Well, this may be a warning, but by no means a danger!
In several coastal cities in Israel you may come across a beach with a sign stating that this beach is separate for men and for women at different times; the photo shows such a sign in Bat Yam: Only women are allowed on odd days of the week, and only men are allowed on even days.
If you are a woman, don't misinterpret this as meaning that you can bask in the sun topless on this beach without harrassment by the opposite sex. The bottom line reads: "Staying on this beach in modest clothing only".
Yes, now you guessed right: this beach is for the orthodox religious population. To prevent any chance of temptation or sin they go to these beaches, men and women separately, modestly dressed.
So, when you see this sign, just skip this beach and go to the next one!
Israel as a country is obviously very security conscious and they need to be....
a few suggestions from my experience -
various countries stamped in your passport might instigate more in depth questioning of where youve been and who you know...if you want to go to Syria one day ask for your entry stamp to be stamped on a separate piece of paper or you will never get there while you have that stamp there..a few other countries such as Malaysia might be a touchy about it too..
...also arrive at the airport in plenty of time for lengthy security checks when flying away from Israel.
Bear in mind too that from Friday afternoon to Saturday about midday transport and services are minimal for 'Shabbat' - the Jewish sabbath when many things shut.
Durring this period there will only be taxis for transport to the airport and they undoubtedly take advantage of those hours and will show it in their elevated prices!
When I was last there in 2008 during the period of Shabbat there is no luggage storage at the airport nor internet facilities. and Money machines would not work!
A good point though with my NZ passport the entry visa is free, with my Aussie passport its about $20 or whatever the fee is now
In a region as contentious as the Middle East tour guide bias is a major danger.
Bias can be manifested by omission as well as selective story telling. In some places in the world there is an officially controlled message and politically selected itineraries, in others the variation may reflect the personal attitudes of the guide, or even the guide telling visitors what they want to hear. Although I did not get the impression that guides felt pressured to give a certain message in Israel or Palestine, you cannot expect to find disinterested, unbiased guidance in this part of the world. Going on a tours with a Palestinian guide and then visiting the same areas with an Israeli guide (or vice/versa) is an interesting suggestion that has been made of VT, but it probably does not really solve the problem.
To address the issue, the first thing you must do is recognize the problem; As you think about the problem you will become more cognizant of its complexity.
The second thing you MUST do is read as much as you can about the issues from as many sources as possible before you travel. This is not about preparing yourself to confront or challenge your guide, but to allow you to put the guided experience in perspective.
The last suggestion is to ask your guides lots of personal questions. I find that their answers to this type of question are likely to be factual even in very rigid and controlled countries. They will help you understand their opinions and biases. It also may lead to a frankness of discussion not part of the usual tour, so to speak.
200S Hayarkon St. Tel Aviv
DON'T RENT THIS APARTMENT
WORST PLACE TO STAY,SOMEONE BROKE INTO THE APARTMENT AND STOLE MONEY, PASSPORTS ,COMPUTER,CELL PHONE,WALLETS ETC......
THEY BROKE INTO THE APARTMENT WITH THE KEY
please follow the news up by day, if you need to travel Israel, Syria, Lebanon , Jordan, Saudia or the Gulf-Countries.
Israel holds a nuclear-exercise all wide and prepares a bombing-squad and US brought lots of air-power into the region.
Suddenly travellling might become difficult and there is only exit by Sinai/Egypt.
watch Internet: al-Ahram and al jazeera - english
Israelis are not known as great sticklers when it comes to obeying orders and adhering to municipal laws. They are prone to cut corners and take a rather lighthearted attitude in such matters as parking on sidewalks, enclosing porches without permits and returning glass bottles for recycling. They don’t tie their garbage bags with string to keep cats from tearing them open and strewing the contents all over the street.
BUT – and I say this with a certain amazement – Israelis do NOT jaywalk. They stand obediently at the corner when the light is red and will not cross until it turns green, even if there is no oncoming traffic. If you do scuttle across the road before that, you are bound to get some dirty looks from fellow pedestrians (and if there happens to be a policeman around, a scolding or a fine).
