Think­ing About Tak­ing an End of the Sum­mer Get­away ?? – A Jewish Voice Travel Ad­vi­sory

The Jewish Voice - - SPECIAL FEATURES - By Benyamin David­sons

It’s no se­cret that Jews love to travel. We have an in­nate ap­pre­ci­a­tion for beauty, broad­mind­ed­ness for dif­fer­ent cul­tures, and a knack for suc­cess­ful busi­ness ven­tures. At this time of po­lit­i­cal un­rest, how­ever, there are cer­tain lo­ca­tions which would be best left un­fre­quented. There are plenty of stun­ning and ex­otic lo­ca­tions in the world, and un­less there is a spe­cific need, there is no rea­son to put our­selves at jeop­ardy. The Jewish Voice has com­piled this list of places which pose un­nec­es­sary risks to trav­el­ers.

- Turkey The U.S. De­part­ment of state has a Travel alert for Turkey. U.S. Cit­i­zens are warned not to travel here due to in­creased threats from ter­ror­ist groups par­tic­u­larly in the South­east of Turkey, in­clud­ing Adana. Jour­nal­ists and mem­bers of the me­dia have been de­tained and held with­out ac­cess to lawyers or fam­ily mem­bers un­der the state of emer­gency. "Turkey is be­com­ing in­creas­ingly en­tan­gled in the Syria quag­mire," said Fadi Hakura, an ex­pert on Turkey. "As Turkey be­comes more in­volved in the im­plo­sion of Syria, we are see­ing the in­sta­bil­ity there cross­ing over the bor­der and im­pact­ing se­cu­rity." There were si­mul­ta­ne­ous sui­cide bomb­ings near Is­tan­bul’s Soc­cer Sta­dium in De­cem­ber 2016. In Jan­uary 2017, there was a mass shoot­ing at the Is­tan­bul Reina night­club. There is a gen­eral anti-Amer­i­can and anti-Semitic rhetoric with po­ten­tial for more vi­o­lence.

- Iran The U.S. gov­ern­ment also warns against trav­el­ing to Iran on ac­count of the risk of arrest and de­ten­tion for U.S. cit­i­zens, and par­tic­u­larly dual na­tional Ira­nian-Amer­i­cans. For­eign­ers have been de­tained and pre­vented from leav­ing Iran. The Ira­nian gov­ern­ment does not rec­og­nize dual na­tion­al­ity and the U.S. gov­ern­ment does not have diplo­matic or con­sular re­la­tions there and can­not pro­vide pro­tec­tion or con­sular ser­vices to U.S. cit­i­zens in Iran.

- North Korea On Au­gust 2nd, the Sec­re­tary of State pub­lished an Alert re­strict­ing the use of U.S. pass­ports to travel into, or even through North Korea ef­fec­tive Septem­ber 1, 2017. Travel to North Korea poses a se­ri­ous risk of arrest and longterm de­ten­tion for U.S. cit­i­zens. Au­thor­i­ties in the coun­try have im­posed un­duly harsh sen­tences for ac­tions that would not reg­u­larly be con­sid­ered crimes, such as pos­sess­ing any sort of me­dia, or car­ry­ing out re­li­gious ac­tiv­i­ties. U.S. cit­i­zen de­tainees have been threat­ened with be­ing treated with the “wartime law of the DPRK”.

- Venezuela Just by watch­ing the news, it is ev­i­dent that vi­o­lent protests and un­rest are ram­pant in the Bo­li­var­ian Repub­lic. Pres­i­dent Ni­co­las Maduro has been branded a dic­ta­tor. As many as 130 peo­ple have been killed this year in a wave of anti-gov­ern­ment protests. Ac­cord­ing to Global Edge, Venezuela poses the high­est risk in po­lit­i­cal and eco­nomic sit­u­a­tion and the most dif­fi­cult busi­ness en­vi­ron­ment. The busi­ness knowl­edge source, which rates coun­tries from A1 to E, has rated Venezuela as E, or a very high risk. Other coun­tries with an ap­palling E rat­ing in­clude Afghanistan, Cen­tral African Repub­lic, Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Su­dan, Yemen and Zim­babwe.

- The French Riviera This Mediter­ranean coast­line on the south­east cor­ner of France has be­come a hotspot for Ji­hadists. Last July, a ter­ror­ist with psy­chi­atric is­sues drove his truck into 400 Bastille Day rev­el­ers in Nice killing 86 peo­ple. In a re­cent in­ci­dent, a 30-year-old Mus­lim wait­ress was at­tacked by Is­lamic ex­trem­ists for serv­ing al­co­hol on the first day of the holy month of Ra­madan, a fast day. Amer­i­can and Is­raeli tourists are par­tic­u­larly un­wel­come in the sea sides of Nice and Cannes.

- Other Euro­pean coun­tries Un­for­tu­nately we have al­ready had too many tragic ex­am­ples of ter­ror­ism in Europe. In Barcelona, a van raced down the pop­u­lar tourist prom­e­nade of Las Ram­blas, killing 15 and in­jur­ing over 120 civil­ians. In July, in­side a Ham­burg su­per­mar­ket a stab­ber killed at least one per­son and wounded four oth­ers. On June 3, eight peo­ple were killed with many more in­jured in a ter­ror at­tack on Lon­don Bridge and in nearby Bor­ough Mar­ket. On May 22, in Manch­ester a lone sui­cide bomber killed 22 peo­ple and in­jured 59 oth­ers at an Ariana Grande concert. In April, four peo­ple were killed and at least fif­teen were in­jured when a man drove a truck down a busy shop­ping street in Stock­holm. The list con­tin­ues. ISIS and Al-Qaeda have been urg­ing their fol­low­ers to use eas­ily ac­ces­si­ble weapons such as knives or ve­hi­cles to fa­cil­i­tate more at­tacks.

