Foreign travel advice

The Occupied Palestinian Territories

Local laws and customs

This travel advice covers Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories

You should dress modestly in Jerusalem, the West Bank, and Gaza.

Local residents in ultra-Orthodox Jewish neighbourhoods can react strongly to anyone (particularly women) dressed inappropriately. Women should not wear trousers.

Avoid driving into ultra-Orthodox Jewish areas of Jerusalem on Shabbat (from sunset on Friday to sunset on Saturday). If you attempt to drive into these areas local residents may stone your car.

During the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, eating, drinking and smoking between sunrise and sunset are forbidden for Muslims (though not for children under the age of 8). Although alcohol will be available in some hotels and restaurants, drinking alcohol elsewhere may cause offence. As a courtesy, you should avoid drinking, eating, and smoking in public places in the OPTs during Ramadan.

In 2017, the holy month of Ramadan is expected to start on 27 May and finish on 25 June. See Travelling during Ramadan

Be sensitive about taking pictures of people in Muslim and Orthodox Jewish areas. Don’t take photographs of military or police personnel or installations.

Carry identification with you at all times. (eg a photocopy of the personal details and entry stamp pages of your passport).

The penalties for smuggling and trafficking in illegal drugs are severe. Those caught in possession can expect a prison sentence.

Israeli law does not criminalise same-sex sexual relations between consenting adults. Same-sex sexual activity is legal in the West Bank but is illegal in Gaza, where it carries a 10 year prison sentence. Attitudes towards LGBT issues within some parts of society can be hostile. All public displays of affection, regardless of the gender or sexuality of those involved, may attract negative attention in more conservative areas. Homosexuality is largely taboo in Palestinian society.

Tel Aviv has a large, active LGBT community and is famous for its annual Pride Parade. An annual Pride Parade is also held in Jerusalem, but there has been a heavy security presence at the event since a fatal stabbing occurred during the 2015 parade. You should exercise extra vigilance if attending. See our information and advice page for the LGBT community before you travel.

Israel is a signatory to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). If you are caught breaking local laws on import and export of wild animals you can expect to receive a substantial fine and up to 2 years in prison. For more information on the regulations and laws in Israel please refer to the Israel Ministry of Environmental Protection website.