Yes! Millions of people visit Israel every year and return safe, fulfilled, inspired, and happy. In spite of what you’ve read in the papers or seen on TV, Israel is a very safe place to visit. You are far more likely to run into trouble in any major U.S. city than anywhere in Israel. Behave in Israel the way you would in those cities. Be careful where you go at night and travel in groups when possible.
You’ll need a passport valid for at least six months from the date you enter Israel. United States citizens will be issued tourist visas free of charge at every port entrance terminal to Israel.
U.S. and Canadian citizens do not need a visa to visit Israel, just a valid passport (valid for at least 6 months). Visitors are allowed to stay in the country for three months from date of arrival. However, visitors from most European countries, Mexico, Latin America, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and many others countries do require visas. To check the requirements for other nationalities contact the Israeli Consulate in your area.
No. Israel is a developed country with a level of health and hygiene equal to that of the United States. Visitors entering Israel are not required to undergo vaccinations prior to their arrival.
Israel has four seasons. The coast has humid summers and mild winters, the hill regions have dry summers and moderately cold winters, the Jordan Valley has hot dry summers and pleasant winters, and desert conditions exist in the Negev all year round.
In mid-summer, average temperatures during the day range from 83 degrees Fahrenheit in Jerusalem to over 100 degrees in the Dead Sea region. At night, temperatures rarely dip below the mid 60s.
In mid-winter, average temperatures during the day range from 54 degrees in Jerusalem to 69 degrees in the Dead Sea region. At night, temperatures can drop below 40 degrees.
In summer, lightweight T-shirts, sleeveless shirts, shorts, and a bathing suit 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. Some religious sites require pants for men and clothing that covers the shoulders and knees for women. If you’re traveling with a companion, pack one or two outfits in each other’s luggage, so if one bag is lost or delayed, you won’t need to hold up your trip. Bring comfortable shoes. Tours involve a lot of walking, and surfaces are not always even. You may want to bring a backpack for day trips and hikes. Also, don’t forget a canteen or water bottle and sun protection, including sunscreen, hat and sunglasses.
The equivalent of the dollar is called the New Shekel (NIS). 1 New Shekel equals 100 agorot, Israel’s equivalent to pennies. Make sure to check the exchange rate before you go. Most businesses in Israel accept all major credit cards, and there are ATMs located in convenient locations.
You can purchase virtually anything you need during your stay, including clothing, cosmetics, and hygiene products.
You can rent a car in all of Israel’s major cities and at the Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv. It is recommended to reserve a car before you arrive. Renters are required to be over 21 years old and must have a valid international diver’s license and international credit card. Driving in Israel in on the right-hand side of the road, and most signage is written in three languages, Hebrew, English, and Arabic.
Transportation within Israel is easy, reliable, and inexpensive. There are several options to get you from place to place quickly.
Israel is a small country. The three major centers: Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Haifa can easily be reached on leisure touring days without changing hotels, an important feature for short visits. When planning your trip, it helps to know how far and how much time it will take to get from place to place. See the chart below for approximate distances.
Although Hebrew and Arabic are Israel’s official languages, English is Israel’s adopted second language, spoken so extensively that even street signs are also in English. More languages can also be noticed, such as French, Russian, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Romanian, Hungarian and Italian.
Native-born Israelis are nicknamed sabras, after the prickly pear found growing here. Like the sabra, they may seem prickly on the outside, but they’re actually sweet inside. So don’t be afraid to say hello, make conversation, or ask questions. Most everyone speaks at least three languages: Hebrew, Arabic, and English.
Here are some basic Hebrew words you should know: