ISRAEL

ISRAEL

ISRAEL

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Name: Masada
Location: Israel
Masada is an ancient fortification in the Southern District of Israel situated on top of an isolated rock plateau, akin to a mesa. It is located on the eastern edge of the Judaean Desert, overlooking the Dead Sea 20 km east of Arad. Herod the Great built two palaces for himself on the mountain and fortified Masada between 37 and 31 BCE. According to Josephus, the siege of Masada by Roman troops at the end of the First Jewish–Roman War ended in the mass suicide of 960 people, the Sicarii rebels and their families who were hiding there.

Masada is one of Israel's most popular tourist attractions. It was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2001. In 2007, the Masada Museum in Memory of Yigael Yadin opened at the site, in which archeological findings are displayed in a theatrical setting. Many of the artifacts exhibited were unearthed by Yadin and his archaeological team from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem during the 1960s.

The archaeological site is situated in the Masada National Park, and the park requires an entrance fee (even if by hiking). There are two hiking paths, both very steep.

SOURCE: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Masada
Name: Old City
Location: Jerusalem, Israel
The Old City is a 0.9 sq km walled area within the modern city of Jerusalem. It is home to several sites of key religious importance: the Temple Mount and Western Wall for Jews, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre for Christians and the Dome of the Rock and al-Aqsa Mosque for Muslims. It was added to the UNESCO World Heritage Site List in 1981.

Traditionally, the Old City has been divided into four uneven quarters. Today, it is roughly divided into the Muslim Quarter, Christian Quarter, Armenian Quarter and Jewish Quarter. The Old City's monumental defensive walls and city gates were built in the years 1535–1542 by the Turkish sultan Suleiman the Magnificent. The current population of the Old City resides mostly in the Muslim and Christian quarters.

Today, the Israeli government controls the entire area, which it considers part of its national capital. However, the Jerusalem Law of 1980, which effectively annexed East Jerusalem to Israel, was declared null and void by United Nations Security Council Resolution 478. East Jerusalem is now regarded by the international community as part of occupied Palestinian territory.

SOURCE: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Old_City_(Jerusalem)
Name: The Dead Sea
Location: Israel / Jordan
The Dead Sea is a salt lake bordered by Jordan to the east and Israel and the West Bank to the west.

Its surface and shores are 430.5 metres below sea level, Earth's lowest elevation on land. It is 304m deep, the deepest hypersaline lake in the world. With a salinity of 342 g/kg, or 34.2% (in 2011), it is one of the world's saltiest bodies of water – 9.6 times as salty as the ocean – and has a density of 1.24 kg/litre, which makes swimming similar to floating. This salinity makes for a harsh environment in which plants and animals cannot flourish, hence its name.

The Dead Sea has attracted visitors from around the Mediterranean Basin for thousands of years. It was one of the world's first health resorts (for Herod the Great), and it has been the supplier of a wide variety of products, from asphalt for Egyptian mummification to potash for fertilisers. The Dead Sea is receding at an alarming rate; its surface area today is 605 km2 ,having been 1,050 km2 in 1930. The recession of the Dead Sea has begun causing problems, and multiple canals and pipelines proposals exist to reduce its recession.

SOURCE: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dead_Sea
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COUNTRY INFORMATION GUIDE
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FACTS:
Official Languages: Hebrew / Arabic
Currency: Israel New Shekel (ILS)
Time zone: IST (Israel Standard Time) (UTC+2) / IDT (Israel Daylight Time) (UTC+3)
Drives on the right
Calling code: +972
Local / up-to-date weather in Jerusalem (and other regions): BBC global weather – click here
US GOVT TRAVEL LINKS:

For more useful information on safety & security, local laws / customs, health and more, please see the below official US travel.state.gov web link for Israel travel advice. NB: Entry requirements herein listed are for US nationals only, unless stated otherwise.

You can also find recommended information on vaccinations, malaria and other more detailed health considerations for travel to Israel, at the below official US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) weblink.

