Is Judaica cheaper in Israel

Useful information for tourists to Israel

In this Q&A session, we will answer the most popular questions that tourists to Israel have. And if you haven't found an answer to your question then either leave a comment below or email me.
Get started with the most popular question.

Is It Safe to Visit Israel?

The short answer is yes. I feel completely safe and there are no restrictions. As a kid, I could hang out with friends at night. And today the situation is the same. My house is in front of a park and I often see children (10-12 years old) playing there at 10am.

But I might be biased since I live here. So I'll go back to “Is Israel Safe to Travel” with statistics (“There are three types of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.” 😉).

UNODC murder rates: murders per 100,000 inhabitants in selected countries (source: Wikipedia).

countryrating
Egypt2.51
Mexico19.26
United States5.35
Japan0.28
Israel1.36
Jordan1.55
Russia10.82
Sweden1.08
Great Britain1.20
France1.35
Germany1.18

If you just look at the numbers, then the requested conclusion is: if you think France (which has the next installment) is safe, then so is Israel. But you should keep in mind that this rate has gray areas. For example, killings caused by a non-international armed conflict may or may not be included, depending on the intensity of the fighting and whether it is classified as 'civil unrest' or a clash between organized armed groups. Still, I don't think that with or without a terrorist attack in Israel will not have any material impact.

Besides, the rate, an average. And even in a small country like Israel, these numbers vary considerably depending on the area.

Is it Safe for a Woman to Travel Alone?

The answer is the same as to the previous question, that is: it is safe for a woman to travel alone in Israel. Of course, you should use common sense, and not do things that you normally wouldn't. The only caveat that comes to mind is that you should dress modestly when visiting sacred and religious places.

Is It Safe to Travel to Palestine?

While this is a common question, we should share it. Palestine has two different geographic locations: the West Bank and Gaza. Traveling to the West Bank is relatively safe, but you are less prone to cheating (we will address this topic later) .. however, if you think you are a Jew or an Israel the situation could be uncomfortable. Therefore, I would advise you to pre-book a tour to the West Bank.

Traveling to Gaza is dangerous and IDF will stop you for your safety. Also, since the Palestinians tend to fire mortars and other missiles, I would suggest keeping a distance of at least 10 km from the Gaza Strip.

Does Israel have passports stamped?

The short answer is no, but the full answer isn't that simple.

You can enter some countries with an Israeli stamp. AFAIK there are sixteen countries, such as Algeria, Bangladesh, I ran, and Kuwait. Thus, by default, Israel stops punching passports and gives you a paper card instead. You should keep this paper card that serves as your visa until the end of your trip as you may need to in various situations.

But when traveling to nearby countries like Jordan and Egypt they can stamp your passport. This stamp will make it clear where you've been. In most cases, you don't ask to stamp your passport, and they will stamp a piece of paper instead.

Thus, if it is important to you, always ask not to stamp your passport.

language

The Israeli population is a linguistically and culturally diverse community. Hebrew is the official language. And since English is compulsory in schools, most people know that it is to some extent. Other languages ​​are less common. But if you know English then you shouldn't have a problem getting around.

According to a 2011 government social survey of Israelis over 20 years of age, 49% report Hebrew as their first language, Arabic 18%, Russian 15%, Yiddish 2%, French 2%, English 2%, 1.6% Spanish, and 10% other languages ​​(including Romanian , German and Amharic, which were not offered as answers to the survey). This study also found that 90% of Jews and over 60% Arabs have a good understanding of Hebrew.

Source: Wikipedia

Also, I should mention that most of the signs, including road signs and signs in tourist areas (including national parks), are in Hebrew, English, and Arabic.

And if you'd like some learn Hebrew, here are 100 basic Hebrew phrases.

Weather

The weather in Israel tends to be hot during the summer and rainy in the winter. Usually, in most places, temperatures are between 15-35 C around the year. So you can travel all year round as long as you don't mind getting wet (usually from sweat, but sometimes from rain).

Since it's hot overall, there are air conditioners everywhere. Not just in cars (which are required by law), but on all public transport, public buildings as well. It's hard to imagine hotels or apartments may be without air conditioning, but be sure to check them out before booking.

