Safety tends to be one of the first questions/concerns for travelers to Israel. At the end of a tour, ironically, many of our tourists have commented how they felt much safer while on the tour, being in Israel, than they did in their own home country.
Israel and the Middle East tend to draw the media in for many different reasons. Many while here realize first hand how the media poorly portrays what life really looks like here. Tourism is one of Israel’s top industries, both for Arabs and Jews. Millions are still coming every year to visit the Holy Land.
Israel Bible Tours would never encourage tourists to come if we felt they would be in the slightest bit of danger.
Emergency Numbers in Israel
Police: Dial 100
Ambulance: Dial 101
Fire department: Dial 102
Travel insurance is highly recommended for medical coverage, baggage, and trip cancellation. IBT has recommendations available upon request.
Special meals, for health reasons, may be available upon request.
Medications should be packed in carry-ons. Most basic over the counter medications can be purchased in country, but we recommend you bring your own, if you anticipate needing them.
The tours require quite a bit of walking, so we recommend you check with your doctor for good physical health and try to exercise regularly before coming. Most of the sites along the tour will be handicap accessible, however some are not. We will always do our best to accommodate for those in need.
Water- the tap water is safe to drink in Israel.
What to Pack
Bring clothes you do not mind getting dusty/dirty.
For visits to religious sites and areas, we recommend that you bring a little more modest clothing. This means skirts or pants that reach below the knee for women (a skirt that can be easily worn over clothes is a great solution), and shirts covering shoulders for both men and women (a light scarf is another great idea for women to throw over their shoulders). For men there are some sites where you must wear pants for modesty.
Comfortable and good shoes for walking/hiking. You may want closed water shoes for Hezekiah’s Water Tunnels and possibly the Dead Sea.
Light jacket as it can be cool in the mornings and evenings during the spring, summer, and fall. In the winter time you will need a heavy jacket/coat and warm clothes and possibly appropriate rain gear/clothing.
Travel alarm clock
Cellphones & Electronic Appliances
Cell Phone usage
There are places to buy pre-paid phone cards in Israel, or you may check with your cell phone provider before coming for international plans.
It is advised to set your phone to “airplane mode,” when leaving your country until the time you arrive back in your country so you will not receive any unexpected charges on your phone while abroad. You have the option to set your phone on “wifi” while still on airplane mode in Israel, and can use the wifi on most buses, in most restaurants, and in the hotels.
Israel uses 220 volts AC, single phase, 50 Hertz. Most of the hotels have hair dryers and 110/220 electric shaver sockets (will take shavers from either voltage). More of the expensive appliances such as cell phones, computers, IPads, and cameras only require a small adapter, while other small appliances such as flat irons, hair dryers, etc… will require a converter.
For more information please see http://www.megavolt.co.il/Tips_and_info/visitor.html
Please check the link http://www.xe.com for the updated conversion rate to Israel’s NIS (New Israeli Shekel) currency. If bringing cash to exchange into NIS it is best to bring large bills. Most shops and restaurants accept USD, and you may want to bring small bills for this. There are ATMs, but it’s not always convenient to find one depending where you are on the tour each day. You should notify your bank before traveling that you will be abroad so your card will not be blocked.
Visas & Passports
Upon entering Israel, you must have a passport that is valid for at least 6 months from the date of your arrival. We recommend that you keep a photocopy of your passport in your purse or wallet.
A visa is not required for US citizens traveling to Israel. You will receive a 90 day tourist visa (FREE) at the Israel airport.
Citizens of other countries must check your government travel websites for requirements. Please contact our office regarding visas for Jordan, if you plan to travel there.
For baggage allowance please check with your airline carrier for how many bags you’re allowed to bring, and size and weight restrictions.
Most airlines allow only 1 checked and 1 carry on.
Because the tour will consist of multiple hotels and carrying bags on and off of buses, into hotels, etc… we recommend only bringing 1 checked and 1 carry on bag on as well.
Be prepared for security checks for all of your luggage at the airport.
Since luggage could be misplaced, or delayed by airlines it is recommended to pack essential items of clothing and hygiene for 1-2 days in your carry on. It is also a good idea to pack some light snacks for the plane ride, although some will be provided on board.
Entering Israel’s Ben Gurion International Airport
Passport Control: You can inform the immigration officer when asked, that you are coming for a tour of Israel. You may need to give them Israel Bible Tour’s name. You will receive your tourist visa in the form of a small card. Please be sure to keep it tucked away in your passport throughout your entire time in Israel.
Proceed to collect your bags in the baggage claim and exit to the Arrivals Hall where a representative with Israel Bible Tours will be waiting with a designated sign (if beginning your tour with Israel Bible Tours at the airport).
For any other information about Ben Gurion International Airport see http://www.iaa.gov.il/en-US/airports/BenGurion/Pages/default.asp.
Israeli Customs & Culture
Shabbat or the Sabbath (day of rest) is the holiest day of the week in Israel. It begins at sun-down on Friday, evening and ends at sun-down on Saturday, evening. In most cities throughout the country many things shut down for Shabbat (buses, restaurants, stores, sites, etc…). It is very peaceful and calm, yet can also be difficult for tourists on their own who might want to get out and do things. There are still certain sites and places that are open however.
For a list of Israel’s holidays and dates please see https://www.timeanddate.com/holidays/israel/
Most of the sites and places in Israel, are very westernized and clean, including the restrooms. You may still want to carry a small pack of tissue or wipes along with you.
The food is usually one of the top things that tourists enjoy about Israel. You will want to be sure to try the hummus, falafels, and shawarmas, and the fresh pita of course.
Hebrew is the main language of Israel, however English and Arabic are also widely spoken. Most places throughout the country, including the airport and major roads, all have signs written in all 3 languages. It is very easy to communicate with people in English as the majority speak it in Israel, even if as a second language.
Although, many people are happy to speak to you in English, in the country, it can really bring a smile to their faces when they hear foreigners trying to speak their language. Provided below are some helpful phrases in both Hebrew and Arabic should you want to give it a try!
|Hello, good-bye or peace||Shalom|
|Good morning||Boker tov|
|Good evening||Erev tov|
|Thank you (very much)||Toda (raba)|
|Excuse me/I’m sorry||Slicha|
|What is your name? (male/female)||Ech korim lecha/lach?|
|My name is…||Shmi…|
|How are you? (male/female)||Ma shlomcha/shlomech?|
|Good morning||Sabah el kheer|
|Good evening!||Masaa el kheer|
|How are you? (male/female)||Keefak/Keefek|
|Good, thank you||Tamam, shokran|
|Thank you (very much)||Shokran (katir)|
|You’re welcome! (for “thank you”)||Al’afw|
|What is your name?||Shu ismak/ismek (female)|