1. I'm a tourist in Israel and I am concerned that I may have COVID-19, where should I go?
If you have a fever of 100.4F (38C) or higher, cough, trouble breathing, or other respiratory symptoms, you must immediately enter self-isolation and call the 101 MDA Emergency Services Hotline for medical advice. Do not go to an HMO clinic or emergency ward.
2. I already have a trip booked for April and May, should I cancel my reservations?
At the moment, entry to Israel will be refused to non-citizens or residents of Israel arriving from anywhere in the world. In exceptional cases, one may apply for approval of the Foreign Ministry subject to proof of the ability to remain in self-isolation for 14 days.
DO I NEED A VISA TO VISIT ISRAEL?
We welcome visitors to Israel. Many countries have a Visa Waiver Program with Israel, which allows their citizens to visit Israel without a need for a visa. Before embarking on a trip, visitors desiring to stop in Israel on their way to other destinations must check if they need a pre-arranged tourist visa. Here is an updated list of countries from which tourists are required to present a prearranged visa: www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/ConsularServices/Documents/VisaRequirements-Tourists.pdf All Visa Waiver Program travelers must present a machine-readable passport at the port of entry in order to enter Israel without a prearranged visa; otherwise, a visa is required. This applies to tourists arriving with a passage card from countries with a Waiver Program. Extending Your Stay Your visa can be extended (fee required) at the Ministry of the Interior office closest to you, please contact the ministry at *3450 or dial 12223450 from a landline. If you’re calling from outside the country dial +972-2-6294666
Isn’t Israel a long way away?
Not nearly as far as you may think: just 10 hours from New York (it’s quicker to fly from New York to Israel than from New York to Hawaii!), or 14 hours from Los Angeles. There are about ten nonstop flights a day from North America to Israel, on Air Canada, American Airlines/US Airways, Delta, El Al Israel Airlines and United. Plus you can connect to Israel through dozens of European cities.
What documents do I need to travel to Israel?
For U.S. and Canadian citizens, all you need is a passport that’s valid at least six months longer than your date of arrival in Israel. (For stays up to three months, you don’t need a visa.) If you’re not a U.S. or Canadian citizen, the same conditions apply to citizens of most western countries.
What to wear?
Like almost everywhere in the world, casual is the "rule" for everyday sightseeing. Bring good walking shoes or sneakers and "layers." Israelis (especially women) like to be “elegant casual” on evenings in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Some religious shrines require modest dress (arms and legs covered, and, occasionally, no pants for women). Don't forget your swimsuit and, for the Dead Sea, plastic shoes or aqausox.
Temperatures can vary widely so just pack for the "right" weather and you'll be fine. Seasons overlap of course, but general guidelines are:
SUMMER (Jun/Jul/Aug/early Sep): Temperatures in the high 80º's, 90º's. Tel Aviv, and Tiberias will be hot and humid (like New York or Miami). Jerusalem is dryer and cooler, particularly at night. Masada and Eilat are extremely hot (110º+!)...but dry. There won't be a drop of rain.
SHOULDERS (late Mar/Apr/May/late Sep/Oct/Nov): Daytime temperatures will be very pleasant: 75º-ish in most of the country (but hotter at the Red and Dead Seas). Jerusalem will be in the 70º's, 50º's in the evening. There'll be some rain - nothing torrential.
WINTER (Dec/Jan/Feb/early Mar): Winter weather can fluctuate. Some winters are mild and sunny, some severe and overcast. There's often heavy rain and, in January and February, even snow sometimes. It'll probably be in the 50º's, 60º's most places, but in Jerusalem and the Galilee in the forties, and cold at night.
I hear there is a security interview before my flight…
If you are flying EL AL Israel Airlines (or from Europe on Arkia Israel Airlines or Israir), please know that the security precautions taken by Israeli airlines are the stuff of legend and the envy of the world’s airlines. On check-in for your flights you will be asked a variety of questions during a security interview. Some of the questions may seem un-PC, intrusive, irrelevant or repetitive. Just answer truthfully, go with the flow and don’t lose your cool. Remember, the questions are designed to protect you and your fellow passengers. When you leave Israel, the departure process is identical to that outlined above for all airlines.
Photographers: Guy Yehieli, Adam Primer, Kfir Boltin, Linnea
Andres, Kfir Sivan, Haim Yafim, Dana Fridlander, refael Ben Ari, Itamar Greenberg,
Moshik Lindbaum, Ori Ackerman
Video Credits: Israeli food channel, National Geographic