BUSINESS VISITOR ACTIVITIES*:
Activities you may undertake on a business visa / as a business visitor:
PERMISSIBLE
ATTENDING MEETINGS / DISCUSSIONS: TBC
ATTENDING A CONFERENCE: TBC
RECEIVING TRAINING (CLASSROOM-BASED): TBC
NON-PERMISSIBLE
AUDIT WORK: TBC
PROVIDING TRAINING: TBC
PROJECT WORK: TBC
*This information does not constitute legal advice and is not an exhaustive list. For a full legal assessment on business visitor activities, please revert to your internal company legal team / counsel.
TRAVEL INFORMATION**
It is highly recommenced that you access the above official US travel.state.gov web link and read all safety & security information prior to making your travel arrangements / planning your trip.
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Israel’s currency is the New Israeli Shekel (שקל חדש), ISO code ILS. It’s denoted by the symbol ₪, placed left of the amount, a smush of ש for shekel and ח “hadash” for new. (Left of the amount is before it in English, after it in Hebrew.) One shekel is 100 agorot (singular: “agora” but as there are no coins of that value, you won’t need that word). It’s been the “new” shekel since 1986, so although the currency code NIS is still often used, the term “new” looks outmoded. There have been three banknote issues. Series A were all withdrawn by 2000, so if you’re unlucky enough to be hoarding these, just stuff them in the Mogen David Edom charity box. Both Series B (paper notes from 1999) and Series C (plastic notes from 2014) circulate as legal tender. No date has been announced for withdrawal of the B notes, but traders look at them askance, and it can’t be far away – offload them as soon as you can. The plural of “shekel” can either be “shekels” according to the English logic or “sheqalim” according to the Hebrew logic, but most Israelis will use “shekel” as the plural when casually speaking English.

Banknotes in circulation are ₪200 (new blue or old red), ₪100 (brown), ₪50 (old violet or new green), ₪20 (old green or new red).

As anywhere, paying with large notes for small charges will tick people off; hand-wave and mutter “slixha, slixha .. ” profusely if not sincerely. The coins in use are ₪10 (bi-metallic; copper core, nickel rim, worth about 2 US$), ₪5 (nickel), ₪2 (nickel), ₪1 (nickel), 50 agorot (copper), 10 agorot (copper).

Cards and currencies:

Credit cards of all kinds are widely accepted. US dollars are accepted in some tourist locations, particularly Jerusalem, but rates are mostly always worse than what you get with your credit card or the ATM. If you are asked for US dollars or euros outright, you are most likely being ripped off.

ATMs:

ATMs are available everywhere. A Visa logo by an ATM does not guarantee that it takes all Visa cards; the ones with Chip-and-Pin technology seem to be only accepted by Bank Leumi ATMs (the rest use the magnetic stripe). Sometimes the ATM asks you for a 9-digit ID number (Israeli ID numbers are 9 digits); any arbitrary number such as 123456789 is reported to work with foreign credit cards.

Many ATMs have usage fees, some have not; they will ask for confirmation and show the amount if so. Withdrawal charges vary from ₪4–11. Machines belonging to Bank Hapoalim (red-coloured) are free to use.

Israel has a modern, sophisticated travel network. It is safe and easy to get around the country. Israelis are always willing to help a lost tourist, so never be afraid to ask people for directions or advice.

Travelers should also be aware of Shabbat (Hebrew: שַׁבָּת) the Hebrew word often spelled “Sabbath” in English. From Friday afternoon until Saturday night, travel can be difficult and expensive. Most national buses do not run on Shabbat. For inner-city bus travel, it will depend on the city. Places like Haifa, Nazareth, or Eilat will have bus service throughout Friday night and Saturday. There will be limited taxi service, and a weekend surcharge applies. In preparation for Shabbat, many people will be on the move, so traffic will be worst on Friday afternoon. Travelers should allow for extra travel time. This also applies to days preceding public holidays.

Public transport is used heavily by soldiers traveling to/from their bases, so a bus or train packed full of soldiers (some armed) is a common occasion and does not indicate any special occurrence. One can expect higher crowding on Thursday evening and Friday morning due to weekend leave and very high crowding on Sunday mornings until about 10:00 due to soldiers returning to their bases.

The (official) national call center for public transportation information (available in English as well) is on *8787 or 072-2588787 (for phone with no access to *star numbers). There is no fee except for regular call-charge. The public transit mobile app Moovit and Google Maps are helpful.

BY BUS:

Buses are the most common form of public transportation for Israelis and travelers alike. Bus travel is the cheapest way to get around Israel, and is safe and reliable. Israeli soldiers travel for free on most public bus routes, so travellers will often see armed soldiers on buses. The largest bus company in Israel is called Egged (pronounced “Eh-ged”) (Hebrew: אגד), which was formed in 1933. Egged operates 55% of the country’s public transportation service lines.

Intercity buses typically begin and end their routes at central bus stations, and also pick up and drop off passengers along the route. Buses do not have toilets on them, but very long routes will stop every couple hours at a rest stop with toilets and refreshments. Intercity bus tickets to/from Eilat, unlike other buses in Israel, must be reserved before traveling.

Riding a city bus can be a challenging experience. If you are not a Hebrew speaker, it can be difficult to find the right bus route or company. Ask people around you for help. If you are unsure where to get off the bus, sit near the front and ask the bus driver to help you. Most drivers are willing to help, as are most passengers.

Google Maps or Moovit apps offer directions for travel in Israel based on bus schedules.

