With the culturally traditional Jewish High Holidays of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur on the horizon, the State of Israel has published a travel advisory warning of threats against Jewish sites in western and northern Europe.
European Jewish Press reports the Counter-Terrorism Bureau (CTB) run in Jerusalem by Isreal’s National Security Council says one of the main threats is plots by Islamic State (IS) ‘returnees’ who fought in Iraq and Syria. However, the Jerusalem Post does say IS supporters see Israel as a sort of “secondary target” for operatives believed to be more likely to attack targets identified with authorities in their own European countries.
While briefing reporters Eitan Ben-David, who heads the CTB, said last month’s deal with Iran has not diminished potential threats to Israelis posed by Shi’ite terrorist groups. He warned that Iran’s ability to fund and execute attacks against Israeli and Jewish targets – including Chabad houses, community leaders and rabbis – abroad remains intact, saying: “the Shi’ite terrorist campaign continues and we can’t say that, because of any deal signed with Iran, that the threat has diminished.”
Ben-David’s list of travel warnings remains unchanged from last year, but encourages Israelis abroad to be vigilant and avoid “unexpected” offers and late-night meetings in deserted areas.
Israel has formally requested assistance from local security authorities in India, Thailand and the Ukraine to help protect Jewish targets. In the Ukraine in particular up to 30,000 Israelis are expected to make an annual Rosh Hashana pilgrimage (pictured above) to the Uman burial site of Rabbi Nachman of Breslev, although fighting with Russia in the east of that country has not affected the travel advisory.
There was also a low-level warning suggesting Israelis avoid Turkey because of an “ongoing potential threat.” Turkey, which despite recent tensions between Jerusalem and Ankara is perennially one of the top destinations for Israelis, was the third-most visited country by Israelis this summer.
CTB travel advisory warnings are worth taking seriously. As previously reported by Breitbart London, the CTB advised Israelis not to travel to Tunisia for months ahead of June’s beach massacre. In March the CTB designated Tunisia “Code Red, or high concrete threat” warning “any Israelis present in [Tunisia] are advised to leave immediately.” In May the Level 2 alert was reissued, that time citing intelligence that terrorist groups were planning attacks against Jewish and Israeli targets.
Of all 193 countries in the world, an Israeli travel advisory has been posted for 27, including the six ‘enemy states’ where Israelis are banned from visiting– Syria, Iraq (including Kurdistan), Iran, Lebanon, Yemen and Saudi Arabia.