What is the best month to visit Israel?

If we only take weather into account then March, April, and May would be my top priority. September and October is the second priority.

If you are looking for a more in-depth answer then check out this post. Also, check out the information on festivals and events mentioned in this post.

vacation

The lunar calendar determines dates for Jewish holidays. Thus, the specific times are varying relative to the Gregorian calendar. Here is a link to a list of all Israeli vacations and their dates.

When it comes to vacations, the main question is whether it should matter. And the answer is yes. On the one hand, during Israeli vacation, prices for hotels and apartments go up. In addition, all attractions will be busy. On the other hand, there will be more events and festivals. Thus, if you are not interested in a particular event, I would advise you not to visit during the long vacation, such as Passover, Sukkot, and Hanukkah.

Bring useful things

In this section, we're going to go over the non-standard things that you should see on your journey along to Israel. I'm not going to mention all of the basics, and instead, I'll just suggest the items that you could usually leave at home.

Israel is a hot country. And you could easily be burned by the sun, even in winter. So, the first article I want to mention is sunscreen. Take sunscreen with high SPF numbers (like SPF 30 and even 50). Also, wear a hat and always drink plenty of water.

As long as we are talking about weather related articles, take a light rain jacket if you visit during the rainy season and always bring insect repellors (just in case).

Additional items to consider is a beach mat (you can rent loungers and umbrellas, but it costs around five dollars each).

And for those that are from America, you will likely need a converter that will change the electrical current from 110 volts to 220 volts. See more information in the electricity section.

clothes

Most likely you will be walking a lot. Shoes and clothes that are so comfortable are a must. But before we get into the specifics, I'd like to mention clothing in general.

Dress code in Israel

The general dress code in Israel is casual and comfortable. Most men stick to t-shirts and jeans, or shorts and a polo shirt. They dress up a little when going out, but suits are rare. If you see someone in a suit, then he is most likely either a lawyer or a salesman. In most cases, women wear slacks, t-shirts or a light dress and a nice blouse for going out. When it comes to footwear, many wear sneakers, sandals, and even flip flops (they're especially useful when hitting the beach).

Thus, leave the suits and evening dresses behind.

After understanding that casual clothes are the ones you will be using, I want to dive a little further and mention an additional clothing category.

Modest clothes

Visiting religious sites (whether it is a synagogue, church, or mosque) requires modest clothing. There are two main points that you shouldn't forget, and they are knees and shoulders.

My wife usually takes a scarf. There are lightweight scarves that can open and cover essential parts of the body. You can always buy them in local markets, like Jerusalem Old City Market, but it's better to bring them with you if you have one. And before entering a religious site, she can put the scarf over her head and shoulders. In any case, your shoulders should be covered. So tanks, vests, and off-the-shoulder dresses are not enough. And of course, dresses should be without a deep neckline.

When it comes to the length of shorts for men or dresses and skirts for women then in both cases it should go below the knees.

currency

The currency in Israel is NIS - New Israeli Shekel. Or better known as a shekel. And 1 shekel equals 100 agorot.

Although in the next photo, there are coins from different countries, you can also see coins 10 NIS, 5 NIS, and 10 agorot.

A few years ago, Series C banknotes were introduced, but Series B banknotes are still in use. You can see photos of all the notes and coins here.

Although the exchange rates change, as of January 2019, 1 US dollar equals 3.7 NIS, and 1 euro equals 4.28 NIS.

Credit cards

Credit cards are widely used in Israel. I consider some cash for two scenarios, restaurant tips, and small purchases (because of the commissions paid to lending companies, many business owners only accept credit cards if the purchase is NIS 25 or more). But, there is no problem with paying cash, at least for moderate payments (the law on reducing the use of funds in the next section).

The Knesset approved the Fund Usage Reduction Act in March 2018. It is intended to limit the use of cash to reduce black capital and to combat money laundering, tax evasion, terrorist financing, etc. If a transaction exceeds 11,000 NIS, the business of Prohibited in payment or receiving payment (in cash) of more than 10% of the transaction price or NIS 11,000, whichever is lower.

