International Parental Child Abduction

English

Country Information

Israel, the West Bank and Gaza

Israel, the West Bank and Gaza
Israel, Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza
Exercise increased caution in Israel due to terrorism. Some areas have increased risk. Read the entire Travel Advisory.

Exercise increased caution in Israel due to terrorism. Some areas have increased risk. Read the entire Travel Advisory.

Do not travel to:

  • Gaza due to terrorism, civil unrest, and armed conflict.

Reconsider travel to:

  • The West Bank due to terrorism, potentially violent civil unrest, and the potential for armed conflict.

Terrorist groups and lone-wolf terrorists continue plotting possible attacks in Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza. Terrorists may attack with little or no warning, targeting tourist locations, transportation hubs, markets/shopping malls, and local government facilities. Violence can occur in Jerusalem and the West Bank without warning.

Jerusalem: Violent clashes and terror attacks have occurred throughout the city, including in the Old City. Acts of terrorism have resulted in death and injury to bystanders, including U.S. citizens. During periods of unrest, the Government of Israel may restrict access to and within portions of Jerusalem.

The U.S. government is unable to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in Gaza as U.S. government employees are prohibited from traveling there.     

U.S. government personnel can travel freely throughout Israel, except throughout the West Bank and for areas close to the borders with Gaza, Syria, Lebanon, and Egypt. Additionally, portions of Jerusalem are occasionally placed off limits. 

Read the Safety and Security section on the country information page.

If you decide to travel to the areas covered in this document:

  • Check the most recent Alerts at the Embassy and Consulate General websites for the latest information on travel in all of these areas. 
  • Maintain a high degree of situational awareness and exercise caution at all times, especially at checkpoints and other areas with a significant presence of security forces.
  • Avoid demonstrations and crowds.
  • Beware of and report to local police unattended items or packages.
  • Follow the instructions of security and emergency response officials.
  • Report suspicious activities or items to local police.
  • Learn the location of the nearest bomb or other hardened shelter.
  • Obtain comprehensive travel medical insurance that includes medical evacuation.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive Alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
  • Follow the Department of State on Facebook and Twitter.
  • Review the Crime and Safety Report for Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza.
  • U.S. citizens who travel abroad should always have a contingency plan for emergency situations. Review the Traveler’s Checklist.

Gaza

Hamas, a U.S. government-designated foreign terrorist organization, controls security in Gaza. The security environment within Gaza and on its borders is dangerous and volatile.

Demonstrations occur on a frequent basis and may turn violent without warning.  

Sporadic mortar or rocket fire and corresponding Israeli military responses may occur at any time. 

U.S. government employees are not allowed to travel to Gaza and are restricted from traveling close to the Gaza border areas.  

Visit our website for Travel to High Risk Areas.

The West Bank

Terror attacks and violent clashes in the West Bank have resulted in the deaths and injury of U.S. citizens and others. During periods of unrest, the Government of Israel may restrict access to and within the West Bank, and some areas may be placed under curfew. 

Visit our website for Travel to High Risk Areas.

Restrictions on U.S. Government Employee Travel

  • U.S. government official travel into the West Bank is conducted only with enhanced security measures. U.S. government employees are largely restricted from most personal travel in the West Bank, though portions of the West Bank are occasionally authorized for personal travel, depending on the security environment.
  • U.S. government personnel take additional security precautions when visiting refugee camps and “seam areas” where Israelis and Palestinians are in proximity to each other, and which have historically been flashpoints for violence. For example, sites with significant religious meaning to multiple faiths can be subject to violent protests or security incidents with little or no warning, especially during or around significant religious holidays.
  • The U.S. government occasionally restricts travel for its employees to Jerusalem’s Old City based on the security environment. U.S. government employees are prohibited from personal travel into Jerusalem’s Old City on Fridays during the Muslim month of Ramadan.
  • U.S. government employees are prohibited from using public buses and public bus terminals throughout the area covered in this advisory.
  • U.S. government employees must observe additional security requirements if traveling for any reason to the following locations:
    • Within 7 miles of the Gaza demarcation line;
    • Within 1.5 miles of the Lebanon border; 
    • East of Route 98 in the Golan; and
    • Within 1.5 miles of the Egypt border along the Sinai (including all portions of Route 10 and portions of Route 12).
... [READ MORE]

Hague Convention Participation

Party to the Hague Abduction Convention?
Yes (Israel only)
U.S. Treaty Partner under the Hague Abduction Convention?
Yes (Israel only)

What You Can Do

Learn how to respond to abductions FROM the US
Learn how to respond to abductions TO the US

Embassies and Consulates

U.S. Embassy Jerusalem

14 David Flusser Street
Jerusalem 93392

Telephone: +(972) (2) 630-4000
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(972) (3) 519-7551
Fax: +(972) (2) 630-4070
Email: JerusalemACS@state.gov

Contact the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem for information and assistance in Jerusalem.

