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Crime and Safety

Israel - Crime and Safety

Crime in Israel is not as high as one might think. In spite of the political unrest in the country, incidences of violent crime in Tel Aviv are much lower than in most other large cities across the world. The incidences of crime tend to be restricted to vehicle crime and burglary.

The theft of vehicles is relatively common in Israel and if your car is stolen you are unlikely to get it back. Domestic burglary tends to happen in the more affluent areas of the country and occasionally they happen when the tenants are home, although most are non violent crimes.

Road safety is an important issue in Israel. Most urban areas experience heavy traffic at peak times. Newcomers to the country are advised to exercise caution and to be aware of the careless driving of other motorists. There is a tendency for drivers to stop suddenly in the middle of the road and the country has a high annual fatality rate in road traffic accidents.

The main safety risk to the residents in Israel is the continued terrorist acts and the military action which is being taken due to the political situation over the Gaza Strip. This situation has improved in recent years but there is still a substantial risk to ordinary citizens. The US government in particular has issued a series of strict guidelines about the movement of its staff and citizens in Israel. American embassy staff and officials are not permitted to travel on buses although they can once again use trains and taxis.

Civil unrest is generally restricted to the West Bank, Gaza Strip and the city of Jerusalem. The Americans have a system of informing their staff and citizens of potential roadblocks and altercations by text message, but these incidents can happen without warning and can turn violent.

There has also been an increase in organized crime and this has been attributed to the police putting more resources into preventing acts of terrorism than investigating criminal activity.

The emergency services in Israel do have operators that speak English. Foreign nationals are advised to keep details of the embassy of their home country with them at all times in case they should require assistance. The police can be contacted by contacting 100.

Foreign nationals are advised to exercise caution at all times, avoid areas where unrest might be a possibility and to be vigilant when out and about.

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