First time in Israel?
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Israel has three official languages: Hebrew, Arabic, and English. The streets of Jerusalem are filled with English-speaking immigrants and tourists, and you’ll have no problem getting by. Tour venues and most shops and eateries have fluent English staff. Furthermore, street signs are all translated into English. In addition, you’ll hear a lot of Russian, French, and Spanish. What to Pack: A dictionary, but only if you want to work on your Hebrew or Arabic. If you prefer to speak English, you’ll be fine in Jerusalem.
Israel effectively has two seasons: Summer (no rain) and winter (the rainy season). Summer is from May to September and is arid and hot, with heat peaking in July/August. The winter season is generally from November to March, with cold air, wet conditions, and temperatures occasionally reaching freezing. Snow is rare. The weather in the intermediate seasons of spring (April) and fall (October) can go either way. Read more about the weather. What to Pack: A good winter coat, solid rain protection for September-April, and a light jacket when unsure about the weather. During summer, the nights can be cool, so pack a long sleeve, and in winter, pack layers for warmer days.
The service sector in Jerusalem is open Sunday through Friday, with Friday closing earlier for the Sabbath. Sunday – Thursday business hours tend to be as follows: Shops/Restaurants/Attractions: Opening from 9-10 am until 7-9 pm. Grocery stores: Around 8 am-10 pm. Banks: Usually 8:30 am-1:00 pm and reopening some days of the week from around 4-6 pm. ATM machines operate 24/7.
Jerusalem is a major center of tourism.There are amazing range of tours available for you to choose from. Check out Jerusalem day tours, awesome Dead Sea and Masada Tours, Nazereth Tours and more...
Religious areas in Jerusalem include the Old City, any synagogue, church, or mosque, and some ultra-orthodox neighborhoods such as Meah She’arim. In these areas, it’s appropriate for women to have arms covered and don dresses or skirts (a skirt can be wrapped and worn over pants). Men should wear long sleeves and pants. Also, couples generally refrain from touching in these places. What to Pack: Men – Pants/Long Sleeve Shirts; Women: Skirt (can be wrapped around) and long-sleeve shirt or cover.
The Jewish Sabbath (“Shabbat”) and Jewish holidays begin before sundown and end 25 hours later, about an hour after sunset. In the Jewish areas, the city closes, and gatherings move mostly to synagogues and homes. This has been said, major industries maintain operations (including hotels) with some changes to practice to observe the laws of Shabbat. For example, since manual electricity usage is prohibited by Jewish tradition on Shabbat, timers are placed on elevators, heaters, and ovens. However, several museums, movie theaters, restaurants, and bars remain open. Emergency services remain fully functional. You can try the non-Jewish areas in the Old City or eastern Jerusalem if you need grocery items or drug stores. Likewise, there is no public transportation on Shabbat, but taxi cabs operate. So, no point waiting at a bus stop unless you’re waiting there for a taxi! You can also order a taxi by phone. Most roads remain open, except for some ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods, so if you’re driving on Shabbat, you’ll need to consider that. What to Pack if Attending Shabbat Worship or Meals: Casual Dressy Clothing. Men – Pants/Long Sleeve Shirts; Women: Skirt or Dress and long-sleeve blouse or cover.
In Israel, sit-down waiter services are tipped 10-15% of the total bill. You might see a tip glass at service counters, but tipping is not required. Tipping is not required for cab services, yet one might choose to round up rather than accept small changes.
It’s easy to stay in touch when visiting Jerusalem. If bringing your mobile phone, check into renting a SIM card locally, as it might be cheaper than arranging usage via your home mobile phone company. Wireless internet abounds in many restaurants and outside hubs, and most hotels and internet cafes are prevalent in popular areas. You can reference our page on the Internet and phones in Jerusalem for more information. What to Pack: If desired, your mobile phone and laptop, with chargers.
Sockets are round-pronged, and the three-pin variation, although two-prongs, also work, so depending on your electrical device, you might need a plug adapter. Israel operates on 220V AC, like in Europe. Therefore, 110V appliances (usually from the US) will require a transformer. What to Pack: Transformer 110-220 (if US-based) and plug adapters. These can easily be purchased in the airport or most electronics stores.
Stay alert, as Israelis are known for fast driving. At the same time, traffic laws are effectively the same as in any Western country, except for crosswalks, where cars need to slow down and stop if a pedestrian stands next to the crosswalk waiting to cross. Wait, and be sure the vehicle has stopped for you.
For personal safety, one should take precautions as any tourist might. Even though Jerusalem maintains a low crime rate, You’ll likely feel as secure as you would in any western country – Jerusalem visitors say it’s not at all like what you might see in the mainstream media. At the same time, it is normal to have private security guards at entrances to most venues and stores, and police or army patrolling central areas.
Planning your trip and looking for an overview of Jerusalem?