When we came back from Israel and told our trip, people were surprised that we chose this destination. The first question that comes to mind is that of security. Then comes a lot of practical questions about the country. Here are our tips to prepare your trip to Israel!
1. When to go to Israel?
The best period runs from October to May if you want to visit the major sites of the country. You are advised against the months when religious holidays are important because the prices go up and the crowd invades the religious and tourist sites. The months to avoid are: September, April and Second half of December. June, July and August are very hot and sometimes hard to tolerate (especially in the desert). For our part, we went in late October to avoid religious holidays and enjoy some nice weather.
2. How to go to Israel? What are the formalities ?
When we decide to go to Israel, this question comes very quickly. You will see that it is quite simple to return to Israel. At the exit you will be asked the most questions. Stay serious (no dubious jokes) and stay patient. As some countries do not allow entry into their territory if your passport contains a stamp of Israel, the authorities will give you a sort of independent paper visa that should not be lost. At the exit, you will be given a similar paper output. If you are French, you will not need a visa to visit the country but you will need your passport valid at least 6 months after your date of entry and your visit can not exceed 90 days (depending on your point input). We read a lot of things on the web about searches and prolonged interrogations. Luckily we did not suffer and honestly we did not see it. Only people from countries at risk or whose nationality is considered to be at risk by the Israeli authorities will be concerned. Or if you have things to blame you.
For information, most of us return to Israel via Tel Aviv International Airport. There is no international airport in Jerusalem. This is not a problem as the airport is 35 minutes from Jerusalem, which is quite convenient.
3. How to travel in Israel? in Palestine?
If you want to visit Jerusalem, we advise you to do it on foot and to avoid public transport. The city is not huge and it’s pretty good. To visit the rest of the country, the car remains the best way even if here the drivers show a lot of incivilities. It will therefore be necessary to remain very vigilant. The caps in the western part of the country on the North-South axis between Beer Sheva Tel-Aviv and Haifa are very often congested. Driving is on the right (as with us) and signs often in English are easy to read. It is not uncommon to see roadblocks on the road but nothing serious.
To travel in Palestine, know that you will have to pass many checkpoints and that the duration of passage is very variable depending on the direction, the day and the schedule. Take it into account in your itineraries. A priori nothing forbids to spend, to stay and visit but inquire on the site of the Ministry before your travels. Redouble your vigilance when approaching checkpoints, at demonstrations and in major West Bank cities (Hebron, Nablus and Jenin). Do not wear any religious symbols, have your passport all the time, avoid moving at night, dress decently (covered shoulders, no shorts, …) and show no signs of affection in public.