While we're on the subject of credit cards, I should mention that Diners and American Express are less common in Israel and some companies don't accept them.

Currency Exchange

I would advise you to hold a couple of shekels before arriving in Israel. Other currencies are not accepted (except perhaps most tourist sites). Once in Israel, you can exchange currencies either at the Israeli Post Office (foreign exchange rates) or exchange offices. Some people also withdraw cash from ATMs or change from banks. When I travel abroad, I exchange money at licensed exchange offices as they usually have the best deals.

Prices in Israel

Israel is not cheap. It is a shock to many tourists as all of the neighbors are less expensive. But, you should know that the Israeli economy is different from the typical Middle Eastern country. The average monthly salary for 2018 was 10,395 NIS, which is roughly 2,500 euros. And when I was looking for the average wage in European countries, I stumbled upon a 2013 study that cited 1.916 euros per month. Average salary doesn't fully explain the price level, but I would mention that many Israelis mostly travel to the US and Western Europe to shop. Therefore, in my opinion, the only things that you should check are unique items and souvenirs (see: “What Are The Best Things To Buy In Israel?” Section for additional information).

typical Fares

accommodation

Standard hotel rooms per couple for one night will typically start at 600 NIS (and these are rarely found), and can easily reach several thousand shekels for boutique hotels. In most places, the average room rate is 800-1,500 NIS.

eat

Overall, food is expensive in Israel, and AFAIK fruits are the only category that is a little cheaper than in Europe.

  • A meal in a mid-range restaurant 60-120 NIS per person
  • A snack and a drink (street food) - 30-50 NIS
  • Beer (0.5 liters) at a pub / restaurant 20 - 35 NIS
  • Water (0.33 liters) - 10 NIS. And a sixpack of 2 liter bottles in a supermarket costs 10-12 NIS.

transport

  • One-way bus ticket in town is at 6 NIS.
  • Taxi price per 1 km is around 4 NIS, and 90 NIS for an hour drive.

Tilt

The accepted tip in restaurants is 10-15% of the bills. As in other areas, such as porters and other hotel staff, there is no generally recognized standard. Taxi drivers are usually not tipped.

How to Travel to Israel on a Budget?

Using the Pareto Principle, we're going to go to Israel the most expensive components of a trip.

  • Flights - Most flights to Israel arrive at Ben Gurion Airport (TLV). Recently Ovda Airport, not far from Eilat, was opened. Many European low-cost companies fly to Ovda Airport. Thus, check flights that reach all airports in Israel.
  • Accommodation - Hotels in Israel are expensive. Usually, a cheaper solution would be to rent an apartment (Airbnb and Booking.com are both very popular in Israel). Another option would be booking your own room in a hostel. And the cheapest solution is camping. Although this option is not relevant to major cities when visiting nature, you will see that some national parks offer camping opportunities.
  • Food - Prices in restaurants and cafes are steep. An alternative would be street food. This budget option is widespread, and the variety of street food is quite wide. Falafel, hummus, shawarma, msabbaha, bourekas, khachapuri, shakshuka, and sabich are just a few of the options.
  • Attractions - Entry fees to many attractions can be very expensive. But, if you plan, and look for coupons and deals online, you can save up to 50%.

Another important tip that applies to all countries is: travel out of season and avoid the holidays.

What are the best things to buy in Israel?

