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Indian Ocean Archipelago Nation Bars All Israeli Citizens from Entry

The Foreign Ministry on Sunday recommended that Israelis — including those with other passports — avoid traveling to the Maldives, after the island nation announced that Israeli passport holders will be banned.

Israel also recommended that citizens living in the Indian Ocean archipelago weigh leaving, as it would be difficult to assist them should they find themselves in danger.

“For Israeli citizens already in the country, it is recommended to consider leaving, because if they find themselves in distress for any reason, it will be difficult for us to assist,” the Foreign Ministry ministry said in a statement.

The Maldives government on Sunday announced a cabinet decision to change laws to prevent Israeli passport holders from entering the country and also establish a subcommittee to oversee the process, as public anger in the predominantly Muslim nation rises over the ongoing war in Gaza.

The tiny Islamic republic of more than 1,000 strategically located coral islets is known for its secluded sandy white beaches, shallow turquoise lagoons and Robinson Crusoe-style getaways.

Nearly 11,000 Israelis visited the luxury tourist hotspot last year, accounting for a tiny 0.6 percent of the Maldives’ total tourist arrivals.

President Mohamed Muizzu has “resolved to impose a ban on Israeli passports,” a spokesman for his office said in a statement, without giving details of when the new law would take effect.

He also announced a national fundraising campaign called “Maldivians in Solidarity with Palestine.”

In December, Israel issued a travel warning to Israelis against visiting the Maldives, citing increased anti-Israel sentiment during the war with Hamas. The warning came “due to the heightened anti-Israel atmosphere, including public comments by officials.”

Israel does not have diplomatic ties with the Muslim-majority nation after they were suspended in 1974. However, Israelis have been allowed to visit the country famed for its island atolls since the Maldives lifted a previous ban on Israeli tourists in the early 1990s and moved to restore relations in 2010, though that diplomatic effort was abandoned in 2014.

The war in Gaza erupted after Hamas’s October 7 massacre, which saw some 3,000 terrorists burst across the border into Israel by land, air and sea, killing some 1,200 people and seizing 252 hostages, mostly civilians, many amid acts of brutality and sexual assault.

Vowing to destroy Hamas and return the hostages, Israel launched a wide-scale military campaign in Gaza that has drawn international ire as the death toll mounts and a humanitarian crisis looms in the densely-populated coastal enclave.