- 1 Transport
- 2 Accommodation
- 3 Food
- 4 Connectivity
- 5 Busking
- 6 Visa
- 7 Links
- 8 Cities
- 9 Travel destinations
Israel is a country situated in the Middle East. It has borders with the Palestinian territories (West Bank and Gaza Strip), Egypt, Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon. The capital of Israel is Jerusalem, but the economic center is Tel Aviv.
Israel is the only country in the world with a population of a Jewsish majority (75%). The non-Jewish population is mainly made of Arabs. Since its independence in 1948, Israel got into many conflicts with its neighbourd arabic countries. Egypt and Jordan signed a peace contract, but Israel is still in conflict with Syria, Lebanon, and the Palestinians.
It is safe and nice to travel to Israel.
It is very easy to hitchhike in Israel. The Israeli and Palestinian side has only one road, Road 90, which continues south towards Eilat and Egypt, and north towards Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and northenr Israel (Beit She'an, Tiberias, Sea of Galille, Golan Heights etc).
Much of the public transportation is not running on Sabbath (from Friday night to Saturday night), especially in between cities.
- Bus: Busbud
The Dead Sea does not offer too much accommodation options for the budget traveler. Paying accomodation is expensive, but hospitality exchange works.
Wild camping in most of the places is very ok. You can even camp at night in parks or on beach in Tel-Aviv without troubles. It is also very easy to make friends and contacts, so it shouldn't be to hard to find a host, try to keep in touch with everybody you meet.
One obvious option on the Israeli side is the Ein Gedi Youth Hostel, Masada Youth Hostel or Ein Gedi field school (it's a hostel). Another option is Camping, which is possible in all the seasons of the year. Camping can be done only in designated areas:
- Ein Bokek beach (a very good option, toilets, shower and lots of cafes and restaurant around) - two sites: in front of David hotel, in front of Isrotel Dead Sea hotel.
- Desert camping sites (no services at all) such as near the foot of Masada National Park, or at Nahal Rahaf (Rahaf (dry) stream) close to highway 90, between Masada and Ein Bokek
Food is not cheap. The general cost of life in Israel is actually pretty high, even more expensive than many European countries. But you can find some cheap things. Veggies in the markets can be cheap, and dumpster diving in the market and in general is very easy. Especially on Friday before Sabbath, when you can find a lot of food thrown away before the week end.
In some places you can also find cheap falafel pita, for 5 or 6 shekels, which is like a small but good meal for just a bit more than 1€. For 10 to 20 shekels (2,5€ to 5€), you can have a plate full of Hummus with bread, and it will fill you for a good part of the day. Otherwise the best is to buy Hummus in the supermarket, for something like 10-15 shekels the kilo, with pita bread sometimes as cheap as 5 shekels for 10-15 pitas.
You can find many places with free wifi. Otherwise many Israelis have internet on their phones and are very happy to help you.
Citizens from most European, North American and South American countries do not need a visa prior to arrival. Note that German citizens born before January 1, 1928, do have to apply for a visa in advance. This visa will be given if you were not heavily involved in events during the Nazi era and will be valid for the whole time your passport is valid. Further note that in some Arab states it constitutes a crime for their citizens to enter Israel at all. Even if you're an Arab-born citizen of a European or North American country having entered Israel may have consequences when returning to your country of birth.
Avoiding countries to know you have been to Israel
Because Israel is in war with other Arab countries, an Israeli stamp on your passport will block you entry to countries like Iran, Lebanon, Syria, Sudan. When arriving, it is advised to get your visa on a separate paper that you should not loose while in Israel. You just need to ask for it, it is easy to get. If you then leave by plane or boat, no problem.
But if you want to leave by land (through Egypt or Jordan), there is a chance that the Arab countries discover you were in Israel: on the stamp of entry to Egypt or Jordan, the name of the boarder is written and is a proof you have been to Israel. So if you are unlucky, a police officer at the boarder of a 'forbidden country' might see it and you will not get visa. But leaving Israel to Jordan, you can ask to have the Jordanian visa on a separate paper as well, which makes you untraceable. It might work for Egypt as well, but this need to be checked witht the embassy. Be very careful when you ask on a separate paper that the police officer does not forget and keep a fixed eye on your passport during all the procedure, because if he is tired, doesn't understand well English or else, he might do whatever.
This is also true the other way around: if you wish to visit first Jordan and then Israel crossing by land, it might be worth to ask the Jordanian visa on separate paper.
All this was true in July 2015.
If you are Jewish, or if your father, mother, grandfather or grandmother is Jewish, you can "make Aliyah", meaning that you can emigrate to Israel and you will usually be able to acquire a passport within 1 year. Note that there are several downsides to this, as you won't be able to visit many countries anymore - legally Israelis are not allowed to visit Palestinian zone A areas in the West Bank, "enemy countries" such as Iran, Lebanon, Syria, Sudan and a couple more. But then you can always show your other passport.
- Passports must be valid for at least 06 months after period of intended stay and visitors must hold onward or return tickets and sufficient funds to cover intended period of stay in Israel.
Israel has agreements for the abolition of visa requirements with over 60 countries. Citizens of those countries may enter Israel with only a valid passport (no need for specific visa).
Europe: Austria, Italy, Iceland, Ireland, Belgium, UK, Gibraltar, Germany (people born after 1.1.1928), Denmark, Netherlands, Hungary, Greece, Luxembourg, Lichtenstein, Monaco, Malta, Norway, Slovenia, San Marino, Spain, Portugal, Finland, France, Cyprus, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine
The Americas: Argentina, Barbados, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Ecuador, Guatemala, Haiti, Jamaica, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, St. Kitts & Nevis, Surinam, Trinidad & Tobago, The Bahamas, The Dominican Republic, Uruguay, U.S.A.
Types of visa and cost
- Immigration visas are handled by the Jewish agency, who will recommend the local mission (embassy) to issue an immigrant's visa. The local embassy will act according to the Jewish agency's recommendation.
- Transit Visas visitors desiring to stop in Israel on their way to other destinations may request a transit visa for five days, which can be extended for another 10 days.
- Departure tax: When you leave Israel, you must pay a departure tax of 101 shekels (around 25 euro).
- It is advisable to check with nearest consulate (or consular section at embassy) for visa requirements before traveling to Israel as requirements may vary for some nationals.
Israeli Embassies and/or Consulates
Israeli Embassy in Ottawa, Canada
Ottawa, Ontario K1P 6L2
Phone: (613) 567-6450
Web Site: http://www.embassyofisrael.ca
Office Hours: Monday - Thursday 10:00 A.M. - 4:00 P.M. Friday:10:00 A.M. - 3:00 P.M.
Israeli Embassy in Wellington, New Zealand
111 The Terrace,
PO Box 2171,
Phone: 04 472 2368
Fax: 04 499 0632
Web Site: http://users.iconz.co.nz/israel/
Email: [email protected]
Israeli Embassy in Washington DC, United States
3514 International Drive, NW,
Washington DC 20008
City: Washington DC
Phone: (202) 364-5500
Web Site: http://www.israelemb.org/
Email: [email protected]
- There is a rainbow group on facebook. You can probably find gatherings or maybe cool host if you are lucky.
- A lot of experience and information about Israel on untourdeuxsinges.com a travellers' blog.