טורקיה תיירות בצל קריסת הלירה הטורקית
Istanbul's tourism hot spot Istiklal Street
Photo: AP
Turkish police in Istanbul

Israeli tourists keeping low profile in Turkey amid security threats

After reports of Iranian plot targeting Israelis and travel warning to states that border Iran, guide working with Israelis says she no longer conducts tours in Hebrew and joins local co-worker to blur group's Israeli makeup

Alexandra Lukash, Shiri Hadar |
Published: 06.13.22, 14:23
Israeli tourists visiting Turkey said Monday they were keeping their presence in that country out of public awareness due to Iranian attempts to harm nationals of the Jewish state abroad.
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  • It was revealed Sunday that Israeli and Turkish intelligence services recently foiled an Iranian plot to attack Israeli targets on Turkish soil, according to senior Israeli officials. Israel also issued a severe travel warning for Turkey and other countries bordering Iran.
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    שוטרים באיסטנבול, ארכיון
    שוטרים באיסטנבול, ארכיון
    Turkish police in Istanbul
    (Photo: Shutterstock)
    "We are speaking quietly and not shouting out in Hebrew," Eti Tal told Ynet in an interview. "But we feel safe," she said.
    "There is a clear police and military presence everywhere you look," Tal said, adding that some Israelis are easily identified and heard.
    "We are keeping a low profile and sometimes when we are asked where we are from, and we claim to be from different countries," she said.
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    אתי טל עם בן זוגה באיסטנבול
    אתי טל עם בן זוגה באיסטנבול
    Eti Tal and partner during their visit to Turkey
    Meital Levy, a tour guide for Israelis in Istanbul, says security in the city is tight, but that it is not prompted by the latest reports. "Istanbul always had heavy security," she said. "I cannot detect an increase. But the areas frequented by Israelis are always guarded well so I feel safe," she said.
    Although Meital agreed to an interview with Ynet, she asked not to appear on camera, fearing possible repercussions after the latest reports.
    She agreed that Israelis are now more hesitant to book visits to Turkey and there have been cancellatons. "I cannot argue against the travel warning or claim we are completely at ease. We are less loud and prominent," she said.
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    טורקיה תיירות בצל קריסת הלירה הטורקית
    טורקיה תיירות בצל קריסת הלירה הטורקית
    Istanbul's tourism hot spot Istiklal Street
    (Photo: AP)
    "I now conduct my tours in other languages and not in Hebrew and tell my groups how best to behave," she said. "We also have a Turkish guide with us at all times to help hide the fact that we are Israelis," she said.
    Tourism agencies have not responded to Ynet queries on trip cancellations but in the past, Israelis would take warning into consideration, and many are likely to change their planned destinations accordingly.
    Most planned travel is scheduled for the summer months and Israelis may also be waiting to see if security concerns remain in place, one tourist agency said adding that the requests in the past couple of days have been mostly for trips to Greece and Cyprus.




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