Israel tourism is booming, even among Muslim countries. Record numbers were reported in 2018, when 55,000 citizens from countries that lack any formal relation with Israel traveled to the country. Malaysians are also flocking to the country, with 14,000 Malaysian visitors in 2018.
There was a total of 72,109 citizens from Muslim countries that visited Israel last year.
But some visitors will face issues after traveling to Israel.
No Recognition of the State of Israel
Israel is part of the United Nations, yet there are many Arab and Muslim-majority countries that do not recognize the existence of Israel. When a person’s visa stamps are checked, if Israel is present, it’s possible that the person may not be allowed into the country.
A person seeking a Malaysia visa that have visited Israel may be turned away if they’ve been to Israel even for border crossings.
Several countries are known to deny travelers that have been to Israel, including:
- Saudi Arabia
You may also face difficulties entering many other countries, including Malaysia, Iran, Pakistan, Bangladesh, UAE, Brunei and Algeria. These countries may or may not give you issues when you have an Israeli stamp. In most cases, these countries accept Israel’s visitors to their countries.
There was a time when using another passport would suffice, but a lot of passport control in Israel no longer stamp passports. Special entry and exit cards are granted at borders and airports to avoid these travel issues.
You’ll only have issues when you work in Israel. If you’re working in Israel, your passport will still be stamped.
Problems Visiting Israel from a Middle Eastern Country
Israel is far more relaxed than other countries. A visitor from an Arab country will still be allowed to enter the country. But you can expect to have to spend far more time being questioned over and over again.
It’s rare that the issue escalates further than questioning.
You’ll have to answer ten minutes of questioning, but if the customs office is suspicious of you, questioning can take up to an hour.
If you have nothing to hide, the questioning is nothing more than a hassle.
Bags will be searched upon arrival and departure, but this is a routine safety check.
We are seeing that Jordan is banning Israel from entering the Al-Baqura area. The land, which was leased to Israel for 25 years, is now off limits. The fertile lands are not able to be accessed by farmers.
Tensions with Malaysia are also on the rise after Israel was barred from the World Para Swimming championships in July.
Ireland’s “Occupied Territories” bill is also a concern for Israelis. The Bill would make business relations with Israel illegal and may lead to issues in tourism from either country into the other problematic. Oslo is also joining the ban on Israeli’s settlement goods.
Reports of issues entering Israel from Iran were reported in 2018. The person in question had an Iranian visa, and they were detained for four hours in Tel Aviv. You may also have issues if you cross into Jordan without an entry stamp while entering Lebanon. If you plan to cross through borders, it’s often best to go into Lebanon first.