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ESSENTIAL ITEMS

Average summer temperatures range from 18 degrees to 32 degrees C (65 degrees to 90 degrees F) over most of the country. Winters are mild, with temperatures averaging 14 degrees C (57 degrees F) along the coast and 9 degrees C (48 degrees F) in the mountains. The Rift Valley is about 9 C degrees (15 F degrees) warmer than the rest of the nation in winter. The Dead Sea area is the lowest place on the planet and the climate is one of the hottest regions in the world.

TEMPERATURE

Arriving by aircraft you will notice a couple of security guards waiting when you go up the escalators from your flight - if you seem suspicious they will not hesitate to stop you.  But if you dress up nicely, seem a part of another group or a family they are less likely to bother you.

If you are stopped for questioning having the telephone number of friends or colleagues in Israel who can vouch for you always helps the process and if travelling as part of a group security will usually question you separately before cross checking your accounts.

Be aware that passengers who have recently visited Arabic countries (except Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Mauritania and Qatar) may be subject to further questioning.

Bag inspection, both by machine and hand, is routine and should be expected, in addition to repeated interviews about what you intend to do while in Israel.


Tel Aviv Airport Security

Ben Gurion International Airport, the country's largest in Tel Aviv, is also one of the world's most secured airports.

All cars, taxis, buses and trucks go through a preliminary security checkpoint before entering the airport compound.

Armed guards spot-check the vehicles by looking into cars, taxis and buses, exchanging a few words with the driver and passengers.  Armed security personnel stationed at the terminal entrances keep a close watch on those who enter the buildings. If someone arouses their suspicion or looks nervous, they may strike up a conversation to further assess the person's intent. Plainclothes armed personnel patrol the area outside the building, and hidden surveillance cameras operate at all times.


Email Inspections by Israeli Airport Security

Security checks may not stop at your luggage. Since mid 2012, immigration and security officials have asked certain in-bound visitors to open their email accounts or Facebook pages to be inspected. Several Palestinian-Americans and known Palestinian sympathizers have been subjected to this new type of search and have been refused entry to Israel.

You can read details of their cases in this Boston.com report.

According to the report, Israeli officials admit they use ethnic profiling, calling it a 'necessary evil' to maintain security.

This means intending visitors of Arab or Indian descent, or those known to have publicly supported the Palestinian cause will be specifically targeted for this type of interrogation.


Will I Be Targeted When Arriving in Israel?

If you have a history of publicly supporting the Palestinian cause, or have publicly advocated sanctions against Israel, then the Israeli authorities will probably know about it and you may very likely be interrogated in this way.

If you have not publicly supported the Palestinian cause and are genuinely visiting Israel and the West Bank for a vacation, BUT are Islamic, of Arab or Indian descent, or have an Arabic or Indian name, you still may be asked to open your email and social media accounts.

It doesn't matter that you are not carrying a computer with you, the security agent will ask you to log-in on one of theirs.

You may be asked if you feel more Arab than American (or British or whatever nationality you are). Think carefully about your answer.  It doesn't sound fair or 'right', but for the time being it's a reality.


Airport Departure Security in Israel

If leaving the country arrive at the terminal at least three hours before your flight as Israeli security procedures can be time-consuming.

Departing passengers are personally questioned by security agents even before arriving at the check-in desk. This interview can last as little as a minute, or as long as an hour if a passenger is selected for additional screening.

Luggage and body searches may be conducted. After the search, bags are placed through an X-ray machine before passengers proceed to the check-in counters.

Occasionally, if security have assessed a person as a low risk, they will pass them straight through to the check-in desks, bypassing the main x-ray machines.

(Source: Worldnomads.com)

AIRPORT SECURITY

Independence Day, Israel national holiday, marks Israel’s Declaration of Independence with the end of the British Mandate. It is the only full holiday in the calendar decreed by law without a tradition of hundreds or thousands of years.

Independence Day is on the fifth day of the Jewish month of Iyar (from the end of April till mid-May), the day in which David Ben-Gurion, the state’s first prime minister, declared the country’s independence in 1948. It was declared a full holiday in a law enacted in the Knesset in 1949. Over the years various traditions evolved to celebrate the holiday, and it is now marked by family picnics in scenic spots all over the country.

Independence Day celebrations begin on the evening of the fifth of Iyar with the end of Yom Hazikaron, the Remembrance Day for the Fallen of Israel’s Wars, with special ceremonies marking the transition from mourning to celebration. The main ceremony is held in Har (Mount) Herzl in Jerusalem. During Independence Day, the World Bible Quiz is held in Jerusalem and the prestigious Israel Prizes are distributed to the year’s winners in a special ceremony.

Most businesses are closed on Independence Day, but cafes restaurants and other places of entertainment are open because it is not a religious holiday.


Holiday Customs

​Flags – Many Israelis fly flags from their houses, porches or cars, often with colorful decorations.

Entertainment Stages – Because of Independence Day’s profoundly secular nature, a tradition of evolved of free entertainment by performers, dancers and comics on stages set up in the center of cities and other communities on the eve of Independence Day. The shows are often accompanied by fireworks. The main streets of towns and cities are usually packed with people.

