Safety Tips in Israel

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    pickpockets love crowded areas
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    souks have many pickpockets
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Most Viewed Warnings and Dangers in Israel

  • gilabrand's Profile Photo

    Red Light, Green Light

    by gilabrand Updated Jan 6, 2011

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    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...

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  • gilabrand's Profile Photo

    The Narghila Myth (or Hubble Bubble Trouble)

    by gilabrand Updated Jul 7, 2005

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    Sorry to be a partypooper, but smoking a narghila (also “shisha,” “hookah,” “hubble bubble” or just plain “water-pipe”) is not the harmless activity that people think it is. Narghila smoking is perceived as being less dangerous than cigarette smoking. New studies have shown that this is not so.

    Common myths and misconceptions: The nicotine content is lower than that of cigarettes. The water filters out all the noxious chemicals, including carbon monoxide, nicotine and tar. Smoking a narghila is less irritating and thus less harmful to the throat and respiratory tract than cigarette smoking. Narghila tobacco is fruit-flavored, which means it’s healthy.

    In the Middle East, puffing on a narghila goes back 400 years. And remember the scene in “Alice in Wonderland” when she meets a hookah-smoking caterpillar sitting on a mushroom?

    Nowadays, narghila-smoking has become very trendy. Visitors to Israel think it’s cool and exotic, and buy narghilas to take back home with them. I personally helped a VTer get a good deal at an outdoor stall in Jerusalem (the price - $24 - was considerably lower than what she was told to pay by the tour organizers). In fact, these pipes are pretty to look at, and come in an assortment of colors and designs.

    But scientists have found a very high concentration of carbon monoxide in narghila smoke, especially when using the small-sized pipes, and the cooling effect of the water only encourages people to inhale more deeply. True, smoking a narghila seems to be less addictive than cigarettes – it’s more of a social thing – but because of that, you spend more time doing it, and thus breathe in even more harmful substances than you would from a cigarette. On top of that, the same mouthpiece is shared by everyone, which doesn’t sound very hygienic to me.

    The bottom line is that puffing on a narghila may be fun, but it’s at least as harmful as smoking cigarettes. In light of the above, I would say go ahead and buy a narghila, but when you get home, keep it on the shelf as a knicknack…

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  • jadedmuse's Profile Photo

    Israeli Customs and Immigration

    by jadedmuse Updated Jun 3, 2004

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    Rest assured that Israeli Customs and Immigration are busy doing what they can to PREVENT danger.

    You'll find a lot of Israeli women working in Customs & Immigration - Israeli women are known for being direct, to the point, and very assertive. They're extremely effective in this capacity! (Some first time visitors bristle at what they perceive to be less than polite verbal treatment by Israeli Customs & Immigration. No kid gloves here, folks!)

    Don't let yourself feel intimidated by Israeli Customs & Immigration. They are doing their job and protecting you - and the State - in the process.

    It pays to be prepared to answer the same question several times, often just re-positioned and re-phrased. You may even have several different officials asking the same questions - patience and cooperation will get you through.

    Think of it as another facet of your adventure!

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  • ophiro's Profile Photo

    Beduin people near beersheba

    by ophiro Written Jun 1, 2005

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    Near Beersheba and on the way to Arad (and the dead sea) there are several beduin settlements like Hura , Kuseyfe , lakya and a few more.
    I am not saying that all of them are bad people but the youth is sometimes not very good people - the trying to take protection money from people who build their houses in Beersheba , omer , lehavim , some of them are driving without a driving license so dont try to argue with them on the road if they pass you on the road dangeoursly.
    Some of them are veru rude and impolite , they also put things on the road during the night that car will hit the thing they put (chair , washing machine and more) so Be careful !

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  • KettyDK's Profile Photo

    Anywhere : naughty local men and guys

    by KettyDK Written Apr 9, 2004

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    This is actual for girls and women :

    Everytime you go out , don't be surprised to get plenty and plenty of attention from local men ! This "attention" is very various : long and shameless staring at you and your body , whistles , head-turning ... This might be compliment for some , but for others , it's simpy harrassing .

    Do not take those things too personally . That's just the way these men behave . They don't really want to harm you or do anything against your will :-)

    But somehow , it can go slightly further than these innocent signs of attention : in crowded places ( markets , nightclubs , for example ) some of these guys can "take their opportinity" and move from just watching to ... touching ! In this case - stay away from the harrasser , or even better : don't hesitate to smack him ! But these cases , fortunately , are not so common , so most of the chances are , that you wouldn't have to go through this unpleasant experience :-)

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  • ophiro's Profile Photo

    BeerSheba - Boring place

    by ophiro Written Jun 1, 2005

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    Beersheba is a very boring place - so hot , so primitive (to my opinion).
    You can come to Beersheba only if you want to stop on your way to Eilat or Masada but not to travel here.
    Every time i come to this place it is like the time stoped.

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  • ophiro's Profile Photo

    Diamond Center in Ramat Gan - when night falls

    by ophiro Written May 30, 2005

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    In the evening and during the night in the Diamond Center in Ramat Gan (or the BURSA as people here call this location) there are a lot of peep shows , street hookers so be careful if you decide for some weird reason to walk there (Although no one will kill you and there is a police activity there).
    Be careful - that's all.