BY SHERUT:

A sherut (Hebrew for service) or servees (Arabic) is a shared taxi that seats more than four people (the usual capacity is ten). Depending on the circumstances, a driver will follow a predetermined route like a bus, or will transport a group of people from one location to another based on demand. A sherut can be hailed from anywhere, but can be easily found outside major bus stations. They are usually quicker than buses, and will usually stop at any point along the route (not just predetermined stations). Prices vary depending on the length of the trip and are not negotiable. Drivers may wait until their vehicle is full before beginning their journey.

This form of transportation is best when traveling from a large bus station to a surrounding town or suburb, with a precise destination in mind.

BY TRAIN:

Trains are generally quicker and more comfortable than buses. However, train stations are often less conveniently located than bus stations and parts of the country – including much of the South – are not yet connected to the rail network. Free WiFi is provided on trains.

Israel Railways runs intercity lines from Nahariya to Be’er Sheva via Haifa, Tel Aviv and Ben Gurion airport, from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv, and suburban lines radiating from Tel Aviv to Binyamina, Ashkelon, Kfar Sava, Rishon LeZion, Modiin and Bet Shemesh. There is also a suburban line between Be’er Sheva and Dimona.

Tel Aviv has 4 train stations, Haifa (including its eastern suburban neighborhoods) has 6, and Be’er Sheva has 2, providing easy access to many parts of those cities.

Trains run 2-3 times per hour in peak travel times and at least once an hour at off peak hours. Trains on the Nahariya-Haifa-Tel Aviv-Ben Gurion Airport-Be’er Sheva line run through the night too. However, after midnight, trains stop in Haifa at the Hof Hacarmel station only, in Tel Aviv at Merkaz (Central) only, and in Be’er Sheva at Merkaz (Central) only. All other Be’er Sheva, Tel Aviv and Haifa stations close after midnight. One must also remember that trains operate only on weekdays (there are no trains from Friday afternoon till Saturday evening). In fact, the trains stop several hours earlier on Friday than buses do.

There is also an old, scenic Ottoman-era line to Jerusalem via Beit Shemesh, mostly useful for tourists. During holiday periods it can get crowded.

BY TAXI:

To differentiate from a shared taxi (sherut), a regular Israel taxi is sometimes called special (using the English word). The driver should use the meter both inside and outside cities (in Hebrew, moneh), unless the passenger agrees to prefix a price (agreeing to go off the meter is almost universally in the driver’s favor). There are surcharges; for calling a taxi by phone (₪5 as of January 2013), for luggage (₪4.20 a piece), for more than 2 passengers (₪4.70 (fixed), passengers that are children under the age of 5 are not taken into account), for taking toll-routes and for hailing a taxi at airports or seaports (Ben Gurion airport – ₪5, Sde Dov airport and Haifa seaport – ₪2).

Drivers are known to try to scam tourists by not turning on the meter to begin with and then fighting about the cost at the end of the ride. It is best to specify that you absolutely require the ‘moneh’ to be activated before you leave unless you know how much the trip should cost, in which case you can make a deal. However, if you are caught off guard some drivers will become extremely rude or even violent if you refuse to pay despite the meter never having been switched on. It is best to try to avoid this situation, but it is better to avoid any conflict with the driver by paying and learning rather than saving your money and risking an unpredictable escalation. Noting the taxi’s number (clearly visible on the outside of the cab) and contacting the local taxi authority is an efficient form of redress.

A good way of avoiding scams is to order taxis with the Gett/GetTaxi smartphone app. Gett use only licensed taxi drivers and the same fare structure as any other taxi ride. It gives the fixed price or meter price directly to you, allows for credit card payment (none of the “I have no change” nonsense), and you can put in your specific destination and see that the driver isn’t taking a roundabout route to run the meter up.

Israeli taxi drivers do not expect a tip, and neither should you generally offer one. In addition, they are more likely to round the fare down to the nearest shekel than up.

All Israeli taxis are numbered, and all print out an official receipt on printers attached to their meters (if you request), useful if you are traveling on business.

As of 2017, “ridesharing” companies like Uber and Lyft do not operate in Israel. The Gett smartphone app is the best option.

BY CAR:

Road system:

Israel has a modern highway network, connecting all destinations throughout the country. In general, avoid travelling by car as traffic is significant in all daylight hours, drivers are aggressive, and road signage while abundant is often confusing.

Road signs often follow city names (rather than compass directions). Than means, that you will see signs to Road 1 Jerusalem and Road 1 Tel Aviv, rather than Road 1 West and Road 1 East, so generally you must follow the name of the largest city at the direction of your destination, even if it is not marked. For example, when traveling from Haifa to Be’er Sheva, you will need to travel southwards which means to follow signs directing to Tel Aviv. When approaching Tel Aviv, you will start see directions to Be’er Sheva. When getting directions, it’s best to ask for the name of an exit as well the exit just before it.

