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World News

Map shows countries banning Israeli passport holders

The Maldives has announced it will ban Israelis from entering the small South Asian island nation, in response to the war in Gaza.

The archipelago’s Minister of Internal Security and Technology announced “the ban on Israeli passports” during a press conference on June 2, according to a statement from the president’s office. It comes as political leaders in the world’s smallest Muslim-majority country increasingly pressure President Mohamed Muizzu to act to protest the war.

The context

Restrictions on Israeli passport holders are not new. As of 2023, 28 countries do not recognize Israel as a sovereign nation and 16 of them do not allow entry to citizens with Israeli passports.

Maldives President Mohamed Muizzu
Maldives President Mohamed Muizzu looks on after reading the oath during his inauguration ceremony in Male on November 17, 2023. On June 2, he announced that the Maldives would ban Israeli passport holders from entering…


ISHARA S. KODIKARA/AFP via Getty Images

The Maldives suspended diplomatic relations with Israel 50 years ago, but Israeli people have been able to visit the Maldives since the early 1990s, when the country lifted a previous ban on Israeli tourism.

According to Palestinian officials, the Israeli offensive in Gaza has killed more than 36,000 people, after Hamas and other militant groups launched an attack in southern Israel on October 7. This attack killed around 1,200 people and took 250 people hostage.

What we know

Since 2024, several countries have refused entry to Israeli passport holders. These include key countries in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, such as Syria, Lebanon, Iran and Iraq, which have long-standing non-recognition policies. towards Israel due to political conflicts.

The move brings the Maldives in line with other Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) member states, which have imposed similar restrictions.

The map below shows which countries do not accept Israeli passports.

Algeria, Bangladesh, Brunei, Iran, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Pakistan, Syria and Yemen all impose bans on Israeli nationals, including Israeli Arabs. These countries do not recognize the State of Israel and, as such, do not allow entry to Israeli passport holders.

Other countries have policies that prohibit Israeli citizens except in certain circumstances. Iraq bans Israeli nationals except in Iraqi Kurdistan, Oman will not allow Israeli nationals except for transit reasons, and Saudi Arabia imposes a ban except for religious and commercial reasons. Malaysia also does not allow Israeli nationals unless they have a residence permit obtained from the Ministry of Interior.

Following the Maldivian government’s announcement on Sunday, the Israeli Foreign Ministry advised its citizens to “avoid all travel to the Maldives.”

In a statement on its website, the ministry said it was recommending that all Israelis currently in the country leave, “because in times of distress it will be difficult for us to provide assistance.”

Aerial shot of Maldives
An aerial view of Mahabadhoo, Maldives. This popular tourist spot in the Indian Ocean has announced that it will ban Israeli passport holders from traveling there.

Carl Court/Getty Images

And after

The statement from Muizzu’s office said a Cabinet subcommittee would be set up to oversee efforts to implement the ban on Israelis entering the country, but there was no mention of date for the entry into force of the ban.

News week emailed the president’s office for further comment.

The Maldivian government also announced that it would launch a fundraising campaign for Palestinians and hold a national rally titled “Maldivians in Solidarity with Palestine.”