If you are a US citizen or permanent resident and plan to travel to Israel on business or pleasure, you may want to take your guitar out of your suitcase before boarding.
A recent report by the Institute for Security Studies found that about a quarter of all flights from the US to Israel have been delayed by security concerns.
It is an increasingly common sight in airports, hotels and shopping malls in Israel to find luggage waiting for the arrival of an Israeli flight, with people even carrying guitars out of their luggage.
The security experts said the move was a reminder that travel to and from Israel was more secure in the US than in Israel.
According to the Institute’s report, about 90% of the passengers arriving in Israel by air were US citizens or residents.
It said the number of passengers with a visa and the number with a security clearance increased by more than 20% in the first three months of this year.
A spokesman for the US Department of Homeland Security, Robert Lighthizer, told the AP news agency that the US had “a very strong policy” against people carrying instruments of terrorism on US soil.
“Any US citizen, permanent resident or non-resident who travels to or from Israel or is admitted to Israel is subject to the full range of US and Israeli security laws, including security screenings at entry and exit points,” he said.”US citizens and permanent residents can be stopped at the US-Israel border without a visa, as long as they comply with all requirements of US law.”
The travel ban is one of the most common of a number of measures aimed at curbing the flow of people to Israel and other Arab states that have recently faced growing criticism over the influx of immigrants from the Middle East.
A similar policy was put in place in September, when President Donald Trump issued an executive order barring travellers from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen from entering the US for at least 90 days.
The travel bans, which also affect people from some countries including Cuba and Chad, were criticised by human rights groups and other critics.
It was the second time in less than two months that the administration had put a ban in place to curb the flow.
In November, the US revoked visas to more than 3,000 Iranian students, as part of a crackdown on what it said were Iranian threats to national security.
The State Department said it would continue to work with the US government on a range of security-related issues, including the implementation of visa waivers and the return of foreign nationals to the US.