Event: Security Alert
As security incidents often take place without warning, U.S. citizens are strongly encouraged to remain vigilant and take appropriate steps to increase their security awareness. The security environment is complex and can change quickly depending on the political situation and recent events.
During the high holiday period (September 25 through October 17), there will be increased security, road closures, long lines, and heavy traffic congestion.
Violent clashes between Palestinians and Israelis have occurred in some parts of Jerusalem and surrounding areas. Violent acts have resulted in death and injury to bystanders, including U.S. citizens. The Department of State advises U.S. citizens to exercise caution in the Old City, particularly around the Damascus, Lion’s, and Herod’s gates. Damascus Gate remains off limits to U.S. government employees and their family members.
In response to this general threat, Israeli Security Forces (ISF) will be deployed in heavier than usual numbers throughout Israel, but mainly concentrated in Jerusalem near the Old City area. U.S. citizens traveling or touring during this period should expect impromptu roadblocks, inspection and screening areas, and road closures.
Beginning the evening of September 24, the below closures and security plans for Jerusalem Old City area will be implemented. These closures and plans are fluid and, although times are defined as between 1900 and 0200, this can fluctuate depending on the situation or a security incident. ISF personnel will be along traffic routes and routes of worshipers (inside the Old City) and will set up screening areas to regulate the flow of the public expected to arrive to the Western Wall. These screening areas are anticipated to be congested with long lines.
During slichot prayer events and Rosh Hashana, changes to traffic arrangements are planned. ISF advised from 1900 to approximately 0200 the following roads will be closed:
Gethsemane- Derech HaOfel
Rockefeller and Sultan Suleiman
During these events vehicles will not be permitted entry into the Old City.
Experience has shown that as security tightens around flashpoint areas such as Jerusalem, attack situations have taken place in other locations where security support is not as robust.
The State Department’s Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza International Travel Information (state.gov) is linked here for your information and reference.
U.S. citizens should take this into consideration when planning their own activities.
Actions to Take:
- Refer to our website for the latest Security and Health Alerts: https://il.usembassy.gov/covid-19-information/and https://il.usembassy.gov/u-s-citizen-services/security-and-travel-information/.
- Be aware of your surroundings
- Avoid all demonstrations and large gatherings
- Avoid all areas where there is a heavy police presence
- Monitor local media
- Follow the instructions of local authorities
- Enroll in the Department of Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). STEP enrollment gives you the latest security updates and makes it easier for the U.S. Embassy to contact you in an emergency.
- Regularly monitor the State Department’s website, where you can find current Travel Advisories (including the Travel Advisory for Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza) and the Worldwide Caution. Read the Country Information for Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza. For additional information, refer to “Traveler’s Checklist” on the State Department’s website.
Enroll in Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security updates.