FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
1. VISA: Do I need a visa to travel to Israel?
No. Americans, Canadians and citizens of most western countries need just a passport to come to Israel: no visa is required. Your passport must be valid for at least six months from the date you leave Israel. Please take a moment to check the validity of your passport per above and order a new one if necessary.
2. SUITCASES: How many can I take?
All airlines flying to Israel allow passengers flying in Economy class to check one suitcase under the plane and take one carry on and one personal bag on to the plane. The allowance for Business Class is generally two checked bags. Please check your flight documents to confirm prior to flying.
3. SAFETY: Is it safe to travel to Israel?
Yes. Travel in Israel is generally quite safe. We are constantly in touch with security sources throughout the trip. We would not encourage tourists to come if we felt they would be in the slightest danger.
4. HEALTH: Do I need to receive any special vaccination before my trip to Israel?
No. Israel is an entirely western country with an advanced level of hygiene, health care, diagnosis and medicine that is the envy of much of the world and on a par with the best of North America and Western Europe.
Can you drink tap water in Israel?
Absolutely. Tap water in Israel is safe and delicious. But, you will also find bottled mineral water everywhere. (It’s important to make sure you drink a lot, especially if you are walking, hiking or exercising during hot weather – hopefully there will be some.)
5. TRAVELING TO AND FROM ISRAEL: Can I combine visits to Jordan with my visit to Israel?
Absolutely, many visitors to Israel take a day tour to Petra in Jordan. You can fly between Tel Aviv and Amman, or travel overland through a number of border crossings. (We will assist you with any questions or requests you might have.)
Can I choose not to have an Israel stamp in my passport in case I travel to some countries that don’t recognize Israel?
Yes, just let the passport officer know.
6. TRANSPORTATION: How will we get around in Israel?
We have arranged private buses for the group. The group will travel together on one bus throughout the trip.
How do I get around during my (limited) free time?
Private Taxi – a more expensive option, taxis can be flagged down or ordered by phone almost anywhere, and they’ll take you around town or between cities.
Buses – The most popular form of transportation in Israel, you can buy tickets at any city’s central bus station or from the driver. Please note that most buses don’t operate in Israel on Saturdays (Shabbat). For schedules and fares of buses in Israel, please visit: Egged website.
Train – The Israel Railways is an affordable easy way to travel between major cities in Israel. Please note that the trains don’t operate in Israel on Saturdays (Shabbat). For train schedules and fares, please visit the Israel Railways website.
What are the distances between major cities?
Tel Aviv to Jerusalem 37 miles, 50 minutes
Tel Aviv to Tiberias/Galilee 81 miles, 100 minutes
Tel Aviv to Ramon Crater 130 miles, 150 minutes
Tel Aviv to Haifa 90 miles, 70 minutes
Jerusalem to Tiberias 109 miles, 120 minutes
Jerusalem to Masada 56 miles, 90 minutes
7. ELECTRICITY: Will I need an adapter for my appliances in Israel?
The electric current in Israel is 220 volts, C, single phase, 50 Hertz, the same as in Europe. Most Israeli sockets are three-pronged but most accept European two-pronged plug, for which you need a plug adapter. If your appliance does not work on 220 volts, you will need a voltage adapter (transformer). Your hotels should have adapters and transformers available. Most hotel bathrooms have hair-dryers as well as low-wattage American-style sockets for electric shavers in which you can usually charge your cell-phone or tablet.
8. COMMUNICATIONS: Will I have easy internet access?
Most hotels in Israel have Wi-Fi available for hotel guests at customary prices. Many cafes and restaurants offer a complementary Wi-Fi service. Since September 2013, both Tel Aviv and Jerusalem offer citywide free Wi-Fi network which provides 80 free Internet “hot spots” across the the central parts of the cities.
Will I be able to use my cell phone in Israel?
If you have an international plan, your cell phone may work in Israel, please check with your local provider about calling and data packages.
Can I rent a cellular phone in Israel?
Certainly. You can rent a phone when you arrive at any time during your visit. Read about renting a cellular phone here.
We have made arrangements with the 019Mobile cell phone company. Information about rates and plans can be found here.
What is the country code to dial to Israel?
9. WEATHER: What is the weather like in Israel?
Israel enjoys long, warm, dry summers and generally mild winters, which at times bring cold weather and rain. Temperatures can vary widely - the best is travel with layers and rainwear. For more specific information, click here.
