza and rabies, can be shared between humans and animals.
Crowded conditions can increase your risk of certain illnesses. Remember to wash your hands often and practice proper cough and sneeze etiquette to avoid colds, the flu and other illnesses.
Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV are spread through blood and bodily fluids; practise safer sex.
Medical services and facilities
Modern medical care is available in Israel and Jerusalem. Standards are generally comparable to those in Canada, but they are lower in several hospitals in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. Medical treatment can be very expensive, and payment in advance is often required.
There is a decompression chamber at Yoseftal Medical Center in Eilat.
Make sure you get travel insurance that includes coverage for medical evacuation and hospital stays.
Travel health and safety
Keep in Mind...
The decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the traveller. The traveller is also responsible for his or her own personal safety.
Be prepared. Do not expect medical services to be the same as in Canada. Pack a travel health kit, especially if you will be travelling away from major city centres.
Laws and culture
You must abide by local laws.
Learn about what you should do and how we can help if you are arrested or detained abroad.
Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs, as well as drinking and driving, are severe. Convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and fines.
Ask permission before photographing people in Muslim or Orthodox Jewish areas. Do not take photographs of military or police personnel or installations.
You must declare and register video cameras and laptop computers, among other items, with Israeli authorities on entry to ensure that they can be exported with you on departure. If you are carrying these items, you must go through the red zone at customs.
Security officials at Ben Gurion International Airport may prohibit you from carrying a laptop computer in the passenger cabin on international flights from Israel. Laptops are frequently sent separately to their destinations. Be aware that the equipment may be lost or damaged; consider whether you need to travel with a laptop computer when departing from Ben Gurion International Airport.
Dual citizenship is legally recognized in Israel.
If you are a Canadian citizen, but also a citizen of Israel, our ability to offer you consular services may be limited while you're there. You may also be subject to different entry/exit requirements.
General information for travellers with dual citizenship
The Palestinian Authority recognizes dual citizenship. However, Canadian officials may be limited in their ability to provide you with consular services if local authorities consider you a Palestinian citizen.
You should travel using your Canadian passport and present yourself as Canadian to foreign authorities at all times to minimize this risk, unless there are legal requirements to use Palestinian travel documents, for example to enter and exit the country
Religious and social traditions
Dress conservatively, behave discreetly and respect religious and social traditions to avoid offending local sensitivities, especially when visiting religious sites.
Use common sense and discretion in dress and behaviour, particularly in Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Assaults on visitors travelling in cars on Shabbat (Friday sundown to Saturday sundown) or who are immodestly dressed have occurred in Jerusalem’s Old City and ultra-Orthodox Jewish neighbourhoods.
During periods of religious holidays, such as Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year), Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement), Pesach (Passover) and Ramadan (see below), stay informed of the security situation, follow the advice of authorities, respect local customs and monitor local news reports for changes to checkpoint and border-crossing hours of operation.
During the lunar month of Ramadan (the ninth month of the Muslim calendar), refrain from drinking, eating and smoking in public between sunrise and sunset in the Gaza Strip, the West Bank and East Jerusalem. In 2019, Ramadan is expected to begin on May 6. If you are travelling to these regions, monitor the news regularly for changes to checkpoint and border-crossing hours of operation. If you are transiting through Palestinian neighbourhoods, note that traffic congestion can increase considerably during the pre-sunset hours during Ramadan.
The work week is from Sunday to Friday in Israel and Jerusalem, and from Sunday to Thursday in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
Common-law relationships are not recognized.
The Gaza Strip’s law prohibits sexual acts between individuals of the same sex. Other related offences include being in a same-sex marriage.
LGBTQ2 travellers should carefully consider the risks of travelling to the Gaza Strip.
General safety information and advice for LGBTQ2 travellers abroad
Vehicles with Palestinian licence plates are not permitted to enter Israel.
You should carry an International Driving Permit.
The currency is the new Israeli Shekel (ILS).
Credit cards are not widely accepted in the Gaza Strip.
The Jordanian dinar (JOD) is widely accepted throughout the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
ATMs are available, but may not accept Canadian cards.
Natural disasters and climate
Israel, Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip are located in an active seismic zone. There have been no major earth tremors in recent years.
Sandstorms occur in spring and summer.
Flooding is common during the winter and may result in road closures.
In case of emergency, dial:
- police: 100
- medical assistance: 101
- firefighters: 102
Tel Aviv - Embassy of Canada
Ramallah - Representative Office of Canada
For emergency consular assistance, call the the Representative Office of Canada in Ramallah or the Embassy of Canada to Israel, in Tel Aviv, and follow the instructions. At any time, you may also contact the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa.
The decision to travel is your choice and you are responsible for your personal safety abroad. The Government of Canada takes the safety and security of Canadians abroad very seriously and provides credible and timely information in its Travel Advice to enable you to make well-informed decisions regarding your travel abroad. In the event of a large-scale emergency, every effort will be made to provide assistance. However, there may be constraints that will limit the ability of the Government of Canada to provide services.
See Large-scale emergencies abroad for more information.
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