News alert – Israel 23.10.2023
Please find below our latest update on the effects of the Israel – Hamas War (operation “Swords of Steel”). As always, please do not hesitate to reach out should you have any questions on the below.
We are monitoring the safety recommendations closely through official channels and will update on a regular basis.
As of October 7th, the State of Israel is in a complex security situation, which affects all who reside in the country, including foreign expats.
Israel has begun mass evacuation of towns. Overall, more than 130,000 Israeli residents of cities, towns and villages near the borders of Gaza in the south and Lebanon in the north have evacuated their homes for safer parts of the country over the past two weeks. There are approximately 56,000 hotel rooms in Israel as a whole, and the hotel association warns of a situation where there will not be enough rooms for all the evacuees.
Many countries continue to evacuate diplomats and foreign citizens from Israel. Foreign nationals living in Israel can reach out to their Embassy for information about emergency evacuation flights. The US Embassy publishes daily security alerts with helpful information, see here.
Ocean remains fully operational. Service delivery of all types – relocation, immigration, temporary housing, and international shipping are available. Like many other organizations, Ocean is proud to support displaced Israeli families who have been affected by the war, by gifting much needed supplies.
While there is no mandatory stay at home request, it is recommended to be aware of surrounding shelters when commuting. Local Municipalities inform its residents via its networks of the public protected spaces available. Different regions are affected daily by missile attacks, and as such, as well as factoring in potential risks, the Home Front Command have issued geographic specific security guidelines, details below.
Arrival and departure from Israel
Foreign airlines have reduced substantially the number of Israeli bound commercial flights, and some are no longer offering services to Israel. ElAl airlines, the national carrier of Israel, operates in accordance with the instructions of the Israeli security forces, servicing worldwide destinations, but availability of seats is low. ElAl has established an automatically updated interface where you can see the availability of seats in real time for the coming days – click here. In addition, there are daily chartered flights from & to Cyprus and Greece operated by Israir Airlines, Tus Airlines and Arkia Airlines. Ben Gurion Airport Arrivals and Departures Board – see here.
Relocation Service delivery
Ocean is continuously working to ensure we support the expat community in Israel as much as possible during these challenging times.
We continue to leverage our online service platform to provide a centralized home for credible resources and vetted local information, communicate about potential properties, maintain service checklists, and offer additional guidance.
Our office remains open Sunday-Thursday 08:30-17:00. We are assisting our clients with much needed support in moving their goods and pets, storage, evacuating, finding new accommodation, temporary accommodation bookings or seeking immigration support. On the ground services and support are available with some restrictions.
For customers wo have left Israel and are not returning, we can assist with closing out the apartments, arranging for someone to pack personal goods left behind including furniture they want shipped, as well as bank account closure and auto rentals returns.
Should it be required, Ocean DSP team is ready to deliver accompanied destination services on a virtual basis through RelocationOnline, our DSP technology platform.
The foreign expert’s unit at the Population and Immigration Authority processes new work permit applications including extensions of current permits. That said, employers should expect some delays in visa processing. In addition, the Population and Immigration Authority has informed that due to the current security situation in Israel, there is an extension for the residence visas for all foreigners who are in Israel with a valid visa and whose validity will expire within the next month. This includes foreign workers staying in Israel. The visas are extended until November 9th, 2023. Currently, there is no extension on this date. At the end of this period and in the absence of any other notification from the Authority, foreigners must leave Israel unless they have extended their visa.
In addition, as of 19 October and with immediate effect, eligible Israeli citizens can now enjoy visa-free short-term travel to the United States. This will be achieved by seeking authorization through the U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA). In addition, US Non-immigrant and immigrant visa services continue to be suspended at the US Embassy Jerusalem and Branch Office Tel Aviv.
Packing and deliveries can be arranged nationwide, except for restricted areas close to the Gaza strip and Lebanon border. Customs office is operating as usual with some delays.
While the main Israeli ports – Haifa and Ashdod – remain open, activity is restricted. Cargo shipments originally destined for Ashdod are discharged at Haifa port, and port congestions are expected. Drivers and trucks were recruited for national purposes and transportation from and to ports could be delayed. In light of the war situation, insurers have imposed an additional insurance premium of war risk on all vessels calling Israeli ports and some shipping lines have announced a War Risk Premium on relevant shipments.
Air shipments are delayed because of flight suspensions and cancellations. Please consult with the Ocean Shipping team about flights bookings.
Due to the ongoing evacuation plans by the government, many serviced apartment operators are now hosting displaced Israelis but there is still availability of serviced apartment units, mainly 1 and 2 bedrooms apartments in Tel Aviv, Herzliya, Haifa and Jerusalem. It is recommended to secure housing which has access to a protected reinforced space (room or a shelter).
Large supermarkets, small neighbourhood grocery stores and pharmacies remain open.
Beaches are closed. Leisure activities such as the cinema, are closed. Large shopping malls are mainly closed, with some easing of regulations in areas less affected by rocket attacks. Public transport is available. Public parks and playgrounds remain open, where often a public shelter is available. Workplaces largely remain open as it is possible to carry out an activity in a place from which a standard protected space can be reached within the time available to reach shelter. Some workplaces might be operating with restricted hours.
Most Schools including the American International School are offering virtual learning and some onsite programs. According to region and specific regulations, the home front are regularly updating if schools or kindergartens can re-open on a part-time basis, and if so, what regulations apply i.e. the requirement of a protected space. If the situation improves, the American Int’l School will be open again on Monday.
All hospitals and emergency rooms are accessible. Doctors’ appointments can be made.
Homefront Command & traffic lights system
The Homefront Command (Pikud Haoref) is entrusted with civil defence in routine times and in emergencies. In order to protect the lives of the residents on the one hand and enable an emergency life routine on the other hand, the Home Front Command has the legal authority to establish and disseminate daily guidelines, which outline the mode of activity in the various areas of life. Its purpose is to reinforce national resilience and save lives by preparing and supporting civilians. The English website regularly updates official guidelines and information. The safety instructions of the Home Front Command in the various languages can be found at the following link.
The Home Front Command’s daily civil defence guidelines are divided into four levels, labelled by the colors green, yellow, orange and red (the Ramzor system). Each guideline area is classified by color based on these levels, from a green classification that means that activity is being held as usual, up to a red classification, indicating that only essential activity for critical services is provided. The guidelines are based on a daily assessment of the situation in the Home Front Command, which takes into account the danger to the population in a particular geographical area and relate to educational activities, capacity limit at public gatherings, both indoors and outdoors, and workplace guidelines.
Missile attack alerts: choosing a protected space
The recommended time to reach the protected space varies across the country. In the vast majority of cases, the duration of the siren is equal to the amount of time needed to find shelter. For regulations regarding the protected space, click here.
Preparing your home
As war may spread to other fronts, it is recommended by the Home Front Command to stock up on items at home in case of emergencies. Items such as battery-operated lights / radios, dried food goods and items that are essential to you in accordance with the characteristics of the family, such as baby food, unique equipment for people with disabilities, and the like. For more informationn click here.
In case of any questions, please reach out to email@example.com.