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ISRAEL TRAVEL INFO


Getting into Israel

Israel's main gateway is the ultramodern Ben-Gurion airport (TLV, www.ben-gurion-airport.co.il), 20km (12mi) southeast of Tel Aviv and 50km (30mi) west of Jerusalem. There are plenty of flights to Israel, including non-stop flights from the USA, Europe, South Africa and the Far East. Airport security is tight, especially on national carrier El Al, and international travelers should check in at least three hours before their flight.
 
In and out Ben Gurion Airport
 
Train – Few years ago the Israel Railways Authority first activated the train from Ben-gurion to Tel-aviv. The ride takes 11 minutes, and costs 12 NIS, and that is actually the cost efficient way for a single tourist going to Tel-aviv or Haifa.
The down side is that the station is situated at quite a distance from terminal 3, and getting there is a hassle.
Israel Railways Authority website, including schedule and fares.
 
Taxi – Taxis have always been the popular way to get into and out of BGU, especially to those who travel in a group of a few people, or family.
When taking a taxi from the airport, please make sure to use only authorized taxi companies from the taxi booth – the service will cost the same, and will definitely be a more pleasant experience. The taxi rank and the dispatcher's station at Terminal 3 are on Level G of the Multi Level Road, close to exit gate no' 03 of the Greeters Hall.
A taxi from BGU to Tel-Aviv should cost 90-110 NIS, depending on the number of suitcases.
Some more information on how to get to and from BGU.
 

Getting around Israel

Israel is so small that it would be silly to fly, but if you must there are flights between Haifa and Eilat and Tel Aviv and Eilat. The national bus service, Egged, has an extensive route system in Israel, partially due to the fact that it's also the major transport vehicle for soldiers moving about the country. Egged buses are modern, clean and equipped with air-con, making travel safe and comfortable. Remember that on Sabbath, Egged intercity buses don't run at all (Friday afternoon to Saturday evening). Israel State Railways runs a convenient, efficient and inexpensive network of passenger rail services. The main line runs along the coast, from Nahariya to Ashkelon, with spurs to Be'er Sheva and Dimona, Rishon LeZion and Rehovot, Ben-Gurion airport and Jerusalem. Share taxis, or sheruts , are one of the most popular forms of transport, particularly because they run on Sabbath. These 13-seat minivans, which depart from taxi ranks, operate on a fixed route for a fixed price like a bus and many run 24/7.
 

Visa requirements

Israel has agreements for the abolition of visa requirements with 65 countries. Citizens of those countries may enter Israel with only a valid passport (no need for specific visa).
Here is the full list of countries which do not require Israeli visa:
Africa: Central African Republic, Losoto, Malawi, Mauritius, South Africa, Swaziland
Asia & Oceania: Australia, Fiji Islands, Hong Kong, Japan, New Zealand, Philippines, South Korea
Europe: Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, Germany (date of birth after 1.1.28), Gibraltar,Great Britain (England, the UK), Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, The Netherlands (Holland), Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland
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.
Nationals of countries without such agreements who wish to visit Israel must submit to the nearest Israeli mission a completed visa application form as well as photograph and his/hers travel document.
(Information source: Israel Ministry of foreign affairs website)
 

Weather

Generally speaking, the weather in most of Israel is not extreme at any standard, so that the Israeli winter is at best what some would call "Autumn". As for the Israeli summer, well - that's a different story... summer in Israel is HOT and in most of the country it is humid as well,
so get ready, here we go:
 
December – January – February: Winter
General weather Description: This is what we call winter. That means temperatures of between 5-18 Degrees centigrade in Tel Aviv which are 41 to 65 Degrees Fahrenheit. It may get colder around the Jerusalem and Golan Heights mountains to a level of 0 (34 Degrees Fahrenheit) Degrees centigrade at night.
What to wear: a good fleece jacket will do the job. Those of you who are always cold would want to bring a wool coat. For cycling, warm clothing is also recommended.

