Israel is one of the most popular travel destinations. It is a beautiful country rich with culture and history. You are going to enjoy every moment you are there, but with the following guide and tips you can increase the level of your enjoyment and experience Israel better.
1. The Sabbath is on Saturday
In Israel the majority of businesses are closed on Saturday. Saturday is the Jewish Sabbath and in observance with their religion most businesses are closed, trains do not run, banks will not be open, and you may have trouble traveling with public transportation.
2. Dressing appropriately is required
In Israel if you are in Tel Aviv then you can dress pretty much like you would back home, if it’s in the United States, Europe or any western country. But if you are visiting some of the religious sites, weather if its for Jews, Christians or Muslims, then the way you dress will be important.
Women are not allowed to show their legs or arms. You will need long pants or a long skirt to cover your legs. You also will need to wear long sleeves or cover your arms with a shawl. You should wear a scarf to cover your hair, and neither man, nor women are allowed to wear short pants.
In religious or holy areas, women are expected to cover more of their bodies than what is expected in the United States, but do not think that the women of Israel are seen as weaker. Women serve in the military and perform almost all duties that are performed by men.
You should not kiss or display affections of the physical nature while you are visiting religious areas or holy sites.
3. Picture taking
In the United States you are used to everyone having their cell phone cameras pointed at something all of the time. In Israel if you are in a religious section taking pictures could be considered an invasion of privacy. Be respectful and do not take unsolicited pictures of someone you do not know.
You do not have to learn Hebrew to be able to communicate to the Israeli people. Most of the population of Israel can speak good English. If someone does speak to you and you cannot understand them simply tell them you do not speak Hebrew. They will more than likely repeat what they said in English.
5. Bag searches
In Israel security procedures include the searching of bags and purses of people who are entering train stations, bus terminals, shopping malls, airports, and other places. Do not take this personally. Be willing and compliant and be prepared for the possibility of a bag search.
6. Identity at all times
When you are in Israel keep your identification on you at all times. If you reach a bag check or you come across the need to prove your identity you will be prepared.
7. Military sightings
You are going to see more soldiers in Israel. The military service makes a big presence in the cities, and since all Israelis are required to serve in the military after they graduate you might see some very young-looking soldiers.
Do not get alarmed if you see a young person carrying a weapon but not wearing a uniform. A large number of the military carry their weapons even when they are not on duty, or not wearing a uniform.