U.S. Embassy Tel Aviv Branch
71 HaYarkon Street
Tel Aviv Israel 63903
Telephone:
 +(972) (3) 519-7575
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(972) (3) 519-7551
Fax: +(972) (3) 516-4390, or 516-0315
Email: TelAvivACS@state.gov

Contact the Consular Section of the Embassy Branch Office in Tel Aviv for information and assistance in Israel and the Golan Heights, at the ports of entry at Ben Gurion Airport and Ovda Airport, Ashdod, Eilat, and Haifa Ports, the northern (Sheikh Hussein) and southern (Yitzhak Rabin) border crossings connecting Israel and Jordan, and the border crossings between Israel and Egypt.


U.S. Consulate General Jerusalem

18 Agron Road
Jerusalem 9419003
Telephone:
 +(972) (2) 622-7230
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(972) (2) 622-7230
Fax: No Fax
Email: ConGenJerusalemACS@state.gov

Contact the Consular Office of the U.S. Consulate General for information and assistance in the following areas: the West Bank, Gaza, and the Allenby/King Hussein Bridge border crossing between Jordan and the West Bank. The U.S. Consulate General in Jerusalem provides limited special consular services for U.S. citizens in the West Bank and Gaza who cannot access consular services at the U.S. Embassy. Note that it provides no public services in Jerusalem. For consular services in Jerusalem – including American citizen services and visas–applicants must go to the U.S. Embassy at the address listed above.

U.S. Consular Agency - Haifa
26 Ben Gurion Boulevard
Haifa 35023
Telephone:
 +(972)(4) 853-1470
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: Please contact the Embassy Branch Office in Tel Aviv.
Fax: +(972)(4) 853-1476
Email: consage@netvision.net.il

Closed for public services from September 1 until further notice

Contact the Consular Agency during regular business hours for routine and emergency citizen services in the northern part of Israel.

General Information

Israel and the United States have been treaty partners under the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (Hague Abduction Convention) since December 1, 1991.

For information concerning travel to Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza, including information about the location of the U.S. Embassy, the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, entry/exit requirements, safety and security, crime, medical facilities and health information, traffic safety, road conditions and aviation safety, please see country-specific information for Israel.

The U.S. Department of State reports statistics and compliance information for individual countries in the Annual Report on International Parental Child Abduction (IPCA).  The report is located here.

Hague Abduction Convention

 

The U.S. Department of State serves as the U.S. Central Authority (USCA) for the Hague Abduction Convention.  In this capacity, the Department's Bureau of Consular Affairs, Directorate for Overseas Citizens Services, Office of Children's Issues facilitates the submission of applications under the Hague Abduction Convention for the return of, or access to, children located in countries that are U.S. treaty partners, including Israel.  Parents are strongly encouraged to contact the Department of State for assistance prior to initiating the Hague process directly with the foreign Central Authority.

Contact information:

U.S. Department of State
Bureau of Consular Affairs
Office of Children's
CA/OCS/CI
SA-17, 9th Floor
Washington, DC 20522-1709
Telephone:  1-888-407-4747
Website:  travel.state.gov

The Israel Central Authority (ICA) for the Hague Abduction Convention is the Ministry of Justice, Office of the State Attorney.  The ICA has an administrative role in processing Hague Abduction Convention applications.  For example, the ICA will ensure that all the required documents are submitted and make additional inquiries if necessary.  The ICA can be reached at:

Ministry of Justice
Office of the State Attorney
Department of International Affairs
7 Mahal Street, Ma'alot Dafna
PO Box 94123
Jerusalem  97765
Tel: +972-2-541-9614/9613
Fax:+972-2-541-9644/9645
Internet
 (child abduction page, in Hebrew)

To initiate a Hague case for return of, or access to, a child in Israel, an applicant parent must submit a Hague application to the ICA.  The USCA is available to answer questions about the Hague application process, to forward a completed application to the ICA, and to subsequently monitor its progress through the foreign administrative and legal processes. 

There are no fees for filing Hague applications with either the U.S. or the Israeli central authorities.  Attorney fees are the responsibility of the applicant parent.  Israel can provide legal aid to applicants who can provide proof that they qualify for such aid in their own jurisdiction.  Additional costs may include airplane tickets for court appearances and for the return of the child, if so ordered.

 

 

Return

A parent or legal guardian may file an application under the Hague Abduction Convention for return to the United States of a child abducted to, or wrongfully retained in Israel. The U.S. Department of State can assist parents living in the United States to understand whether the Convention is an available civil remedy and can provide information on the process for submitting a Hague application.

The Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs, Directorate for Overseas Citizens Services, Office of Children's Issues provides assistance in cases of international parental child abduction in countries where the Hague Abduction Convention is not an available remedy. For U.S. citizen parents whose children have been wrongfully removed to or retained in countries that are not U.S. partners under the Hague Abduction Convention, the Office of Children's Issues can provide information and resources about country-specific options for pursuing the return of or access to an abducted child.  The Office of Children's Issues may also coordinate with appropriate foreign and U.S. government authorities about the welfare of abducted U.S. citizen children. Parents are strongly encouraged to contact the Department of State for assistance. 