Roads are numbered according to orientation and significance. In general, east-west roads are given odd numbers, and north-south roads are given even numbers. Numbers generally increase from south to north, and east to west. The most significant national highways are numbered using one or two digits, while the least significant local roads are numbered using four digits. Exceptions to these rules do exist.

Car rental:

Most major international car rental companies; Hertz, Avis, Budget and Sixt, as well as many Israeli ones including, Eldan (Israel’s largest car rental company), Traffic and Tamir, a car rental service that delivers and picks up your rental car. Car2go provides rental cars by the hour with cars available near train stations and other main locations.

You will be charged VAT for your car rental if you do not produce a visa (for example, if you entered via Allenby and avoided the stamps, although the paper will do).

If you are going to Palestinian areas in the West Bank, your rental insurance may not cover the trip. Clarify exactly where you plan to go with the company before renting.

BY PLANE:

There are domestic flights between the northern / central cities and Eilat Ramon Airport on the Red Sea coast. They’re roughly hourly to Eilat from Ben Gurion Airport and from Haifa. (Jerusalem doesn’t have an airport.) The main operators are Arkia and Israir (whose website is only in Hebrew). There are also private charter operators. There are also flights to the Golan Heights but better surface connections have made them next-to obsolete.

ON FOOT AND NAVIGATION:

Israel is an excellent place for hiking and trekking, providing many interesting trails. However, due to the often remote nature of these trails (like the Ramon Crater or the Negev), it is important that you are well prepared and have a proper and reliable map with you. In addition, using GPS adds an extra layer of safety, both in cities as well as the countryside. For reliable (offline) maps and comprehensive trails and map information, consult OpenStreetMap, which is also used by this travel guide, and by many mobile Apps like OsmAnd (complex with many add-ons) and MAPS.ME (easy but limited).

EAT:

While many popular dishes in Israel are typical to the Middle Eastern Cuisine, its cuisine is as diverse as the population. Food is generally of a very high standard, and immigrants from around the world brought almost every genre and type of food to Israel. Kosher food is widely available. Even restaurants without Kosher certificates follow some guidelines of Kashrut to some extent. Tipping is very common in sit-in places that have waiters – not tipping in sit-in restaurants is frowned upon, but is accepted for signalling atrocious service. It is standard to give 10%-15% (or more for exceptional service). 20% tip is considered generous. Including a service charge in the bill is no longer legal in Israel and should not be paid. Restaurants may charge a “security fee” – roughly ₪1-2 per person. However, this fee is not mandatory, and it is common to ask for the fee to be removed from the bill, as well you should. Most restaurants accept credit cards, but do not accept personal checks. If you wish to include the tip in your credit card charge, state this before paying. Restaurants are required to allow this.

Perhaps surprisingly, items that are typically associated with Jewish cuisine in much of the English-speaking world such as bagels and pastrami are not widespread in Israel, though they can still be found in eateries operated by American or Canadian immigrants.

If you need an English menu, ask for a “tafrit b’anglit”.

Fast and popular:

Israelis tend to consider usually falafel and hummus as national dishes, although these dishes do not originate in Israel. A serving of Falafel includes falafel balls, which are small fried balls of mashed chickpeas and/or fava beans, usually served inside a pita bread (or its larger cousin, the lafa bread) with hummus-chips-salat (hummus, French fries and vegetable salad) and tahini. A selection of more salads is usually available, and you can fill your pita with as much as it can take. This is usually the cheapest lunch available (₪10-15), and it’s vegetarian (and often vegan). You can also order half a serving (“chat-TZEE mah-NAH”). If you don’t know which falafel joint to go to, pick one with a good flow of customers, because falafel balls are tastiest when extremely fresh. Hummus is a popular dip made of chickpea granules and various additions (such as olive oil, fresh garlic, lemon juice and tahini) and usually eaten with pieces of pita. At places that specialize in Hummus (commonly referred to as “hummusiot”), you can find the dish topped with chopped lamb, fried chicken breast, and many other different toppings, such as cooked masabacha grains, shakshuka, ground beef, pine nuts, fried onions, mushrooms, etc.

Another popular option is shawarma – sliced turkey or lamb meat, also served inside a pita/lafa with hummus-chips-salat toppings. Many other things can fit your pita: for example, Me’orav Yerushalmi (Jerusalemite mix), which contain several types of offal meat, or schnitzel, a batter fried chicken breast somewhat inspired by the Viennese original.

Another street food gaining popularity is the Iraqi-origin sabikh: a pita bread stuffed with a hard boiled egg, batter-dipped deep fried eggplant, hummus, tehini, potatoes, and salad.