  • Dead Sea Products contain a wide range of beauty products. Ahava produces this item, and you can find them by the Dead Sea and in shopping malls all over Israel.
  • Spices - You can find a wide variety of herbs and spices in Israel. Many tourists love to buy them, but before doing so you need to check whether you are allowed to enter the country of origin with them. Read on Herbs and Spices in Israel for more information.
    As long as we are on this, I want to mention that some people love to take halva, tahini, hummus, dates, and date the honey with them. Although they are delicious, they are also heavier than spices. So, be careful of your weight limit.
  • Jewellery - Diamond industry is being developed in Israel, but it is not only. You can also find jewelry made from semi-precious stones, silver, gold, copper, brass, Roman glass, Eilat stone, and others. There are many chains and stand-alone shops. You can find them in the malls in all major cities.
  • Handicrafts - You can find a lot of unique handmade items in Israel. Whether it is pottery (Israeli and Armenian), pottery, hamsa made of various materials, Judaica articles, Bedouin crafts, metalworkers, and many others. The most popular places to buy jewelry and handicrafts are the Cardo in the Old City of Jerusalem, Mamilla Mall Jerusalem, numerous galleries at Old Jaffa, Nachalat Binyamin Market in Tel Aviv, Ein Hod, and Safed.
  • Wine and olive oil Produced in Israel since biblical times. I'm not suggesting buying any big branded products, but instead, visit a boutique producer and join the activity there. For example, here are our visits to Dvorat HaTavor Visitor Center and Olive Picking At Galili Olive Oil.
    The wine is not just made from grapes. And a unique way would be pomegranate wine being available for purchase.

Some tourists love to buy antiquities. I'm not a professor of archeology, and my ability to differentiate between fake and real is nonexistent. And there are many counterfeit antiques available (see “Scams In Israel” section). Thus, unless you have extensive knowledge of archeology, I would recommend keeping away from it. Or at least not to spend too much money on it.

electricity

Voltage converter

In Israel the standard voltage is 230V and the frequency is 50Hz. You can use your electrical equipment in Israel if the standard voltage in your country is in between 220-240V (as in the UK, Europe, Australia and most of Asia and Africa). The manufacturers take these small deviations into account. If the standard voltage in your country is in the range of 100V - 127V (as in the US, Canada, and most South American countries), you will need a voltage converter in Israel. You can also check a combined power plug adapter / voltage converter.

Source: power-plugs-sockets.com

So if you are from North or South America, you will likely need a voltage converter and a travel adapter. Otherwise, you only need a travel adapter.

Many modern devices, such as cell phone chargers, support both voltages. Thus, if you see a sticker that says “Input: 100-240V” then you don't need a voltage converter for it.

Travel adapter

In Israel, you can find different types of sockets. According to the International Electrotechnical Commission, Israel uses plug types C, H, and M.

Here is a snapshot of a plug from my homeland:

When I travel abroad, I always take a travel adapter, just in case. And since there are different types of plugs in Israel, I would advise you to do the same. Travel adapters are small and can save the day.

Wi-Fi and internet

In my travels, I always use the internet. My main uses are navigation and checking reviews of cafes and restaurants (sights are usually planned in advance). Thus, if you are going to be renting a car, I would advise you to either buy a SIM card with mobile internet or rent a phone. And just in case you are only visiting the big cities, then mobile internet will still be useful, but you can do without it as there are many free WiFi hotspots.

Free wifi

Many museums and communities offer free WiFi. For example, a few years ago, Tel-Aviv created 80 access points across the city. The network is called “FREE TLV WiFi,” and you can find the location of all access points here (street names are in Hebrew).

Various companies also offer free Wi-Fi. many cafes, restaurants, malls, gas stations, and even public transport (trains and some buses) have free WiFi. When it comes to hotels, the situation is worse. Many offer free Wi-Fi in the lobby only, and if you'd like in-room Wi-Fi, it's for an additional fee. And in some cases, the additional cost is too expensive. In those cases, it would be cheaper to buy a local SIM card.

Local SIM card

If you have an unlocked smartphone then you can buy a local SIM card. And if the phone is locked, you can rent a smartphone, but it will be more expensive than a SIM card.

You can buy a SIM card at the post offices (and there is one at Ben Gurion Airport), at telecom operator stores or stands, and pre-order them over the web. For example, Partner Big Talk prepaid packages can be purchased in post offices or through partners. Here are some package examples:

  • 29 NIS for 1 GB + 1000 minutes in Israel and this package is valid for two days.
  • 50 NIS for 4 GB + 1500 minutes in Israel and this package is valid for seven days.
  • 140 NIS for 45 GB + 5000 minutes in Israel and this package is valid for 30 days.

You can find information on all of their packages here.

Note: You can find all branches of the Israeli Post here (Hebrew only).

