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Advisory Urging No Travel to Israel Disappoints Israeli Tourism Officials

January 14, 1991
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Israeli tourism officials are disappointed with a new U.S. travel advisory urging American citizens to defer any travel plans to Israel.

The advisory, issued Friday, adds Israel and Mauritania to an earlier list of tourist spots now considered dangerous. These include Bahrain, Jordan, Morocco, Qatar, Saudi Arabia’s eastern province, the Sudan, Tunisia, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen.

The travel advisory for most of the Persian Gulf nations had been issued in August, soon after Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait. On Dec. 26, an advisory was issued for Jordan and the Sudan, and on Thursday for the other North African countries and Yemen.

The last travel advisory affecting Israel, issued Oct. 5, warned that Israel, “like other countries in the region,” is affected by “unstable conditions and the possibility of hostile action.”

That advisory, which did not urge U.S. citizens to defer any travel plans, argued that Israel’s handing out of gas masks to its population did not mark the “beginning of a state of emergency.”

The new advisory reads, in part: “American citizens should consider deferring all travel to all of these areas, and those already in these areas who do not have essential reasons for staying should consider departing.”

“Americans should also be aware that scheduling their departure out of the region may take some time because of the limited availability of airline seats,” the advisory states.


State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said Friday that Israel should be avoided “in view of the current situation.”

“Recent official Israeli actions and measures have been taken to protect the public, while on the other hand there have been repeated threats issued from Iraq” to “drag Israel into any conflict,” Boucher said.

Raphael Farber, Israel’s tourism commissioner for North America, expressed “sorrow” at the new advisory. “There is no reason why 4.5 million Israelis are living their usual life and that American Jews won’t be with them in these difficult times,” he said.

“Israel is organized to deal with every difficulty,” such as the “special needs of the tourists, including evacuation by El Al Israel Airlines,” he said.

He called it “a little bit strange” that the State Department was not calling for U.S. citizens to defer travel plans to Egypt or Turkey, as well.

In a related development, the State Department said that to ease the departure of U.S. citizens from the Middle East, “the U.S. government has taken steps to ensure continued insurance coverage for American-flag airlines.”

That decision was taken “as a result of a steep increase in insurance rates, which prompted several airlines to discontinue or consider discontinuing service to certain cities in the area,” the department said in a statement.

Farber said that TWA and Tower Air, a U.S. airline that flies to Israel from New York, are “continuing to fly to Israel, and this is one more sign for life as usual.”

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