Barbeque - Independence Day has become Israel’s unofficial barbeque holiday with families picnicking huge amounts of meat in every green spot they can find in the country.

Visits the IDF camps – Many of the army’s camps are open to the public on Independence Day, offering Israelis a chances to see arms, navy ships, tanks and aircraft.

Israeli Movies - Local channels devote all of their programming to the holiday and often screen old Israeli movies which have become cult items.

Prayer – Even though this is a national and not a religious holidayt, religious Zionists tend to say a special prayer composed by the chief rabbinate. This prayer sometimes includes blowing a shofar (a ram’s horn).


Important Information

Most sites in the countryside are usually packed on Independence Day, also because this is the only holiday in which both religious and secular Israeli Jews can travel. Since so many Israelis use this day to visits these sites, tourists might wish to stay inside the cities, the main streets of which are also full of people.

INFORMATION ABOUT INDEPENDENCE DAY

Average summer temperatures range from 18 degrees to 32 degrees C (65 degrees to 90 degrees F) over most of the country. Winters are mild, with temperatures averaging 14 degrees C (57 degrees F) along the coast and 9 degrees C (48 degrees F) in the mountains. The Rift Valley is about 9 C degrees (15 F degrees) warmer than the rest of the nation in winter. The Dead Sea area is the lowest place on the planet and the climate is one of the hottest regions in the world.

TEMPERATURE

BE AWARE, BE HONEST, BE PATIENT, BE RESPECTFUL

Israel is probably the safest places to travel in the Middle East – you are statistically far safer in Israel than you would be in most major US or European cities. Israel’s safety depends on the implementation of strict security screening, particularly at international land and air borders. These are more stringent than in most other countries and cause some travellers to Israel slight headaches when they arrive to Israel by bus or plane. But let’s be realistic and realize that 99% of visitors have no problems whatsoever!

You shouldn’t assume that you will be immune from questioning or detention simply because you have an American or European passport, or believe that you don’t look “suspicious.” Israeli authorities can pull anyone aside, sometimes at random and sometimes because of a perceived warning sign. Likewise, you shouldn’t take it personally if you do get questioned: Israeli police and military are simply doing their jobs – they have very strict codes of conduct and are trained to be as quick and professional as possible.

Israeli security personnel do their best to be efficient and quick. Be as patient as possible when waiting to enter Israel.  If you are among the travellers to Israel who are pulled aside, it is imperative that you answer any questions you’re asked honestly and completely. Not only are security personnel likely to figure out that you’ve embellished if you choose to do so, but failing to provide sufficient information can prolong the amount of time you’re held at security.

While you may find Israeli security procedures tiresome or even excessive, understand that your cooperation is essential to Israeli military and police keeping their country secure. Remember that even though you present no threat to Israel, Israeli officials may choose to question or detain you to verify that – you have nothing to worry about, except a small waiting period. Likewise, remember that if it were your country, you would want to be certain that those who were coming in were good people, like you!

ISRAELI SECURITY

The Israeli currency is the Shekel (officially “New Israeli Shekel”), worth around 30 cents. Click here for the current conversion rate. On arrival in Israel, it’s a good idea to use your bank-card to withdraw some Shekels from the ATM in the arrival-halls at Ben Gurion - or change small amounts of dollars/or travelers’ checks at a bank or your hotel. There are ATM machines all over Israel and credit cards are widely accepted.

CURRENCY

Almost all hotel rooms are equipped with hairdryers, and all have shaver sockets.  For other appliances, Israel's electricity is 220V A/C, single phase 50-cycles; 110V-220V transformers can be used.  Israeli outlets have three prongs, but European two-prong adapters usually work. If you don’t have an adapter that seems to work, call the hotel’s front desk or visit a hardware store.

ELECTRICITY

Visiting Bethlehem is perfectly simple, and thousands of visitors to Israel do it every day. You can either take a tour (check with your hotel concierge) or take a cab to the Jerusalem/Bethlehem crossing and take a Palestinian cab into Bethlehem.

CAN I VISIT THE PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY

Visiting Bethlehem is perfectly simple, and thousands of visitors to Israel do it every day. You can either take a tour (check with your hotel concierge) or take a cab to the Jerusalem/Bethlehem crossing and take a Palestinian cab into Bethlehem.

CAN I VISIT THE PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY

Mobile – Israel’s national and international telecommunications systems are among the most advanced in the world. You are able to use your Australian mobile phones in Israel; however, we would recommend getting a local phone for more affordable call rates. Check with your Australian mobile provider that you will have access in Israel, charges etc.

Internet access – the hotels provide wireless / wired connection. You can also use your Blackberry and iPhone or hire a USB card at a local rate.

More information about Mobile Phone Operators will be provided soon.

PHONE COVERAGE

All visitors to Israel must hold a passport that is valid for at least six months from the date they enter the country. Australian, American & Canadian citizens will be issued with a three month tourist visa (free of charge) on arrival at the airport.

Click here for more information.

VISA

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