Dietary restrictions:

Kosher food:

Israeli cuisine is heavily influenced by the ancient Jewish laws of kosher food. The word kosher means anything that is allowed by Jewish religious laws, in this case food laws. Among other things kashrut requires complete segregation of meat and dairy foods, dishes and utensils; select types of fish are kosher but most ‘sea foods’ are not; meat must undergo a ritual slaughter process; and all foods must be prepared under controlled and monitored conditions. Kosher restaurants and hotels display a valid, dated certificate issued by local rabbinical authorities; kosher restaurants close for the Shabbat. Because of the meat-and-milk restrictions, kosher restaurants bill themselves as either בשרי (b’sari, “meat”) or חלבי (chalavi, dairy). Dairy restaurants will also serve fish (as Jewish law does not consider fish to be meat), and egg products. If you find cheeseburgers or pizzas with meat toppings in a kosher restaurant, they are made from soy or other substitutes for either the meat or the cheese.

Due to the secular nature of much of Israel, both kosher and non-kosher foods and restaurants can be found. Restaurants in Arab areas rarely follow kosher laws (unless they cater to a mixed clientèle), though they often follow Halal laws (the Muslim equivalent).

Most hotels in Israel are kosher, so breakfast is dairy, and during lunch and dinner you’ll not be able to get milk for your coffee or butter for your bread (although soy milk and spread are common substitutes). Most big supermarkets sell only kosher products, but more and more non-kosher supermarkets and convenience stores have appeared, due in part to the many secular Jews who have immigrated from the former USSR. With restaurants, things vary by location: in Tel Aviv a large proportion of restaurants are non-kosher, while in Jerusalem nearly all restaurants are kosher. Restaurants that remain open on Shabbat cannot receive kosher certification. So some restaurants serve kosher food while not being certified, but not every restaurant that claims this is necessarily telling the truth.

One attraction for practising Jewish (and other) tourists is the kosher McDonald’s restaurants. Most of the branches are not kosher, so ask before ordering. Branches of Burger Ranch, an Israeli burger chain, are kosher. Pizza Hut branches in Israel are kosher, and thus will not serve pizzas with meat toppings, while Domino’s chains are not kosher, and serve a toppings selection similar to their Western branches.

One pitfall with finding kosher food is that some con-men have found they can make money by selling fake kashrut certificates. Therefore, someone looking for kosher food should look for a certificate from the local rabbinate or a recognized kashrut agency. Certificates from unknown organizations should not be relied upon.

The word for kosher is pronounced kasher (כָּשֵר) in Modern Hebrew, while the Hebrew word for “fitness” is Kosher (in Israel, gyms are known as kheder kosher, i.e. fitness room). The words have the same root – kosher food is food that is “fit” to eat for religious Jews.

Dietary restrictions during Passover:

Another series of strict restrictions come into force during the seven days of Passover, when leavened bread (Hametz) — taken to include any grain product that may have come into contact with moisture and thus started fermenting — is banned. The religiously defined limit is 18 minutes. Any grain product that’s come into contact with water for more than 18 minutes is considered “hametz”. Some Jews even widen the ban to cover rice and legumes. The main substitute for the bread is matza, the famously dry and tasteless flatbread, and you can even get a matzoburger from McDonald’s during Passover.

Religious sectors will completely remove Hametz from their properties. Because the restriction is only for 7 days, many shops don’t remove Hametz from shelves and vending machines, but only cover them or visually hide them. In more observant shops, cashier machines will not recognize the Hametz products during passover, so it’d be hard to purchase them even after they are un-hidden. Note that as hametz owned by Jews must be nominally sold to a non-Jew before the holiday and cannot be repurchased on the Sabbath, many restaurants that are normally open on Shabbat will be closed the day after Passover when it falls on a Saturday, or will continue to serve their Passover menu.

Prominent local snacks:

  • Krembo (A hybrid of the words KREM and BO, “Cream” and “In it”, respectively). A favorite Israeli chocolate snack. It is composed of a round cookie, on which cream (most often vanilla-flavored, but there is also a mocha variety) lies, covered with a chocolate shell. Krembos come wrapped in aluminum foil, and are very delicate. They are rarely found in the summer due to their tendency to melt in hot weather.
  • Bamba. A popular peanut butter-flavored snack which is one of the leading snack foods produced and sold in Israel. Israelis have low rates of peanut allergies, because they eat Bamba as kids.
  • Bissli. A popular wheat snack sold in various flavors such as onions, Falafel and barbecue.

Ethnic food:

Jews immigrating to Israel from different parts of the world brought with them many different cooking traditions. Most of these are now served in a handful of specialty restaurants, so check the individual chapters and ask around. Among the selection: Ashkenazi (Eastern European Jewish), Bulgarian, Turkish, North African, Iraqi, Iranian, and many others. One can also enjoy excellent local Arab cuisine served in areas with large Arab populations, mostly in the north of the country and in the vicinity of Jerusalem.

