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Foreign Ministry releases app to help Israelis navigate international travel

Lazar Berman is The Times of Israel's diplomatic reporter

The Foreign Ministry has released its TravIL app, designed to help Israeli travelers stay up to date with warnings and easily reach officials in case of emergency.

Once travelers download the free app, they can access recommendations from the Foreign and Health ministries, travel warnings from the National Security Council, addresses and phone numbers of local consular offices and visa instructions, customized for wherever they are traveling.

A feature on the app automatically calls local emergency services if needed.

TravIL, which asks users to upload travel documents for safekeeping, is designed to protect users’ privacy, says Ziv Shalvi, head of Consular Digital Solutions and Innovation at the ministry. He adds that it doesn’t give Israeli officials access to travelers’ information, nor does it track users geographically.

Aside from vital updates and emergency info, the app also includes cultural tips for travelers. Visitors to the UAE, for instance, are instructed that “it is polite to partake in food before moving on to matters of business,” and that food and drink should be received in one’s right hand.

The app currently does not include countries with which Israel does not have diplomatic ties, but it does have Qatar, which is hosting the World Cup this month. It warns Israelis that homosexuality and pornography are illegal in the country.

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