newsIsrael at War

NSC warns of growing terrorist threat to Israelis abroad

Israel's National Security Council rated the potential for attacks on Jews as "extremely high."

Sunset over the Jewish cemetery in Quatzenheim near Strasbourg, France, where gravestones were damaged and vandalized with swastikas in spray-painted in blue, February 2019. Credit: Hadrian/Shutterstock.
Sunset over the Jewish cemetery in Quatzenheim near Strasbourg, France, where gravestones were damaged and vandalized with swastikas in spray-painted in blue, February 2019. Credit: Hadrian/Shutterstock.

Israel’s National Security Council just published its annual threat assessment for citizens traveling abroad. It cited Islamist elements in particular, primarily Iran—”the main source of global terrorism.”

In recent years, a “continuous trend of heightened threats” against Israelis abroad has been identified, the council said in a press statement summarizing its findings.

In the last few months alone, dozens of attacks against Israeli targets worldwide have been foiled, it said, rating the potential for terrorist threats against Israelis and Jews as “extremely high.”

Those threats have only increased since the start on Oct. 7 of “Operation Swords of Iron,” Israel’s current war against Hamas.

In its March 28 report, the National Security Council listed the following countries to be avoided: Turkey, Morocco, Egypt (including Sinai) and Jordan. It noted that travel warnings don’t normally apply to a stay in the country for connecting flights, though they do in countries with a high threat level, i.e. Syria or Yemen.

Tehran stands out as the greatest promoter of terrorism. “In recent years, Iran has expanded its activities to harm Israeli citizens and Jews around the world, both directly and through its agents (proxies) and helpers,” the council said.

It cited several instances, including Iran’s attempt in 2021 to kill Israeli businessmen in Cyprus, and similar events in Colombia, Turkey, Georgia and Greece. (The NSC noted that there were still more examples not cleared for publication.)

Hamas is also looking to kill Israelis and Jews abroad. In December 2023, Hamas terrorist infrastructure was discovered in several countries in northern Europe.

Joining Hamas is a collection of lesser-known global jihadist organizations energized by the Gaza war to attack Jews. Their activity is focused on Africa, the Middle East, Asia and Europe.

Occasionally, they strike in other countries, as when on March 22 Islamic State terrorists carried out a mass attack on a Moscow theater. Weeks earlier, Russian security forces foiled an “Islamic State” attack against a Moscow synagogue.

The main threat in Western countries from these organizations is in the form of individual attacks, such as the Muslim who stabbed a Jew on a street in Switzerland on March 3.

The NSC also warned of an increase in online incitement from the extreme right with manifestations of antisemitism in France, Germany, the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada and Australia.

“Jewish communities are also a major target in terms of the extreme right, with religious and community institutions being a preferred target on holidays and festivals,” the council said.

The NSC noted that there is a ban on Israelis traveling to enemy countries such as Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Iran, where there is the highest risk of kidnapping and injury.

It suggested several precautions Israeli travelers should take, including avoiding crowded places, maintaining high vigilance, avoiding external Israeli symbols, and refraining from posting travel details on social networks or pictures of trips in real time.

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