Revised as of November 1, 2023
Imposed security measures and alerts for at-risk employees impacted by this ongoing conflict.
The situation in Israel is rapidly changing, and our Supplier Solutions team is closely communicating with our supplier partners, who are acutely aware of the challenges that our clients, employees, and their families are facing there. We have been informed that service delivery (relocation, immigration, and household goods) is still available, and we prioritize safety and security above all else. Below is an overview of the situation with the most recent information provided to our teams.
The Israeli government has announced a state of emergency.
- Over 100,000 Israelis have been evacuated and displaced since the attacks began. Half of Israeli hotel rooms are being used to house families evacuated from communities near the Gaza Strip.
- Many countries are evacuating diplomats and foreign citizens from Israel. Foreign nationals living in Israel can reach out to their Embassy for information about emergency evacuation flights.
- All entry points to and from Israel are facing major disruptions due to the conflict, and travelers should expect sudden cancellations and closures.
- Israel is giving priority to bringing back its military reservists to the country, which may reduce the availability of seats on flights.
Travel into and out of the Israel/Palestine Region
There are no travel bans into this region currently in place, though some governments, like the United Kingdom and the United States, are advising against travel to the region in general and are saying not to travel to Gaza specifically. Flights into and out of David Ben Gurion airport – Israel’s main international airport – are subject to delays and cancelations, with some airlines stopping flights into Israel.
- ELAL Airlines, the national carrier of Israel, operates in accordance with the instructions of the Israeli security forces, servicing worldwide destinations, but the availability of seats is low. There are daily chartered flights from & to Cyprus and Greece operated by Israir Airlines and Arkia Airlines.
- For Israeli nationals wishing to depart Israel whose passports have expired, the Ministry of Interior desk on the 2ndfloor of Ben Gurion Airport Terminal 3 may be able to issue an emergency passport if the individual is booked on a flight within 48 hours.
Most companies asked their foreign population to leave Israel temporarily, utilizing the company-preferred travel provider to oversee the flight booking. An example was cited in which a large employer arranged a flight to Greece and Cyprus for 50+ employees. From Cyprus and Greece, employees are booking their flights home. Foreign airlines have reduced the number of flights, and some are no longer offering services to Israel. Israeli airlines – ELAL, Israir, and Arkia have shuttle flights to Cyprus and Greece.
Employees Remaining in Israel:
Those staying in Israel will be reminded about the security protocol, mainly: “In the event that you hear alarms/sirens, please enter the MMD (apartment protected space or shelter room), a shelter, an internal stairwell, or a protected internal room. The doors and windows must be closed and locked.” They will be referred to the “Home Front Command” website and app: https://www.oref.org.il/en.
If you are a foreign national currently in the Israel/Palestine region (or even in a neighboring country such as Lebanon or Jordan which could see fighting spill over into their countries) we recommend you register with your country’s embassy or consulate in case support is needed at any time. It is also important to keep a copy of your travel documents (copies of your passport, national ID cards, travel visas, work permits, etc.) with you at all times. Also monitor local media for real-time information on any potential disturbances in your immediate area.
Any clients considering relocation of employees out of Israel, both foreign nationals and local citizens, should confirm that their employees and any family members hold a valid biometric passport. This can be confirmed by identifying if the biometric symbol is present.
Travel and Commuting Within Israel
- Public transportation is available.
- While there is no mandatory stay-at-home request, it is recommended to be aware of surrounding shelters when commuting. Local Municipalities inform their residents via their networks of the public protected spaces available. Different regions are affected daily by missile attacks, and as such, as well as factoring in potential risks, the Home Front Command (Pikud Haoref) has issued geographic-specific security guidelines.
- The Home Front Command is entrusted with civil defense in routine times and in emergencies. To protect the lives of the residents and enable an emergency life routine, the Home Front Command has the legal authority to establish and disseminate daily guidelines, which outline the mode of activity in the various areas of life. Its purpose is to reinforce national resilience and save lives by preparing and supporting civilians. The English website regularly updates official guidelines and information. The safety instructions of the Home Front Command in the various languages can be found at the following link.
The Home Front Command’s daily civil defense guidelines are divided into four levels, labeled by the colors green, yellow, orange and red (the Ramzor system). Each guideline area is classified by color based on these levels, from a green classification, which means that activity is being held as usual, up to a red classification, indicating that only essential activity for critical services is provided. The guidelines are based on a daily assessment of the situation in the Home Front Command, which takes into account the danger to the population in a particular geographical area and relates to educational activities, capacity limit at public gatherings, both indoors and outdoors, and workplace guidelines.
- The immigration authorities in Israel are closed to the public as of October 12, 2023, and it is not clear when they will reopen. The Work Permit Unit and the visa department operate on a limited capacity basis.
- Government authorities may take longer to process work permit applications that are in progress.
- Immigration authorities may be closed or partially closed throughout Israel.
- Local teams are working 24/7 to stay updated on government advice.
- Weichert’s Destination Service Providers (DSPs) are monitoring the area of conflict (mostly taking place in Southern Israel). Central Israel, namely Tel Aviv and surrounding areas, remain calm.
- Assignees with plans to arrive have canceled their trips to Israel and postponed home-finding tours.
- Employees who recently arrived in Israel, and those currently on assignment, have requested to leave the area. Assignees made arrangements with their preferred travel team with support from DSP partners as needed.
Companies have not indicated the need to release their long-term leases, and Weichert’s DSPs haven’t received any authorization for full departure services. Only a few assignees on short-term assignments were staying in temporary housing and will likely not return to complete the assignment. If they should return to the same area, our DSP is prepared to source a different housing solution for them in due course.
For customers wo have left Israel and are not returning, Weichert’s DSP can assist with closing out the apartments, arranging for someone to pack personal goods left behind including furniture they want shipped, as well as bank account closure and auto rentals returns.
Should it be required, Weichert’s DSP team is ready to deliver accompanied destination services on a virtual basis through RelocationOnline, our DSP technology platform.
Advice from the Israeli government is for individuals to remain in areas where public shelters or house shelters are available.
Public Facilities & Daily Life
- Medical: All hospitals and emergency rooms are accessible. Doctors’ appointments can be made.
- Shopping Facilities: Large supermarkets, small neighborhood grocery stores, and pharmacies remain open. Large shopping malls are closed.
- Leisure: Public parks and playgrounds remain open, where often a public shelter is available. Beaches are closed. Leisure activities such as the cinema, are closed.
- Workplaces: Remain open as it is possible to carry out an activity in a place from which a standard protected space can be reached within the time available to reach shelter. Some workplaces might be operating with restricted hours.
- Schools: Most schools, including the American International School are offering virtual learning and some onsite program. According to region and specific regulations, the Home Front Command are regularly updating if schools can re-open and if so, what regulations apply i.e., the requirement of a protected space. The American International School’s onsite program takes place between Monday-Friday 08:00-12:00, for all age groups (3 – 18 years old).
- Deliveries & International Shipping: Packing and deliveries can be arranged nationwide, except for restricted areas near the Gaza Strip. While the main Israeli ports – Haifa and Ashdod – remain open, activity is restricted, and port congestions are expected. The customs office is operating as usual with some delays. Air shipments are delayed because of flight cancellations. In light of the war situation, insurers have imposed an additional insurance premium of war risk on all vessels calling Israeli ports, and all shipping lines have announced a War Risk Premium on relevant shipments.