What kind of clothing should I pack?
Lightweight T-shirts, sleeveless shirts, jeans, and a bathing suit are recommended, in addition to a few sweaters and winter-wear. We will supply a suggested packing list for the trip. Some religious sites require long pants for men and clothing that covers the shoulders and knees for women.
10. MONEY AND CURRENCY: What is the currency in Israel?
The Shekel; you’ll find it abbreviated as NIS (New Israeli Shekel). Exchange rates of the Shekel to all foreign currencies as well as other information can be found here.
What credit cards are accepted?
You can use your ATM card to obtain Shekels at ATM’s throughout Israel. You can also use American Express, MasterCard and Visa cards at most Israeli hotels, restaurants and stores. Before the trip, remember to notify your credit card companies and bank about your upcoming trip!
Should I purchase Shekels before the trip?
You can purchase shekels either before the trip or once you arrive in Israel.
What taxes can I expect to pay in Israel?
The Vat (Value Added Tax) in Israel is 17%. It’s already included in most prices in Israel. VAT is waived for tourists at hotels, tour companies and car rental agencies. Like in Europe and elsewhere, tourists can receive a refund of the VAT they paid on purchases when departing the country, the refund program and the purchase amount in one tax invoice including V.A.T. must exceed ILS. 400.
11. When do I tip and when can I bargain?
In restaurants if the bill does not include service, a 12% tip can be added. In hotels the bellhop and other service providers can be tipped. Taxi drivers are not usually tipped.
You can bargain in open air markets but not in stores or restaurants.
12. RELIGIOUS CUSTOMS: Is everything closed on Shabbat in Israel?
Shabbat (the Sabbath) is the Jewish holy day of the week observed every Saturday. Shabbat starts at sunset on Friday and ends at sundown on Saturday evening.
All public offices are closed on Shabbat, as are banks, most stores and businesses; throughout Israel there is a growing number of shops open on Shabbat.
In most cities, public transportation (trains and buses) do not operate on Shabbat.
Most non-kosher restaurants are open on Shabbat.
It is recommended to check in advance if you are planning on visiting a specific location.
Radio and TV broadcasts operate as usual.
13. Are all the restaurants in Israel kosher?
Not all of the restaurants in Israel are kosher. Places offering kosher food usually display a kashrut certificate granted to them by the local rabbinate. Most hotels serve kosher food, as well as some restaurants. But there is no binding law. So if kashrut is important to you, you must check it out at each separate place where you dine. For more information, Click here. Please note that all of the restaurants we will eat at on our trip are certified kosher.
14. What are the phone numbers for emergency services?
100 – Police
101 – Magen David Adom
102 – Fire Department
Tourist Police – 972-(0)3-5165382
15. Please tell us something about our travel company.
Makor Educational Journeys was established in September 2013 as a joint venture between Ezra Korman and IGT, International Group Travel, with the intention of creating and implementing in-depth and educationally oriented travel programs to Israel and other destinations of Jewish interest around the world. The synthesis of IGT’s outstanding travel and administrative infrastructure with Ezra’s vast experience in developing and implementing unique and creative travel experiences to almost all points in the Jewish world, puts Makor at the forefront of the educational travel field. As a division of IGT, Makor is fully integrated into the IGT administrative and operational structure. The IGT team covers all aspects of preparation and implementation of any type of project, large or small. For more information about Makor, visit http://www.makorjourneys.com/about.
Can you address my special dietary needs?
Yes, please tell us what your needs are and we will make sure to take care of you on the trip.
Should I get trip insurance?
Yes. Makor urges you to purchase cancellation insurance and supplemental medical coverage (which covers preexisting conditions). While you are free to purchase insurance from any company of your choice, Makor has made arrangements with SMS-Travel Insurance Center of Omaha, Nebraska. SMS has over 25 years of experience as worldwide insurance brokers and can help you choose the policy that best meets your needs. Our contact person is Yonah Engel.
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; USA phone: 1-888-747-3773; Mention promo code: IGT-MAKOR.
Please note: We cannot accept responsibility for any losses or expenses which you or any member of your party may incur as a result of failure to secure adequate insurance coverage.
Is there anything else I should know about this trip?
Yes. While the itinerary is demanding, it is in many ways a menu of daily options. If you are feeling a bit tired or need a break, you can always skip an option (other than transfer days between cities).