Israel Travel Information
The Holy Land – Israel is a land of contrasts, a young nation built on an ancient inheritance. The country is approximately 65 miles wide and 200 miles long. There is no gold or silver here to make it worth conquering. Even the late Golda Meir said,”…Moses traveled the wilderness for 40 years and then settled the one spot that had no oil!” Israel is approximately one third the size of Utah with a population of approximately 8 (eight) million people. It is a land where differing religious traditions compete for attention. Israel is the center of the Jewish religion and holds a preeminent place among Christians as the site of Jesus’s birth, death, and resurrection. Moreover, Jerusalem is one of the holiest sites of the Islamic faith, for it’s from here, Moslems believe, that Mohammed ascended to heaven. Israel is a good land where Jews, Christians, and Moslems raise their families in peace. There is a feeling of unexplained serenity and youthful exuberance here, even though Israel’s history is almost as old as civilization itself… a country 57 years old, going on 5000.
The fragile beauty and majesty of this country, praised in the Bible’s poetic prose, continue to enchant visitors today. Her landscapes are as varied as her people, with oceans and seas, plains and mountains. The climate is rainy during the months of December, January and some of February, and balmy during the months of May and June. It is also VERY GREEN! Bordered by the Mediterranean Sea on its west and the Red Sea on its south, the southern two-thirds of the country consists primarily of the Negev Desert.
Jerusalem, Israel’s capital, is the crossroads of the east. Visitors to Jerusalem are impressed time and time again by the city’s rich blend of cultures and traditions. The heritage of millennia of the holy places of Judaism, Christianity and Islam is found in every corner. Jerusalem is a city where every stone has a story to tell.
“Whoever has not seen Jerusalem in all its glory has never beheld a beautiful city” (Talmud, Succah 51).
|Electrical||220 AC. 50 cycles. Wall plugs are the 3 pin or 2 pin European type.|
|Current||American appliances will need adapter plug and transformer.|
|Language||The official language is Hebrew; Arabic, English and French are also widely spoken.|
|Currency||1 Shekels (NS) = 100 Agorot (AG). Exchange rate is approximately 4.50 Shekels per US dollar.|
|Time||Israel is nine hours ahead of Mountain time and seven hours ahead of Eastern Standard time.|
|Health||Israel is a well developed country where tap water is safe for drinking.|
|Regulations||No Immunizations are required. *Note* Anyone with a blood/sugar level problem should carry a few extra snacks for between meals.|
|Documents||Passports are required for international travel. No visa is required in Israel. Keep your passport and airline tickets on you and not packed in checked luggage.|
|Customs||Personal items are admitted duty free. US customs rules allow US residents who have traveled out of the country for at least 48 hours to bring home $400.00 worth of retail goods duty free. On the next $1000.00 worth of purchases, there is a flat duty of 10% on all articles. This merchandise must accompany you to qualify for exemption.|
|Money||Cash, traveler’s checks and credit cards are accepted. Nothing works quite like American dollars, especially when bargaining in the marketplace where a lot of one and five dollar bills can be very convenient. Credit cards are usually taken for larger purchases in most shops. Most hotels have bank branches for money exchange.|
|Bank Hours||8:00AM – 12:00PM Sunday through Friday with some afternoons open. Many businesses, including the national airlines, are closed for the Sabbath from sundown Friday until sundown on Saturday. Banks also close on official holidays.|
Ben Gurion International Airport is located near the city of Tel Aviv and is approximately 30 miles from Jerusalem.
CLOTHING AND DRESS CODES
Most people have the impression that the weather in Israel is always hot. They are surprised to discover how much the temperature varies from one month to the next, or even within a given day. Therefore, guests should plan their wardrobes according to the time of year. In early summer and fall, cotton and cotton-blend clothing are most comfortable. In summer only pure cotton clothing is recommended, especially for those who suffer from heat. November through March, it is mostly pleasant, but can have intermittent rainy days. Dressing in layers is highly recommended as the day may start out colder and then get progressively warmer. Bring your umbrella and sun glasses; both of these will be used daily, in rain or shine! Light wool, knitted clothing, long sleeve shirts, and a heavy jacket or mid-weight coat and windbreaker are recommended, especially for December through March.
AVERAGE TEMPERATURES (In Fahrenheit)
|45 – 65||60 – 80||70 – 90||65 – 80||55 – 70||40 – 65|