Useful apps

Most useful apps for tourists in Israel:

  • Moovit - In many of my posts, I add links to Moovit under the “How to Get There” section. Moovit has an app and website that helps people get to their destination using public transport. His data are all bus companies and the train. Thus, if you will be using public transport in Israel, this app will make your life easier.
  • Waze - is a GPS-based navigation application. Waze is very popular in Israel. It is continuously updated with the traffic status (including the locations of the police units and speed cameras). And although Waze was bought by Google, their systems weren't integrated, and in Israel, because of its popularity, Waze tends to give better routes. If you rent a car this is a must. Note that Waze requires a constant internet connection (SIM card with internet) to load maps and get traffic information.
  • given You can use it to order taxis and pay the driver via the app. If you plan on riding taxis, keep up with it. It will make your life easier, and the chances of being scammed by a taxi driver will go to zero. Gett is the most popular taxi handling app, but are competitors, and RAXI and yango of them are two.
  • Parking lot - if you rent a car then you will most likely look for parking. Blue and white curbs mean there is a paid parking space. You can pay for blue and white an app. Cello park and cave are two of the most popular. I'm with Pango but not sure how it works with international credit cards. If you're having a problem setting an international credit card into the app, look for a parking space or a gray curb. Do not try to park near a blue and white curb. There is a high chance you will get a fine one.
  • Tripadvisor and Google Maps - I often use these applications to check reviews and average ratings of restaurants and attractions. That way I am sure that I am not going to spend money on an average meal or attraction.

transport

Public transport

The most important thing to know about public transport is that there is no public transport in Israel on Saturdays. Note that according to the Jewish religion, the day begins in the evening (when you see the first star) and not at midnight. Thus, buses and trains stop a few hours before Saturday starts and continue 1 - 2 hours after it ends. The exact times depend on the season, but as a general rule of thumb, “downtime” is from 1-3pm on Friday to 7-9am on Saturday. For exact times, check the official websites.

Keep this downtime in mind and plan accordingly.

Airports

Although all other traffic doesn't work during Shabbat, airports work 24 × 7. But if you are arriving or departing on Saturday, the only transportation options are a taxi or rental car.

Two airports in Israel receive international flights. The most important of these is Ben Gurion Airport (TLV, as it is not far from Tel Aviv), and the secondary is Ovda Airport (VDA, which is near Eilat). You can get to both airports by buses and taxis. Additionally, you can take the train to Ben Gurion Airport.

buses

There are several bus companies in Israel, but by far the largest is Egged. The others are Dan, Kavim, Metropoline, Superbus, and Nateev Express. However, you don't have to check every company's websites to find the appropriate route. There are aggregation sites like www.bus.co.il or Moovit (as I mentioned in the Apps section).

You can buy the bus ticket from the driver or buy Rav-Kav in advance.

Rav-Kav is a form of electronic ticketing used in all bus companies and the state railways in Israel. Launched in August 2007, Rav-Kav was expected to be integrated by all public transport companies nationwide by the end of 2009, bureaucratic problems have caused this date to be pushed back several times.

Once the project is completed, Rav-Kav is expected to replace all existing paper tickets, and serve as a common tariff collection system for the various transport companies in the country. It is also expected that Rav-Kav will shorten boarding times significantly as the existing system of purchasing tickets from bus drivers in cash will be chaotic and dangerous.

Source: Wikipedia

Trains

Israel Railways has multiple lines and is convenient to use. But if you drive during peak hours (usually mornings), the trains will be busy. There is a north-south main line (with several splits) and several east-west lines. Among the popular tourist destinations, you can find train stations in the following cities: Acre, Haifa, Caesarea, Tel Aviv, Beit Shean, Ben Gurion Airport, and Jerusalem. Note that there are currently two lines to Jerusalem. The one who goes to Jerusalem Biblical Zoo is the old one. It's scenic but also a time consuming alternative. The new line goes to Yitzhak Navon Station in Jerusalem, and for the most part, that's the line to use. But, until today (January 2019), the new line is still in pilot operation. So I would advise rechecking the official website.

