PRACTICAL INFORMATION

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Geography:

Israel, slightly larger than Massachusetts, located on the southeastern coastline of the Mediterranean Sea, it is narrow, semi-arid country with a wide spectrum of geographical features. The three basic major centers, Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Haifa.

In spite of its size it is a country with much topographic variety including mountains and plains, fertile lands and desert which are often minutes apart. The width of the country, from the Mediterranean Sea in the west to the Dead Sea in the east, can be crossed by car in about 90 minutes; and the trip from Metulla, in the far north, to Eilat at the country's southern tip takes about six hours.

Distance:

TO:

JERUSALEM

TEL AVIV

HAIFA

TIBERIAS

FROM:

Kms.

Miles

Kms.

Miles

Kms.

Miles

Kms.

Miles

JERUSALEM

-

-

62

39

159

99

157

97

TEL AVIV

62

39

-

-

95

59

132

82

HAIFA

159

99

95

56

-

-

69

43

TIBERIAS

157

97

132

82

69

43

-

-

BEERSHEVA

84

52

113

70

210

130

236

147

AKKO

181

112

117

73

22

14

56

35

ARAD

104

65

158

98

255

158

232

144

ASHKELON

73

45

63

39

160

99

197

122

BANIAS

227

141

202

125

126

78

70

43

DEAD SEA

127

79

189

117

248

154

218

135

EILAT

312

194

354

220

451

280

403

250

JERICHO

39

24

101

63

148

92

118

73

MITZPE RAMON

167

104

196

122

293

182

319

198

NAZARETH

157

97

102

63

35

22

29

18

NETANYA

93

58

29

18

66

41

103

64

REHOVOT

53

33

24

15

121

75

158

98

ROSH HANIKRA

201

125

137

85

42

26

76

47

SAFED

192

120

168

104

72

45

36

22

ZICHRON YAACOV

121

75

69

43

38

24

78

48

Weather

The Holy Land, known as a country with plenty of sunshine, its climate ranges from temperate to tropical. Regional conditions vary considerably, with humid summers and mild winters on the coast; dry summers and moderately cold winters in the hill regions, hot dry summers and pleasant winters in the Jordan Valley; and year-round semi-desert conditions in the Negev. Two distinct seasons predominate: a rainy winter period from November to May; and a dry summer season which extends through the next six months. Rainfall is relatively heavy in the north and center of the country, with much less in the northern Negev and almost negligible amounts in the southern areas. Weather extremes range from occasional winter snowfall at higher elevations to periodic oppressively hot dry winds which send temperatures soaring, particularly in spring and autumn.

Religious Holidays

There are three major religions represented in the Holy Land. Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Please remember that during the seasons of the Jewish holidays including Christmas and Easter are considered peak seasons. For further information, please search under religious: Holidays The Interfaith Calendar of Religious Holidays Information Center: Opening hours as posted by the Christian Information Centre

Medication

Before you travel to the Holy Land, bring all the medicines you will need. Keep all of your medications in their original bottles or packing. If you have preexisting medical problems, we highly recommend to bring a letter from your doctor, describing your condition and any prescription medications, including their specific names. In general, no special immunizations are needed for travel to the Holy Land. In case you have a problem, ask your guide help you to make contact with a clinic or hospital. Emergency help and ambulance: Dial 101 for Magen David Adom (the Red Star of David).

Accident Insurance

Without travel protection, even the best – organized tours can be impacted by unexpected: Suppose you fall injury during your trip. We recommend to take travel insurance that includes emergency evacuation with accompaniment. Without insurance, the arrangements for getting home can be complicated and costing. One may have to leave before the group, and one may have to be accompanied. Not all travel insurance policies cover such eventualities. Be sure to take one that does.For U.S. citizens, please be advised: Medicare does not cover hospital or medical costs outside the U.S.

Required Travel Documents

Anyone visiting Israel needs a passport that is valid for at least 6 months, plus a return ticket. As of visa, in most cases visitors from North America and Western Europe will be granted a visa automatically upon arrival. For visitors who so request, the visa may be stamped not in the passport but issued on a separate document. For specific details, check with local Israeli embassy or consulate. More information.