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  • ophiro's Profile Photo

    Pickpockets in big cities in Israel

    by ophiro Written May 30, 2005

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    On big cities in the world like new york , rome , prague , paris and more you will find a lot of warning about pickpockets but here in Israel it is very safe.

    I am not saying that you can leave your stuff on a desk and leave it but still tel aviv is much safer than other big cities.

    Always be careful but feel free and relax.

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  • Sharon's Profile Photo

    Jellyfish Season !!!

    by Sharon Updated Jun 14, 2005

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    Every year between Mid' of July and aprx Mid of August a huge Jellyfish groups "visit" Israel on its way north.
    Those Jellyfishes are NOT as dangerouse / deadly as in australia for example or maybe in other places too BUT they can give you a bad burns on the skin !!!
    They are BIG and nasty and the spread their (sort of) poison while they are around so if you're close to them you can alredy feel it on your skin though its nothing bad however you will NOT want to "meet" them personaly and feel them on your body... So be aware of that.

    For some reason there are no signs that warns about it in the beaches, the locals knows this but tourist may not know so if you're going to swim best thing to do is first see if the locals swin and you can also ask people if its okay or if you better just wet your self quickly and run away... (like i do at this times LoL )

    What to do if you were burned
    Although this kind of Jellyfish are not deadly, if you were really unlucky and a Jellyfish was stucked on your skin, first of all get out of the water and go quickly to get some medical treat at the first aid station at the beach.
    if there's no first aid station check at the life guard place.

    The best thing to use is putting lots of vinegar cause it neutralized the poison.
    If there is no such thing around better use water with salt.
    Do not scrash the burn with sand or put on it sand And if you dont have that or that or that you can use your urine which helps though doesnt smell too good.

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  • Martin_S.'s Profile Photo

    Watch out for "flash" floods in desert

    by Martin_S. Written Oct 23, 2003

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    Caught this flash flood just as it was building. You can see the sky over this point is cloudy, but there was sun and NO RAIN at the point where I took the picture. Because of the type of soil here, the rain was actually falling about 20 miles away and was running on the surface of the soil, causing a flood to procede down this previously dry riverbed. If you are in a narrow spot in a canyon where you cannot climb out you may be caught in the flood. Our rescue team have had the dubious opportunity to pull bodies out of the flood over 20 kilometers from where they were swept away, so YOU be careful, know what the weather is.

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  • ophiro's Profile Photo

    Tel Aviv - New Central Station

    by ophiro Written May 30, 2005

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    During the evening and the night don't go alone near the new central staion area , there are a lot of foreign workers , hookers , escort clubs so if you don't have to pass there stay away.
    No one will kill you or try to harm you but still it is for your own safety.

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  • MalenaN's Profile Photo

    Don't leave for Egypt without a visa

    by MalenaN Written Dec 21, 2005

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    If you are going to visit only Sinai it is okay without a visa (at least for Swedish citizens), but if you are going to see more of Egypt you need a visa, and that you can?t get at the border. There is an Egyptian Consulate in Eilat. It opens 9 o?clock in the morning and they issue the visa in about an hour. Bring a passport photo. For the visa I paid 65 shekels (about 15 dollars). The address for the consulate is: 68 Afraty Street, Bna Betkha, Eilat

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  • Nathalie_B's Profile Photo
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    Road signs

    by Nathalie_B Written Jan 13, 2007

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    No, this is not the type of sign that you will encounter in the middle of Tel Aviv, and not even in its surroundings. But we do have a large desert and camels are often spoted crossing the roads. These are not wild animals and you won't see them wandering on the streets, but they are owned by many beduins that live in the country and therefore can be seen in the desert areas of Israel. In beduin culture camels are symbols of wealth and many times you can see the camels' owners walking their animals along the roads or helping them to make their may to the desert where they spend their day in munching the desert vegitation.
    I happened to speak with one of such beduins, whom I met near Arad. Usually, camels' front feet are gently tied by a rope so they can't run or wander too far, but the beduin I spoke with told me that he had camels that were very comfortable making their way into the city of Arad where they felt free to walk on the streets (yes, with their feet tied).
    So if you drive on our roads and spot such a street sign, take it seriously and bear in mind that camels may interrupt your journey.

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  • Carmela71's Profile Photo

    Visa Information

    by Carmela71 Written Jun 3, 2003

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    You must hold a valid passport.

    Visitors are allowed to remain in Israel for up to three months from their date of arrival, subject to the terms of the visa issued.

    Visitors who intend to work in Israel must apply to the Ministry of the Interior for a special visa.

    Countries that only need a valid pasport to entry are:

    Europe : Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, Germany (Persons born after 1.1.28), Gibraltar, Great Britain, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland.

    Asia & Oceania: Australia, Fiji Islands, Japan, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Philippines, South Korea

    Africa: Central African Republic, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, South Africa, Swaziland.
    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.

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    Arriving or departing from Israel

    by angiebabe Written Jul 30, 2012

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    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

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