What is causing the increase of Israelis-in-distress abroad?

Since August 17, the ministry has reported several incidents around the world including deaths, robberies, and rapes.

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September 12, 2019 09:54
2 minute read.
What is causing the increase of Israelis-in-distress abroad?

globe 88. (photo credit: )

The Foreign Ministry has over the last month dealt with numerous queries, and issued several statements, dealing not with diplomatic matters such as Iran or relations with the EU but, rather, with Israelis in trouble abroad.

Since August 17, the ministry has reported on the following: A tourist who died during a trek in Ethiopia; a two-year-old child mauled by a tiger in Thailand; two arrested on drug possession charges in Peru; two others arrested on rape charges in Greece; a group of Israelis attacked in Poland; a woman raped, and her companions robbed, in South Africa; a 79-year-old who went missing, but was later found safe and sound, in Montenegro.

 And that is to say nothing of a story that was prominent in the news in late July – 12 Israeli youths accused, and later released, on gang-rape charges in Cyprus.

For those asking themselves why all of a sudden there seems to be an upsurge in stories about Israelis in distress abroad, the answer is simple: the number of Israelis traveling abroad has soared over the last few years.

It is possible to say that there is an increase in Israelis either in trouble or involved in various incidents abroad, said ministry spokesman Nizar Amer, “because there is an increase in the number of Israelis abroad. It is a matter of statistics – there are more people abroad, so some will get hurt, some will get in trouble.”

According to ministry figures, the number of incidents involving Israelis abroad rose from 1,030 in 2015 to 1,535 in 2018 – a 49% increase. During the same time period, there was a 44% increase in trips of Israelis abroad, from 5.9 million in 2015 to 8.5 million in 2018.

Those are not 8.5 million individual Israelis traveling abroad, since some traveled multiple times, but rather 4.1 million Israelis, which is still nearly half the country. Another 1.9 million traveled abroad more than once.

The number of individual Israelis traveling is at an all-time high, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in a comment he made recently to illustrate the health of the economy, saying that over the summer fully two million Israelis traveled overseas – an astounding statistic since that translates to almost one-fifth of the country’s nine million people.

According to the Central Bureau of Statistics, there were 2.4 million trips abroad by Israelis in July and August, a 5% increase from the year before. In August alone, 1.1 million individual Israelis left the country. Of that, some 32,000 were Israelis who live abroad and came to Israel for a visit.

Those figures, according to the ministry, go far in explaining what seems like an uptick in stories of Israelis finding themselves in some kind of distress overseas and in need of the various consular services.


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