March - April – May: Spring
General Weather Description: The nicest season of the year, with very comfortable weather. Temperature in Tel Aviv is usually between 16 to 24 Degrees centigrade which are 61 to 75 Degrees Fahrenheit. Jerusalem and the Golan Heights are approx. 3 degrees centigrade colder (5.5 Degrees Fahrenheit), and Eilat is usually 3 degrees centigrade warmer.
What to Wear: On some of the days you may want a long T-shirt and light jacket, while on other days a short sleeve T-shirt will do. So, Bring a good range of generally light clothes.
For cycling, warm but light clothing is recommended, you may use arm and leg warmers, long sleeve jersey or a wind stopper and even a rain jacket can be useful from time to time.
 
June - July – August (and sometimes September): Summer 
General Weather Description: Summer is hot in Israel! We usually speak of the heat in terms of temperature + humidity, not only temperature. As for weather conditions: Temperature in Tel Aviv is usually between 24 to 35 Degrees centigrade which are 75 to 95 Degrees Fahrenheit. Jerusalem and the Golan Heights are approx. 3 degrees centigrade colder (5.5 Degrees Fahrenheit), and Eilat is usually 3 degrees centigrade warmer.
Keep in mind that in very hot days, which we usually get during the month of August, the temperature in Tel-aviv may rise to 42 degrees centigrade which are 108 degrees Fahrenheit mixed with 95% humidity. In Jerusalem those days are as hot, but without the humidity, and in Eilat temperature may even climb up to 50 degrees (122 Fahrenheit), but without the humidity.
What to Wear: Short, light, no sleeve, anything you can think of to cope with this mad summer.
 
September - October – November: Autumn
General Weather Description: Some will argue and say that this is the nicest season of the year in Israel. Temperature in Tel Aviv is usually between 16 to 24 Degrees centigrade which are 61 to 75 Degrees Fahrenheit. Jerusalem and the Golan Heights are approx. 3 degrees centigrade colder (5.5 Degrees Fahrenheit), and Eilat is usually 3 degrees centigrade warmer.
What to Wear: Long sleeve shirts and a light Jacket will do the job.
 
 

Health

There are no special precautions required for travel to Israel. The risk to travelers is very low. Travelers are advised to avoid drinking tap water. Medical facilities are excellent but treatment can be very expensive so it is essential that travelers take out full insurance.
 

Currency

The New Israeli Shekel / Sheqel is Israel’s currency. There are coins of 5, 10, 50 agorot (like cents), and 1, 2, 5, & 10 shekels, as well as 20, 50,100 & 200 shekels notes. Note that 200 Shekels notes are not easily traded and one should try to avoid receiving them when exchanging money. Money can be exchanged at any of the street exchange bureaus, ATM's or any of Israel’s major banks (i.e.- Hapoalim, Leumi, Discount bank, FIBI and Hamizrahi).
Banks - When exchanging money at a bank, you will be charged a fixed exchange fee, and if you choose to use an exchange place on the street, you will not be charged for the transaction, but will receive a lower rate than the banks supply.
If you do choose to use the bank, try not to exchange money on Sundays. The reason is that while the Israeli banks are open on Sundays, there is no world currency trade on Sunday, and the banks charge a commission that is 10 times higher than on any other day of the week.
 
ATM
There are many ATM's around Israel that are all connected to European and American banking systems. When using an ATM, you will be charged by your credit card provider, as well as an ATM fee (usually 3.5$ plus 4% of the total amount). Your credit card provider (i.e. VISA, Mastercard, Diners club, American express etc.) will also determine what the exchange rate is, and it will usually be the highest rate possible for that date.
 
Exchange bureaus
Generally speaking, exchange places are always cheaper than the banks and ATM's, but if you choose to exchange money at a change spot, make sure to look at the rates of a few places before making your choice.
 
 

Electricity and telephone

Electricity voltage in Israel is 220 volts at 50 Hertz. Tourists coming to Israel with devices which do not support 220 voltage should use a converter or transformator.
Due to the fact that many Israelis travel abroad and bring back electricity devices that do not support 220 volts, you will find that most if not all electricity shops in Israel have voltage transformators in stock.
 
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