One dish, however, is known across nearly the entire Jewish Diaspora. Known in Europe as Cholent and in the Middle East and North Africa as Chamin, it is a sort of stew that has simmered for many hours over a low fire. It is traditionally a Shabbat dish, originating from the prohibition on lighting fire and cooking on Shabbat. The exact ingredients vary, but it usually contains meat (usually beef or chicken), legumes (chickpeas or beans) and\or rice, eggs, and vegetables such as potatoes, onions, and carrots. Chamin is served in some restaurants on Saturday, and can be bought in delicatessens on Friday.

Most Israelis enjoy instant coffee and will order it in restaurants and shops. The quality of this coffee is often quite high. However, Israelis also appreciate a café culture. While concoctions such as “botz” (mud) coffee, also known as “cafe turki” or Turkish coffee (an inexpensive extra-finely ground coffee, often spiced with cardamom, that is cooked on a stove and served unfiltered/unstrained) are popular, the coffee culture in Israel has become refined and the quality has drastically increased in the last couple of decades. High quality espresso has replaced instant coffee as the base of most coffee drinks. There are several highly popular local coffee chains and numerous independent coffee shops. Many Israelis like to just spend time sipping their café latté (the most popular coffee in cafés) and chatting with friends. You can also have a light meal with sandwiches and salads. Aroma is Israel’s largest coffee chain that has good coffee. You can order sandwiches there in three sizes and choose from three types of bread. Arcaffé is slightly more expensive, but their coffee (some say) is a little better. Other chains include Elite Coffee, cafe cafe, Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, and Cafe Hillel (of which some branches are Kosher dairy). Israelis frown upon US-style coffee, and Starbucks failed miserably in Israel because their coffee was considered inferior by the locals.

Vegetarians and vegans:

Vegetarians and vegans should have a relatively easy time eating in Israel. Due to the kosher law against mixing meat and milk, there are many “dairy” restaurants that serve no meat, which makes them popular with vegetarians. Be aware that these often serve fish. In some parts of the country you can also find vegan restaurants. Amirim is a vegetarian/vegan village in the Upper Galilee with several restaurants. “Israeli Salad” (sometimes called Arab or Chopped salad) is a chopped salad of finely diced tomato and cucumber. It is very common and can be found virtually in every food-serving establishment. It is common for sit-down restaurants to indicate on their menus which dishes are vegetarian, vegan, or gluten-free.

DRINK:

Alcoholic:

The drinking age in Israel is 18. Drinking and driving is illegal and actively prosecuted. Also, since 2010, the sale of alcohol outside of bars and restaurants and public drinking are prohibited between 23:00 and 05:00.

The most active nightlife can be found in Tel Aviv and Eilat. Tel Aviv, “the city that never sleeps”, is Israel’s party capital with a vast number of bars and clubs. Compared to much of Europe, drinking is rather expensive and the steep prices in Tel Aviv in particular are sometimes cited as a reason for the rather large community of young Israeli expats in Berlin.

Beer:

There are three main brands of Israeli beer:

  • Goldstar. a Munich-style dark draught, it is the most popular Israeli beer in Israel. Can be found in bottles and cans of 0.5 and 0.3 liters (1 pint and half a pint, respectively), or KHE-tsi and shlish (Hebrew for “half” and “third”. Referring to the amount based on litres, as Israel uses SI). It is also available from tap (meh ha-kha-VIT, Hebrew for “from the barrel”). Some say it pairs deliciously with Bissli, a snack food indigenous to the area.
  • Maccabee. A pilsener, lighter and smoother than Goldstar. Comes in bottles, cans or from tap. This beer has a bad reputation in Israel as being of foul taste. Its recipe has been changed and the beer has been regaining popularity in Israel. Still, due to its bad reputation many bars do not serve it. The local variety of Maccabee tastes differently than the exported one.
  • Nesher. comes in bottles, mostly malt.

Palestinian beers are also available:

  • Taybeh. – made in the first micro-brewery in the Middle East, “Taybeh Beer Brewery” is from Taybeh village, a short taxi ride distance from Ramallah, an extremely fresh and delicious beer that is popular with many Palestinians, Israelis and tourists alike. It is mainly found in Israeli Arab communities, Jerusalem, and Palestinian cities. Taybeh Brewery offers free tours of the facilities and has ₪5 beers for sale at the brewery. Taybeh village also hosts its very own Oktoberfest-style beer festival held annually during the first week of October. The festival well-attended with foreign tourists and is growing in popularity.