Euro­pean au­thor­i­ties con­tinue to warn of the risk of ad­di­tional ter­ror­ist plots, par­tic­u­larly at ma­jor events, tourist sites, restau­rants, com­mer­cial cen­ters, places of wor­ship, and the trans­porta­tion sec­tor, and no­table pub­lic venues.

- Western Hemi­sphere In­sur­gent groups, armed crim­i­nal gangs, and ter­ror­ists re­main ac­tive in Latin Amer­ica, and the Caribbean. U.S. cit­i­zens are par­tic­u­larly vul­ner­a­ble to kid­nap-for-ran­som at­tempts and vi­o­lent crimes of op­por­tu­nity while vis­it­ing a va­ri­ety of coun­tries in­clud­ing Mex­ico, Columbia, El Sal­vador, Haiti, and Hon­duras. Gang- and nar­cotics-re­lated vi­o­lence is of con­cern, and the U.S. gov­ern­ment web­site has is­sued a travel warn­ing for these ar­eas.

- So­ma­lia Mil­i­tants as­so­ci­ated with both the al-Qaida, Isis, and al-Shabaab op­er­ate un­hin­dered through­out large parts of the coun­try. Mogadishu’s in­ter­na­tional air­port com­plex has been re­peat­edly at­tacked with im­pro­vised ve­hi­cle bombs, mor­tars, and di­rect weapons fire.

Ad­di­tion­ally, as per the U.S. Dept of State web­site, U.S. cit­i­zens should even avoid cruises that sail near the coast of So­ma­lia due to the risk of pi­rate at­tacks. Mer­chant ves­sels, fish­ing boats, and recreational craft all risk seizure and de­ten­tion by pirates in the wa­ters off the Horn of Africa, es­pe­cially in the in­ter­na­tional wa­ters near So­ma­lia.

- Ukraine The De­part­ment of State warns U.S. cit­i­zens to avoid all travel to Crimea and the eastern re­gions of Donetsk and Luhansk, even just as a con­nect­ing flight. Rus­sian-led sep­a­ratists con­tinue to con­trol the ar­eas and vi­o­lent clashes have re­sulted in over 9,000 deaths. Vis­it­ing U.S. cit­i­zens have been threat­ened, de­tained, or kid­napped for hours or days af­ter be­ing stopped at sep­a­ratist check­points, and one U.S. cit­i­zen work­ing for OSCE’s Spe­cial Mon­i­tor­ing Mis­sion was killed in­side the non-gov­ern­ment con­trolled area of Luhansk.

- Zika Af­fected Ar­eas The Zika virus con­tin­ues to pose a threat to preg­nant women, po­ten­tially caus­ing se­vere birth de­fects to the fe­tus. The Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol and pre­ven­tion have high­lighted the fol­low­ing ar­eas for height­ened risks and travel warn­ings: Aruba, Bar­ba­dos, An­tigua, Cay­man Is­lands, Ja­maica, Saint Martin, Saint Lu­cia, Bri­tish Vir­gin Is­lands, Mex­ico, much of South Amer­ica in­clud­ing Brazil, Bo­livia and Ar­gentina, and much of mid Africa in­clud­ing the Repub­lic of Congo, among other neigh­bor­ing ar­eas.

Pres­i­dent Ni­co­las Maduro of Venezuela has been branded a dic­ta­tor. As many as 130 peo­ple have been killed this year in a wave of anti-gov­ern­ment protests. Ac­cord­ing to Global Edge, Venezuela poses the high­est risk in po­lit­i­cal and eco­nomic sit­u­a­tion and the most dif­fi­cult busi­ness en­vi­ron­ment

This Mediter­ranean coast­line on the south­east cor­ner of France has be­come a hotspot for Ji­hadists. Last July, a ter­ror­ist with psy­chi­atric is­sues drove his truck into 400 Bastille Day rev­el­ers in Nice killing 86 peo­ple

The U.S. De­part­ment of state has a Travel alert for Turkey. U.S. Cit­i­zens are warned not to travel here due to in­creased threats from ter­ror­ist groups par­tic­u­larly in the South­east of Turkey, in­clud­ing Adana.

In April, four peo­ple were killed and at least fif­teen were in­jured when a man drove a truck down a busy shop­ping street in Stock­holm

U.S. cit­i­zens are par­tic­u­larly vul­ner­a­ble to kid­nap-for-ran­som at­tempts and vi­o­lent crimes of op­por­tu­nity while vis­it­ing a va­ri­ety of coun­tries in­clud­ing Mex­ico

In Barcelona, a van raced down the pop­u­lar tourist prom­e­nade of Las Ram­blas, killing 15 and in­jur­ing over 120 civil­ians

On June 3, eight peo­ple were killed with many more in­jured in a ter­ror at­tack on Lon­don Bridge and in nearby Bor­ough Mar­ket

On May 22, in Manch­ester a lone sui­cide bomber killed 22 peo­ple and in­jured 59 oth­ers at an Ariana Grande concert

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