Contact information:

U.S. Department of State
Bureau of Consular Affairs
Office of Children's
CA/OCS/CI
SA-17, 9th Floor
Washington, DC 20522-1709
Telephone:  1-888-407-4747
Fax: 202-485-6221
Email: MiddleEastIPCA@state.gov
Website: travel.state.gov
 
Parents who have a child who has been removed to or retained outside the United States in the West Bank or Gaza are encouraged to consult with an attorney who specializes in family law and who can provide accurate legal guidance that is specific to their circumstances.

Parents may wish to consult with an attorney to learn more about how filing criminal charges may impact a custody case in the local court. Please see Pressing Criminal Charges for additional information. 

Visitation/Access

A person may file an application under the Hague Abduction Convention for access to a child living in Israel.  The criteria for acceptance of a Hague access application vary from country to country.  The U.S. Department of State can assist parents living in the United States to understand country-specific criteria and provide information on the process for submitting a Hague application.

Parents who are seeking access to children who were wrongfully removed from or retained outside the United States in the West Bank or Gaza should contact the U.S. Consulate General in Jerusalem for information and possible assistance.

Retaining an Attorney

Applicant parents or guardians are required to retain the services of an attorney in order to forward their Hague petition to the appropriate Israeli court and are responsible for all legal fees.  Applicants who are unable to pay for an attorney may apply for Israeli legal aid. 

Both the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv, Israel, and the U.S. Consulate General in Jerusalem post a list of attorneys including those who specialize in family law.

This list is provided as a courtesy service only and does not constitute an endorsement of any individual attorney. The Department of State assumes no responsibility or liability for the professional ability or reputation of, or the quality of services provided by, the following persons or firms.  Professional credentials and areas of expertise are provided directly by the lawyers.

Mediation

Under Israeli law, the Family Court can refer pending cases, including Hague Abduction Convention cases, to certified family mediators who are listed in the court's roster. These mediators are required to be experienced social workers, psychologists, or lawyers who have attended special training in family mediation. However, there are no mediation programs established specifically to deal with Hague Abduction Convention cases.

An official mediation service is also provided in the Family Court, within the framework of the Court's assistance units. This service is staffed by social workers and psychologists who have expertise in difficult cases and experience in mediation. Cases under the Hague Abduction Convention can be referred to these assistance units by the Family Court. Mediation can also be sought to resolve access arrangements pending the hearing of the return application. 

Israeli courts may recognize a mediated agreement, which can have the same effect as a court decision. The court must ensure that the mediation process is conducted in accordance with the Court Mediation Regulations and that the mediated agreement is in the best interests of the child.

There are no independent mediation services in the West Bank. All mediation services operate within the court structure.

Exercising Custody Rights

While travelling in a foreign country, you are subject to the laws of that country. It is important for parents to understand that, although a left-behind parent in the United States may have custody or visitation rights pursuant to a U.S. custody order, that order may not be valid and enforceable in the country in which the child is located.  For this reason, we strongly encourage you to speak to a local attorney if planning to remove a child from a foreign country without the consent of the other parent.  Attempts to remove your child to the United States may:

  • Endanger your child and others;
  • Prejudice any future judicial efforts; and
  • Could result in your arrest and imprisonment.

The U.S. government cannot interfere with another country’s court or law enforcement system.

To understand the legal effect of a U.S. order in a foreign country, a parent should consult with a local attorney in the country in which the child is located.  

For information about hiring an attorney abroad, see our section on Retaining a Foreign Attorney. 

Although we cannot recommend an attorney to you, most U.S. Embassies have lists of attorneys available online. Please visit the local U.S. Embassy or Consulate website for a full listing.

For more information on consular assistance for U.S. citizens arrested abroad, please see our website.

Country officers are available to speak with you Monday - Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.  For assistance with an abduction in progress or any emergency situation that occurs after normal business hours, on weekends, or federal holidays, please call toll free at 1-888-407-4747. See all contact information.

DISCLAIMER: The information in this flyer is provided for general information only, is not intended to be legal advice, and may change without notice. Questions involving interpretation of law should be addressed to an attorney licensed in the relevant jurisdiction. 

 

Last Updated: May 8, 2018

Assistance for U.S. Citizens

U.S. Embassy Jerusalem
14 David Flusser Street
Jerusalem 93392

For Embassy Branch Office Tel Aviv, e-mail TelAvivACS@state.gov. For additional contact information for the Embassy Branch Office, see the Embassies and Consulates section on this page.
Telephone
+(972) (2) 630-4000
Emergency
+(972) (3) 519-7551
Fax
+(972) (2) 630-4070

Israel, the West Bank and Gaza Map