Maldives says it will bar Israelis from visiting over Israel’s war in Gaza


The Indian Ocean nation of Maldives plans to bar Israeli passport holders from entering, in protest against Israel’s war in Gaza.

President Mohamed Muizzu announced the plan Sunday, saying that on the recommendation of his cabinet, the government would seek to pass a law excluding Israelis from the country. He also said he was launching Maldivians in Solidarity with Palestine, a rally and fundraising campaign to benefit Palestinians.

The announcement marks one of the most sweeping efforts to penalize Israelis over Israel’s military campaign against Hamas in Gaza, which began on Oct. 7 when Hamas invaded Israel. Other countries that have since taken action against Israel have not imposed sanctions on individual Israelis.

Maldives, whose official state religion is Islam, does not have diplomatic relations with Israel. About 11,000 Israelis visited Maldives last year, according to the tourism ministry, a tiny fraction of the millions of visitors to hundreds of guesthouses and lavish resorts that generate the majority of the country’s tax revenue. (The country is made up of hundreds of small islands, many of which are uninhabited and at risk because of climate change.)

Israel’s foreign ministry is advising Israelis to avoid Maldives. “For Israeli citizens already in the country, it is recommended to consider leaving, because if they find themselves in distress for any reason, it will be difficult for us to assist,” the ministry said in a Facebook post.

The Maldives announcement elicited jokes alongside warnings. “Looking for overwater bungalows with kosher food? We’ve got you covered in the Caribbean!” tweeted Avromy Super, the Chabad rabbi in St Lucia.

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