Lately, several brands of micro-breweries have established themselves, and a wide selection of boutique beers such as Sins-Brewery, Bazelet, Golda, Laughing Buddha, Asif, Dancing Camel and many others can be found in selected alcohol houses and in some chain retail stores.

In addition, a wide variety of international brands are available throughout Israel, some of which are locally brewed. Among the most popular are Heineken, Carlsberg and Tuborg.

Liqueurs:

A common liqueur in Israel is Arak. It is clear, and anise-flavored, quite similar to Pastis or the Colombian Aguardiente. It is usually served in a glass of about 0.3 L, mixed with equal amount of water and ice leading to a characteristic milk-like opaqueness. Some like to drink it mixed with grapefruit juice. Arak is usually kept in the freezer. A common brand is called Aluf Ha-Arak and Elit Ha-Arak (both of the same distillery) with the former of higher alcohol per volume and the latter of stronger anise flavor. They are of slightly different volume although the price is accordingly different.

Wines:

There are several local big vineyards and a growing selection of boutique ones, some of them of high quality. Wine is mentioned in the Torah and Israeli winemaking tradition goes back to before the Roman conquest. Much of Israeli wine is kosher. Kosher wine has historically had a terrible reputation that is mostly unjustified in the 21st century and has been fading due to the good quality of many kosher wines becoming more widely known among connoisseurs and the wider public alike. The Golan Heights are among the premier wine growing regions under Israeli control.

Soft drinks:

Most of the regular Western soft drinks are available, and many have local variants that aren’t very different in taste. The Coca-Cola Company, RC Cola, and PepsiCo fight for the soft drink market aggressively. Israeli Coca-Cola is thought by Cola connoisseurs to be tastier and more authentic than elsewhere, because it is made with sugar, not with high-fructose corn syrup. Tempo (not to be confused with Tempo Industries, Ltd. which is the brewer of most Israeli beer and bottler of most soft drinks including the local Pepsi) and Super Drink are dirt-cheap local variants, at times sporting very weird tastes.

The generic name for Coke or Pepsi is “cola”, and it usually implies Coca-Cola; if the place serves Pepsi, they will usually ask if it’s fine. “Soda” generally means “soda water”, and is not a generic name for carbonated soft drinks.

There are several more authentic soft drinks:

  • Tropit – cheap fruit flavor drink which is usually grape. Comes in a tough aluminum-like bag with a straw. The bag is poked using the straw to make a hole through which you drink. A very portable drink (until holed), which has become very popular in summer camps. In the newer varieties there is a marked area where the straw should be inserted. Even then it can sometimes take practice to insert the straw without the juice squirting out, if you are from the US it is just like the Israeli version of “Capri Sun.”
  • Chocolate milk – there are a number of brands of sterilized chocolate milk (SHO-ko) which comes in plastic bags and small cartons. The tip of the bag is bitten or clipped off, and the milk is sucked out. As with Tropit, it is very portable (although due to its milky nature, not as much) until opened, after which it is impractical to reseal. Chocolate milk in a bag is usually served cold, and it would be a very bad idea to warm it.
  • Spring Nectar – fruit flavored drinks that comes in cans or 1.5L bottles. Sold in most supermarkets, convenience stores and petrol stations, as well as many take-away stands. Comes in a number of flavors such as peach, mango, and strawberry.
  • Prigat – fruit flavored drink that comes in plastic bottles. Is sold at pretty much every supermarket, petrol station and corner-store around Israel. Comes in many flavors including grape, orange, apple, tomato and a few more exotic options as well.
  • Primor – fruit juice in plastic bottles. Sold pretty much everywhere. Comes in many flavors, mostly citrus and apples.

Israel is host to a huge variety of accommodation options, from camping and hostels through to 5-star luxury hotels. Accommodation in Israel is similar to Western standards in general both in terms of price and what you can expect as service. Hotels in Israel do not have star ratings, so beware that where these are seen, they are awarded by the hotels themselves.

Hostel/hotel owners in Israel do not appreciate it when you turn up onsite and ask for the best price leaving out the monopolistic middle man. Hence, you should instead book online (through their website, or one of the many commercial websites) or by phone, and take the best price you can get. Also, accommodations seem to use confusing US$ quotes and then demand shekels on purpose to prevent comparability. Make sure to always get the shekel (NIS) quote and demand to pay what was agreed on in shekels.

There are many free camp grounds available in Israel, especially in the Negev, which offer a great alternative to save some money. Most of the time you won’t even need a tent, because rain and mosquitoes (and such) are sparse in the Negev.

Souvenirs:

Israeli wine, kosher products, t-shirts, diamonds, ancient-style oil lamps. Needless to say, Israel is one of the best countries for purchasing Judaica and Christian pilgrim trinkets.

