Israelis Receive Travel Advisory Prior to Passover Vacation
The Counter Terrorism Bureau issued a warning Wednesday, alerting Israelis to refrain from traveling to Sinai and a myriad of other hostile locations over the Passover holiday.
There are currently 33 travel warnings, with particular stress on avoiding traveling to Syria, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Afghanistan, Sudan, Algeria, Malaysia and Indonesia.
The Bureau said that "according to our information, there continues to exist threats of revenge against Israelis abroad, especially businessmen and former government officials,” stressing the possibility of “killings and kidnappings.”
"Hizbullah blames Israel publicly for the death of Imad Mughniyeh,” referring to the terror group’s late military commander who was allegedly assassinated in February 2008, adding that “Iran blames Israel for the deaths of eight publicly nuclear scientists."
Israelis, who often take the opportunity to travel abroad during Passover, are warned to be vigilant and to completely avoid staying in the locations in which travel warnings apply.
A similar travel advisory was issued in August of 2012, with the United States similarly warning citizens against traveling to Sinai.
“There have been multiple kidnappings in the Sinai of U.S. citizens over the past four years, and kidnappings of foreign tourists in the Sinai have increased since January 2012,” the travel advisory warned.
“Overland travel from Israel to the Sinai in particular is strongly discouraged,” it added.
Also particularly dangerous is Djerba, Tunisia, where Israelis have gathered in the past for the Jewish festival of Lag B' Omer, the Jewish holiday that commemorates the death of Shimon Bar Yochai, a second-century rabbinical sage.
During the festival, Israelis and Europeans gather at the island's Ghriba synagogue, the oldest in Africa, where they pray and light candles.
The pilgrimage attracted a peak number of 10,000 pilgrims in 2000, but was cancelled last year due to the charging political environment caused by the “Arab Spring” and less than 100 made the journey.
Tunisia's Jewish community once numbered 100,000 people. However fear, poverty and discrimination prompted several waves of emigration after the creation of Israel in 1948. Many left after the Six Day War and went to either Israel or France.