As a former resident of New York, where no one thinks twice about crossing the street regardless of how many taxis and buses are hurtling toward you, and a sign flashing “Don’t Walk” is the signal to walk, this has taken some getting used to.
Now, when my mother comes to visit, I’m the one who holds her back: No, Mom. Wait a minute. The light is red…
Update: The fine for jaywalking is NIS 100! I know two people who were fined over the past two weeks. One of them was my teenage daughter...
Be prepared for a very tough security check in Ben Gurion Airport when leaving Israel. I was asked dozens of questions about my stay. Every piece of my belongings was very scrupulously checked. I was taken to the private room, had to leave my luggage be the x-ray machines alone. They took my mobile phone and wallet away too. Nobody explained anything. When they finished checking nobody apologised for the inconvinience, nobody said thank you. After a very nice stay in Israel, during the security I was feeling like an intruder rather than tourist.
During the dry season in can be very hot and dry in Israel, especially in the south. Be sure you drink enough liquids during the day, and by the way, coffee or beer does not count drinking in this case.
Tiberias to me appeared in a sharp contrast to the otherwise beautiful and serene landscape around the Kinneret. The shores and the hills are green and really pleasing to the eye, whereas Tiberias is full of ugly crumbling concrete and cheap tourist shops. Do not stay here and do not dine here. Go for one of the smaller places on the lake. Many kibbutzes in the Galilee have set up small hotels, inns and country lodges. These are a much better choice in my opinion.
No doubt stating the obvious, but watch the order of countries you travel to in the middle east if visiting Israel. Syria for example will not let you in if you have an Israeli stamp. This applies to a number of the arabic countries, so please check, also beware of UAE, conflicting info over entry to UAE, we travelled there recently and my wife had to get a new "clean" passport.
When it rains heavily in Jerusalem, the water will be gushing through the mountainous Judean desert all the way down to the Dead Sea. It is hard to predict whether the flood will be serious and dangerous or it will fade and will never reach its final destination disappearing in the desert. However, you must take it seriously, especially if driving in the Dead Sea area or hiking in the desert.
While hiking in the Judean desert there will be no warning, the water mixed with mud will come from nowhere and will smash everything in its way. Sadly enough, every year at least one person dies unable to escape from the muddy flood being trapped in the area where no one can find him/her. And almost always such person is a tourist!
You won’t find any warnings in the newspapers and, unless you speak Hebrew, radio and TV won’t help either. If the weather is rainy, always ask locals about the situation in the desert.
On Shabbat (Saturday) jews are not supposed to work, light fires and so on, however you can use things done or started the previous day. This has resulted in one peculiarity. At least one lift in most hotels, office blocks (what would you be doing there if you weren't working) and appartment blocks will switched into automatic Shabbat mode. This means it will automatically stop at every floor, open up for a set amount of time allowing people to get on and off without having to operate the button to call the lift. This can be rather tedious if you are going from the 17th floor to the lobby, so make sure you don't inadvertedly step into this lift.
If you are driving to Jerusalem area from the center of Israel (Route no.1) don't drive too fast - the road can be tricky.
Also - if it is winter it can be foggy and slippery.
While returning from En Kerem i saw 2 car accidents.
One is not permitted to enter the Knesset wearing tank-tops, shorts, or jeans. "Crocs" shoes are not permitted unless they are black or navy. Men may not enter wearing sandals, and women are not permitted to enter wearing belly-shirts.
A minor warning, but a major one for serious coffee drinkers:
Don't make the same mistake that my friend Ralph from Minnesota made when he visited Israel recently: He ordered "black coffee", imagining that he would receive percolated American coffee with no milk.
He was disappointed to get instead a cup of Turkish coffee, with a muddy sediment at the bottom.
So, don't say you haven't been warned: In Israel "black coffee" means what the Israelis fondly call "Cafe Botz" ("mud coffee"). If you desire anything else you will have to be more explicit (for example: "Cafe Americano, no milk".
Now enjoy your trip to Israel and your cup of coffee!
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