Banking and Money

Banks are open every morning from 8:30 am - 12:30 pm. Some Commercial and Tourist branches are open until 2 pm, and most banks offer afternoon banking hours from 4 pm - 6 pm two days a week. All banks are closed on Saturdays and Jewish Holidays. Local and foreign money may be brought into Israel as cash, travelers’ checks, credit cards or State of Israel bonds. Foreign currency of all kinds may be exchanged at the airport, banks, post offices, most hotels or licensed exchange agencies. A passport is required when exchanging travelers’ checks. The rates vary from place to place, and banks charge a commission. It is recommended, though not obligatory to carry a small amount of US dollars since certain tourist sites, especially in the Old City of Jerusalem, take payment in dollars. Holders of international credit cards can withdraw local at banks which accept their credit cards. There are Automated Teller Machines outside most banks. Many ATMs will provide foreign currency, and you can see at the ATM if that service is provided. Most hotels, restaurants and business honor all major world credit cards. The Israeli currency is the New Israel Shekel (NIS) or shekel for short. There are 100 agorot (agora in singular) in each shekel. Bank notes are in denominations of NIS 20, 50, 100, and 200; coins are in denominations of NIS10, NIS5, NIS1 and 50, 10 and 5 agorot. Links: www.oanda.com 

Bargaining

In the Holy Land bargaining is acceptable in most places. In the open-air markets do not hesitate to bargain as it is part of the experience and doing so can lower the price. Storekeepers are legally required to display prices and for the most part are not open to bargaining. This is also true of restaurants and public transportation. Passengers are advised to ask cab drivers to turn on the meter thus avoiding unnecessary haggling or misunderstanding.

Electric Current

Most hotels in Israel will have 220 volts AC 50 Hz. You will need to bring along necessary converters and adapters to operate any 110 volts, 60 Hz appliances such as hair dryers, electric razors, etc.

Departing Israel

Israel's airport security is very tight, so it is vital that you arrive in plenty of time to board your flight. Be aware that you will need at least three hours for pre-departure screening and check-in.

What to pack

Dress in Israel and Palestine is casual. Plan to dress casually and remember to pack lightly. Be sure to take comfortable walking shoes, sunscreen, a sun hat, a swimming suit, and a sweater or jacket for cool evenings. Comfortable, casual and "mix-and- match" are the secret to a successful tour wardrobe. Women should wear a modest outfit with shoulders and knees covered for touring religious sites. Men also will need to have their knees covered at religious sites. Feel free to bring along some shorts, especially for Masada and the Dead Sea area. Many passengers, both men and women find it quite comfortable to tour in shorts during the day at these warmer locations. Each evening we will post the next day's itinerary on the hotel's bulletin board so that you may know in advance when shorts are not appropriate.

VAT Refund

Purchases can be made in Israeli Shekels, U.S. dollars or Euros. Tourists who have purchased items with a value exceeding $100 (including VAT) in stores that are registered with the Ministry of Tourism or in stores participating in the VAT-refund plan are entitled to a refund of VAT when they leave the country. To receive VAT refund, ensure that you get a receipt with a list of all the items you have purchased and details of the purchaser. The receipt and purchases must be put into a sealed bag. Tourists must then go to the “Change Place” at Ben Gurion airport or other exit port. If you wish to send the items that you purchased with your luggage, you must declare the purchase at the security check, and present your passport, flight ticket, purchases and receipts at the counter. The attendant will open the bag, examine the contents, sign the receipt, and refund the VAT in any currency minus a commission. The VAT refund can also be sent to your address abroad for an additional charge. There is no VAT refund for the following items: food, drinks, tobacco products, electrical appliances, cameras, film or other photography equipment. For more information, go to this Israeli government link

Telephones and Internet

To direct dial home from Israel, dial 012, 013, 014- , then the area code and telephone number. Direct toll-free service is available to international operators for holders of the following credit card numbers: AT&T-177-100-2727; MCI-177-150-2727; Sprint-177-102-2727. The international dialing code for Israel is 972 (from outside Israel) to direct-dial Israel from overseas, omit the "0" in the local Israeli area code. Public telephones are either operated with tokens or magnetic cards, which are available at post offices, hotel gift shops and lobbies, automatic vending machines and private vendors. Internet: Most of the hotels provide internet stations for a fee. Ask your internet provider how to access your e-mail from another company before you leave home. Cell phones: You can rent a cell phone for use while you are in Israel. Ask your domestic cell phone company or try internet search “rent a cell phone in Israel”.

Time

Israeli Standard Time is 2 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time, 1 hour ahead of mid-European Time; and 7 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time, U.S.A.

Valuables

We recommend that you use the safe in your room or in the safety deposit boxes in the hotel for your valuables.

Smoking

Smoking is not allowed on any of our touring vehicles. However, frequent rest stops are made allowing time for smoking.

  IN THE
HOLYLAND
   
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