While it is legal to purchase antiquities from the small number of government-licensed dealers, exporting antiquities from Israel is strictly illegal, except with a written authorization from the Israel Antiquities Authority.

A modest but distinctive souvenir is a dreidel. Dreidels are printed with four Hebrew letters (nun, gimel, hei, and shin) considered to represent the phrase “A great miracle happened there”—but in Israel, they have the letter peh instead of shin, to represent “A great miracle happened here”. This means that an Israeli dreidel is different from dreidels sold elsewhere, and it’s a souvenir with symbolism deeply linked to Jewish culture.

**All travel information has been sourced from wikivoyage. However like wikipedia, wikivoyage is an open platform editable by any member of the public. Therefore, although very useful, all above information IS INDICATIVE ONLY and must be verified prior to personal use. Moreover, if you wish to see more information please visit: https://en.wikivoyage.org/wiki/Israel
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Name: Masada
Location: Israel
Masada is an ancient fortification in the Southern District of Israel situated on top of an isolated rock plateau, akin to a mesa. It is located on the eastern edge of the Judaean Desert, overlooking the Dead Sea 20 km east of Arad. Herod the Great built two palaces for himself on the mountain and fortified Masada between 37 and 31 BCE. According to Josephus, the siege of Masada by Roman troops at the end of the First Jewish–Roman War ended in the mass suicide of 960 people, the Sicarii rebels and their families who were hiding there.

Masada is one of Israel's most popular tourist attractions. It was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2001. In 2007, the Masada Museum in Memory of Yigael Yadin opened at the site, in which archeological findings are displayed in a theatrical setting. Many of the artifacts exhibited were unearthed by Yadin and his archaeological team from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem during the 1960s.

The archaeological site is situated in the Masada National Park, and the park requires an entrance fee (even if by hiking). There are two hiking paths, both very steep.

SOURCE: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Masada
Name: Old City
Location: Jerusalem, Israel
The Old City is a 0.9 sq km walled area within the modern city of Jerusalem. It is home to several sites of key religious importance: the Temple Mount and Western Wall for Jews, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre for Christians and the Dome of the Rock and al-Aqsa Mosque for Muslims. It was added to the UNESCO World Heritage Site List in 1981.

Traditionally, the Old City has been divided into four uneven quarters. Today, it is roughly divided into the Muslim Quarter, Christian Quarter, Armenian Quarter and Jewish Quarter. The Old City's monumental defensive walls and city gates were built in the years 1535–1542 by the Turkish sultan Suleiman the Magnificent. The current population of the Old City resides mostly in the Muslim and Christian quarters.

Today, the Israeli government controls the entire area, which it considers part of its national capital. However, the Jerusalem Law of 1980, which effectively annexed East Jerusalem to Israel, was declared null and void by United Nations Security Council Resolution 478. East Jerusalem is now regarded by the international community as part of occupied Palestinian territory.

SOURCE: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Old_City_(Jerusalem)
Name: The Dead Sea
Location: Israel / Jordan
The Dead Sea is a salt lake bordered by Jordan to the east and Israel and the West Bank to the west.

Its surface and shores are 430.5 metres below sea level, Earth's lowest elevation on land. It is 304m deep, the deepest hypersaline lake in the world. With a salinity of 342 g/kg, or 34.2% (in 2011), it is one of the world's saltiest bodies of water – 9.6 times as salty as the ocean – and has a density of 1.24 kg/litre, which makes swimming similar to floating. This salinity makes for a harsh environment in which plants and animals cannot flourish, hence its name.

The Dead Sea has attracted visitors from around the Mediterranean Basin for thousands of years. It was one of the world's first health resorts (for Herod the Great), and it has been the supplier of a wide variety of products, from asphalt for Egyptian mummification to potash for fertilisers. The Dead Sea is receding at an alarming rate; its surface area today is 605 km2 ,having been 1,050 km2 in 1930. The recession of the Dead Sea has begun causing problems, and multiple canals and pipelines proposals exist to reduce its recession.

SOURCE: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dead_Sea
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...WHO ARE WE?

...WHO ARE WE?

…WHO ARE WE?
…WHO ARE WE?

My name is Manny and I would like to personally welcome you to Global Visas.

Our team is dedicated to providing a consular service which focuses on attention to detail, delivering a personal approach and with a high focus on compliance. Feedback is very important to us, therefore any comments you provide about our service are invaluable.

Our team is dedicated to providing a consular service which focuses on attention to detail, delivering a personal approach and with a high focus on compliance. Feedback is very important to us, therefore any comments you provide about our service are invaluableI have provided some of my own personal testimonials over my years in immigration below; working and leading on very large projects...

I have provided some of my own personal testimonials over my years in immigration below; working and leading on very large projects.

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We look forward to working with you and meeting all your expectations.

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Team member, Big 4

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