Israelis are being advised to “take additional precautions” if travelling to Australia, after Israel’s National Security Council (INSC) updated its overseas travel advice.
Australia was among a number of countries raised from level one status (no safety threat) to level two (potential threat).
The INSC also reiterated that Israelis reconsider all travel and called on those who do need to travel to avoid outward displays of their Jewish and Israeli identities.
“Since the beginning of the war there have been increased efforts identified from Iran and its affiliates, including Hamas and Islamic Jihad, to target Israelis and Jews around the world,” INSC said.
The updated travel advice was made “on this basis, along with the rising levels of incitement, attempted attacks and antisemitism around the world”.
Asked on ABC Radio if, given the advice, he remained confident Australia is a safe place for Jewish or Israeli travellers, Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles said, “Yes, but I think it’s really important that all of us, at a very difficult time globally, are looking after each other.
“I think we’re seeing a rise in antisemitism and Islamophobia, and there can be no place for that.”
Executive Council of Australian Jewry co-CEO Alex Ryvchin said INCS’ recommended raised level of alert for Israeli travellers to Australia “reflects a damning new reality of soaring antisemitism and a volatile security situation, at home and abroad”.
“The fact that being identifiably Israeli or Jewish now comes with risks is a national shame,” he said.
“We have to confront this hatred and prevent fanatics from ripping our society apart.”
Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council executive director Colin Rubenstein said the advisory is “disappointing and concerning, but understandable in the context of recent events in Sydney and Melbourne” that involved intimidatory behaviour by pro-Palestinian protesters in suburbs home to many Jews.
Zionist Federation of Australia president Jeremy Leibler said the advice is “certainly concerning”.
“Australia remains a welcoming country, but we can’t ignore the tactics of intimidation that some have used against Jews and Israelis over the past two months,” he said.
The travel advisory follows the incident last Wednesday in Melbourne when a pro-Palestinian group ambushed a visiting Israeli delegation at their hotel.