More and more people are traveling to Israel. I myself went to Israel a few months ago and I had some questions beforehand. You occasionally hear negative news about Israel in the news and that may cause you to doubt the security of the country. Do you want to travel to Israel? I answer the questions you may also have about traveling to Israel.
Traveling to Israel, 10 things you want to know!
Traveling to Israel
Israel is a democratic republic in the Middle East and has a total area of 22,145 km2. The country is elongated and is approximately 420 kilometers long from north to south. Israel borders on Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Egypt and the Gaza Strip. About 8 million people live in Israel and the official languages of the country are Hebrew and Arabic. 82% of the population are followers of the Jewish faith, 14% followers of Islam, 2.7% Christians and 1.7% of the population are Druze.
The capital of Israel is the holy city of Jerusalem. One of the most popular destinations in Israel is the seaside town of Tel Aviv. Israel lies on the Dead Sea and because of the high salt content you can float here on the water.
1. Is it safe to travel to Israel?
It is important to check the actual travel advice from the Government before you leave. Although you notice little to nothing about the unrest in many places in Israel, there are sometimes tensions in certain places. You see this through the soldiers on the street and because you have to deal with strict controls at many places of interest. But I have not felt safe in Israel for a moment.
2. Do I have to arrange a visa for Israel in advance?
You do not have to arrange a visa in advance for your trip to Israel. Upon arrival at the airport in Israel you will receive a visa on arrival and you can stay in Israel for 90 days. You will not receive a stamp in your passport, but a separate piece of paper that you must keep well.
3. Is the control strict at the airport in Israel?
At the airport at home you will already be asked a few short questions about your trip to Israel. Please note that you have a passport that is valid for more than six months upon departure from Israel. The check at the airport in Israel is very strict and they ask you a lot of questions. This applies to almost everyone, especially if you have quite a few stamps from previous journeys in your passport. It is smart to arrange all the accommodations for the first nights or for your entire trip so that you can present this to customs.
Questions that can be asked upon arrival in Israel:
- What are your plans in Israel?
- Where are you going in Israel?
- Do you know people in Israel?
- How long do you stay in Israel?
- What kind of work do you do?
- What are the full names of your father and grandfather?
Always answer all questions honestly, because although the check is very strict, you will not be rejected quickly.
4. Can I enter Israel with stamps from Iran, Yemen and Sudan in my passport?
Half a year before my trip to Israel I had received a new passport and therefore there were only a few stamps from countries in Asia in my passport. I have been to Iran myself, but there was no stamp in my new passport. I have heard from other travelers that if you have stamps from, for example, Iran, Yemen and Sudan in your passport, you will be admitted to Israel, but that you can expect a lot of questions.
5. Is traveling in Israel expensive?
I find Israel not a cheap destination and eating out and groceries are just as expensive as at home in the Netherlands. Alcohol and accommodations are also certainly pricey.
6. Do you have to take into account the shabbat in Israel?
Shabbat is from Friday 4:00 pm to Saturday 7:00 pm and this means that almost all shops and restaurants are closed on Saturdays, but also that buses and trains are not running. On these days you can only travel with taxis or shared sharuts (small vans). Palestinian buses run normally and the shops in the Arab and Christian neighborhoods are often open.
7. Do people speak English in Israel?
In Israel, many things, such as menus and information boards, are indicated in Hebrew. And it is very difficult to read this. But luckily many Israelis speak English and are willing to help you.
8. What about debit card payments in Israel?
I have been able to use PIN anywhere in Israel, but I have heard from other travelers that they sometimes had problems. You can also pay with your credit card almost anywhere, which is why it is convenient to take it with you. You can also pay with Euros or US dollars in various places.
9. What can I take photos of in Israel?
It is forbidden to take photos of military sites or of military personnel. You also notice that many Orthodox Jews do not like it when you take a picture of them.
10. Can you easily travel from Israel to the Palestinian territories?
It is easy for tourists to travel from Israel to the Palestinian territories. From Jerusalem you can be in the middle of the West Bank within an hour and encounter few to no checks. If you travel back from Palestine to Israel, you will be checked.
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What is the best travel time for Israel?
The best travel time for Israel is the months from April to October. During these months, the weather conditions are ideal for an active holiday, a round trip or for a beach holiday. The best months for a purely beach holiday in Tel Aviv are June, July, August and September. During these months there is no rain in the coastal region and the sea has a water temperature between 24 and 27 degrees Celsius. The number of hours of sunshine per day is 10 to 12 and the temperature varies between 28 and 31 degrees Celsius during the day. The best time for a tour with a lot of sightseeing is spring and autumn and then the temperature is between 21 and 26 degrees. In October it is on average warmer than in the spring with temperatures between 25 and 28 degrees. On average, it rains in these months on two to eight days.
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