Americans, Canadians and citizens of most Western countries simply require a passport to come to Israel: no visa is required. Your passport must be valid for at least six months from the date you enter the country. For more information and a list of countries that do not need a visa, click here.
Israel is an extremely safe country to visit and tour. In 2012, close to four million tourists came to Israel, an all-time record, and all of them went back home again safe and sound. We would not encourage tourists to come if we felt they would be in the slightest danger.
Crossing from Jerusalem to Bethlehem is direct, easy and no prior authorization is required. Hundreds of tourists make the crossing in both directions every day. As always, it’s wise to check on the political situation before entering the Palestinian Authority. Please note to take your passport with you, you’ll need to present it to re-enter Israeli-controlled territory. It’s recommended to double check your car rental insurance before your visit. If your visit in the Palestinian Authority isn’t covered you might prefer to hire a driver or visit with a tour group. For more information about visiting areas outside the Israeli responsibility please contact the IDF Public Relations office.
Not at all. Israel is an entirely western country with an advanced level of hygiene, health care, diagnosis and medicine that is the envy of much of the world and on a par with the best of North America and Western Europe.
Absolutely: tap water in Israel is safe and delicious. But, you will also find bottled mineral water everywhere. (It’s important to make sure you drink a lot, especially if you are walking, hiking or exercising during hot weather.)
TRAVELING TO AND FROM ISRAEL
Absolutely, many visitors to Israel take a day tour to Petra in Jordan. You can fly between Tel Aviv and Amman, or travel overland through a number of border crossings. (You should check with the Jordan tourist offices if you need to obtain a visa before you leave home.)
Sure. Israel no longer stamps tourists’ passports. Records are now kept electronically.
More than 80 airlines operate flights to Israel’s Ben Gurion International Airport (known simply as Tel Aviv or TLV). Five airlines operate as many as ten flights a day nonstop from North America to Tel Aviv (Air Canada, Delta,, United, US Airways) El Al, operates many direct flights from the United States, Europe, the Far East, and Africa. Other Israeli airlines such as Arkia and Israir operate flights from central locations in Europe. There are no direct flights to Israel from distant locations such as Australia or South Africa, or from countries that have no diplomatic relations with Israel. It is therefore a good idea to reserve a connecting flight from these places, or to arrive in Europe and then purchase a ticket to Israel.
Most visitors arrive at Ben Gurion International Airport (TLV) 20-minutes from the heart of Tel Aviv, 35 minutes from Jerusalem. If you’re arriving without prior land arrangements, there are cabs at the airport, bus services – and trains are available from the airport station (take the airport elevator to the lowest level) to Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Netanya and Haifa.
Israel has a sophisticated system of highways, buses, trains and domestic flights. Follow these links to know more.
The electric current in Israel is 220 volts, C, single phase, 50 Hertz, the same as in Europe. Most Israeli sockets are three-pronged but most accept European two-pronged plugs. If your appliance does not work on 220 volts, you will need an adaptor. Your hotels should have adapters available. Most hotel bathrooms have hair-dryers as well as low-wattage American-style sockets for electric shavers in which you can usually charge your cell-phone or tablet.
Most hotels in Israel have Wi-Fi available for hotel guests at customary prices. Many cafes and restaurants offer a complementary Wi-Fi service. Since September 2013, Tel Aviv offers a citywide free Wi-Fi network which provides 80 free Internet “hot spots” across the city.
If you have an international plan, your cell phone may work in Israel, please check with your local provider.
Certainly. You can rent a phone when you arrive at any time during your visit.
Israel is a year round destination.Israel enjoys long, warm, dry summers and generally mild winters with somewhat drier, cooler weather in hilly regions, such as Jerusalem and Safed. Temperatures can vary widely so just pack for the ``right`` weather and you'll be fine. For more specific information, click here
In Summer, lightweight T-shirts, sleeveless shirts, shorts, and a bathing suit are recommended. Pack a sweater or a jacket for nights in the mountains or the desert. In winter, bring long sleeve shirts, sweaters and a scarf, gloves, a warm coat, and a raincoat and an umbrella. Some religious sites require long pants for men and clothing that covers the shoulders and knees for women.
MONEY AND CURRENCY
The Shekel; you’ll find it abbreviated as NIS (New Israeli Shekel).
You can use your ATM card to obtain Shekels at ATM’s throughout Israel. You can also use American Express, MasterCard and Visa cards at most Israeli hotels, restaurants and stores.
The Vat (Value Added Tax) in Israel is 18%. It’s already included in most prices in Israel. VAT is waived for tourists at hotels, tour companies and car rental agencies. Like in Europe and elsewhere, tourists can receive a refund of the VAT they paid on purchases when departing the country, the refund program and the purchase amount in one tax invoice including V.A.T. must exceed ILS. 400.
Shabbat (the Sabbath) is the Jewish holy day of the week observed every Saturday. Shabbat starts at sunset on Friday and ends at sundown on Saturday evening. All public offices are closed on Shabbat, as are banks, most stores and businesses; throughout Israel there is a growing number of shops open on Shabbat. In most cities, public transportation (trains and buses) do not operate on Shabbat. Most non-kosher restaurants are open on Shabbat. It is recommended to check in advance if you are planning on visiting a specific location. Radio and TV broadcasts operate as usual.