Remarks:

  • You can find a map of all train routes and stations here.
  • The bigger cities have several stations, so check in advance which one suits you the most.

Drive

If you have already researched on the subject, then you are probably reading about the negative side in Israel Fahr. And I don't want to deny it, some drivers in Israel are impatient and fearful. Some tourists compare the Israeli driving experience to driving in Greece or Italy. These are clichés, of course, but I think there is some evidence. I've rented and driven cars on probably a dozen different occasions across Europe. And I drove in Greece and Italy and these were among the more pleasant drives. For example, driving in Hungary was much more intense when nobody kept a distance.

Here are some tips for driving in Israel:

  • In general, I would suggest driving carefully in the right lane and letting anyone who is in a rush pass you.
  • If you don't like something, for example, someone drives too close to your body or doesn't keep track of the vehicle's horn used. Some call it the crazy general tactic. But I prefer to think that I am crazy and keep the distance to then get into an accident.
  • Keep an extra distance from old cars as their owners have less to lose. And while on this subject, keep the distance from black or dark German cars, like Mercedes, BMW, and VW Golf. Or more generally, any vehicle whose owner looks like a wannabe formula racing driver.
  • Use Waze and try to avoid traffic jams. Sometimes even normal people start pushing the accelerator too much after spending several hours in a traffic jam.
  • Do not drive in the big cities. There is no reason for it and the traffic is heavy. Instead, plan to visit the cities and only then rent the car (or vice versa).
  • After reading various driving survival guides about Greece, I bought full insurance. You can do the same.

Drive carefully!

Toll roads

The main toll road you could use is Highway # 6. There is also the fast lane at the entrance to Tel Aviv and the Carmel tunnel. All of them have different types of subscriptions including video subscriptions. And for video subscribers, the license plates are automatically scanned and the invoices are sent to the car owners (either by mail or email). Similarly, on road # 6 there are no cashiers and you cannot pay for your ride. Instead, the landlord received the bill. Therefore, ask at the rental station whether you can use toll roads.

If you decide to, you can avoid toll roads and put Waze not taking them into account.

parking spot

For the most part, regular gray curbs mean free parking. However, there are rare instances where a city municipality does not paint the curb but place a sign at the beginning of the street. So stay away from this pitfall. Blue and white means this parking lot costs money. Either pay one of the applications mentioned above or search the parking meter used (which is not always easy to find). And don't park in all other colors.

In that case, if you're not sure, either ask a local or park at a paid parking lot. Don't expect mercy from a city church when you get a ticket as in most cases there won't be any.

Tours in Israel

According to OECD Tourism Trends and Investment Policies 2018, Tourism as a percentage of GDP in Israel 2.4%. It is below the OECD average, which is 4.2%, and closer to the number in the United States, which is 2.7%. Nevertheless, tourism is pretty well developed and there are various tour guides and travel agents.

What are the most popular Israel Tours?

After reviewing a number of different websites, there are the most popular tours (in no particular order):

  • Masada and the Dead Sea come in different variants, which can also be Masada Sunrise Tour or Masada, Ein Gedi, and the Dead Sea.
  • Jerusalem half / full day tour
  • Biblical highlights of Galilee
  • Jerusalem and Bethlehem
  • One or two day tour to Petra Jordan
  • Tel-Aviv and Jaffa City Tour
  • Caesarea, Haifa, and Akko

At What Places In Israel Should I Take Tours?

Every time I visit a place with a guide, I learn and enjoy it more and more, then when I visited it by myself. So there is an advantage to hiring a tour guide or a private guide. But that comes at a price. At which website is a tour cheaper? Generally, the websites have a lot of history, complexity, or special access.

The bare essentials

Jerusalem is undoubtedly one of those places. There is a ton of history and finding places in the alleys of the old town can be a troubled task. And if you're only taking one tour in Israel, then Jerusalem probably should be. If you decide to visit Jordan or the West Bank then I would suggest joining a tour as well.

National parks

many Israeli national parks offer free tours. But usually, these tours are given by volunteers on the weekends and in Hebrew. So I would suggest contacting the national park in question and asking about available tours.

