The National Security Council puts out an updated set of travel warnings ahead of the Jewish High Holidays next month, placing a particular emphasis on the threat of kidnapping abroad by Iranian-backed groups and within Israel by Hamas.
The warnings, put out by the NSC’s Counter-Terrorism Bureau, indicate that Iranian forces and their proxies are continuing their efforts to contact Israelis abroad under the guise of businessmen, in order to kidnap them. Jews and Israelis in countries bordering Iran, or in Africa or the Mediterranean Basin, face a particular threat from Iranian operatives.
Within Israel, says the NSC, Palestinian terror groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad are eager to kidnap Israelis to use as bargaining chips. They also may seek to kidnap Israelis abroad, according to the warning, noting that indirect negotiations for the return of Israelis held in Gaza have reached an impasse.
Last year, Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh said that if Israel does not come to a prisoner accord with the terror group, it will kidnap more Israelis. “We have four prisoners, and if Israel is not convinced by that, then we will add to our stash,” Haniyeh said at the time in comments circulated in official Hamas media.
Israel adds that there is an elevated threat in Sweden and Denmark in the wake of recent Quran-burning incidents.
The NSC also warns of the threat of attacks from antisemitic far-right elements in the US and in Europe around the High Holidays.
Many Israelis head to the Sinai Peninsula over the holidays and Israel warns tourists to stay at known sites protected by security forces, and not to travel into the interior of the peninsula.
In the wake of the kidnapping in Iraq earlier this year of Israeli researcher Elizabeth Tsurkov, Israel reiterates the total ban on traveling to enemy countries.