Earlier I mentioned Complexity and Megiddo National Park, with more than twenty different archaeological layers, is not an easy website to understand. Besides, there's a lot of background information. Hence, I would recommend joining a tour at Megiddo. Other popular national parks to join a tour are Caesarea National Park and Beit Shean National Park.

Special Access

Another reason to join a tour when they let you do something you couldn't help but do. For example, you can visit Hula Agamon yourself, but if you'd like to get closer to the birds, then I suggest joining their Safari Wagon Tour. Another example is camel riding, you will have to come for a tour in one of the ranches.

Don't rent a car

Some people choose not to rent a car. So they look for tours that pick up and drop off to major cities. And if, for example, you are going to visit Jerusalem for several days and want a day weekend, Masada and the Dead Sea are popular options. You can visit these sites yourself, but if you don't rent a car then these types of tours are something to consider.

Scams in Israel

If you are careful you will not be scammed. And I was never betrayed. Instead, I'll list the most common complaints I've seen online and on TV shows. And here they are:

  • Taxi Drivers - There have been many complaints that taxi drivers fail to turn the meter or give incorrect change. It helps in technology. Use one of the apps I mentioned above and you won't stumble upon such problems.
  • Free tours of West Bank - if offered a free tour, only take it if you know the organization behind it. There have been many scenarios where a taxi driver or tour guide offers a free ride / tour in the West Bank. Then the tourists are taken to a gift shop and are not allowed to leave until they make a substantial purchase. And of course, in most cases, the products purchased are counterfeit. Moreover, since it all happens in the West Bank, you have no one to complain about.
    So if you want to visit the West Bank, take one of the organized tours. Ultimately, "TANSTAAFL."
  • Archaeological Articles - In the "What Are The Best Things To Buy In Israel?" Section I mentioned that many of the antiques sold might not be real. Thus, if you are not sure if it is real or fake, don't buy it. "Whenever there is any doubt, there is no doubt."
  • red threads - although this is not a scam, I decided to close it so you could avoid it. In some places, for example in the Jewish Quarter in the Old City in Jerusalem, you will see religious Jews with many red threads. If you go close, they offer to tire your wrist with one of these wire. Then they will say a short prayer. and after that, ask for a donation. If you don't plan on giving them a contribution, thank them and don't put the wire.

Keep these scams in mind and dodge them.

Can you travel from Israel to Jordan?

The short answer is yes. There are many guided tours to Jordan. The shorter (1 - 2 days) are Petra and Wadi Rum, and the longer (up to a week) will also include a visit to Jerash, Aqaba, and other sites.

There are three border crossings between Israel and Jordan and they are:

  1. The Allenby / King Hussein border crossing, 51 km from Amman, and 54 km from Jerusalem. This border crossing is located in the southern Jordan Valley.
  2. Jordan River Crossing / Sheikh Hussein Bridge is 88 km from Amman and 11 km from Beit Shean.
  3. Yitzhak Rabin / Wadi Araba border crossing in the south, 329km from Amman, and 7km from Eilat.

Note that they are not open 24 × 7, so if you are traveling independently in Jordan then you will need to look for opening hours. And you also need to check what are the transportation options and their costs in Jordan.

Since tours to Jordan are relatively inexpensive, most of the people I know joined one of the tours available. Another benefit of a tour is that some tour operators take care of visas for all participants. Yes, you do need a visa to visit Jordan, and not all border crossings allow you to get a local visa. Thus, you need to prepare it beforehand.

Where to travel in Israel?

If this is your first time in Israel then Jerusalem, the Dead Sea, and Tel Aviv are the most popular travel destinations. But I would encourage you to visit the Israel Travel Planner Post. There you will find a list of the most popular attractions in Israel, and then I divided the whole country into blocks and listed what you see in each area. There are also more travel suggestions for first-time visitors and families with children. So, head to the Israel Travel Planner.

If you haven't found an answer to your question, leave a comment below and I'll do my best to answer.

Additional resources

Here are some resources that I created to help travelers:

And if you have any questions, check out Useful Tourist Information on Israel.