Israel is a small yet diverse Middle Eastern country with a long coastline on the eastern Mediterranean Sea and a small window on the Red Sea at the Gulf of Eilat (Aqaba). Israel is bordered by Egypt and the Gaza Strip to the southwest, by Jordan and the West Bank to the east, and by Syria and Lebanon to the north. It shares borders to the Jordan River and the Dead Sea with the West Bank and Jordan.
Israel has always been a standout destination. From the days of prophets to the modern day nomad this tiny slice of land on the eastern Mediterranean has long attracted visitors. While some arrive in the 'Holy Land' on a spiritual quest, many others are on cultural tours, beach holidays and eco-tourism trips.
The most obvious division in Israel's society is between Jews - who make up 75% of the population in Israel proper and 15%-40% in areas captured by Israel during the Six-Day War (West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Golan) - and non-Jews (mostly Israeli-Arabs), who make up nearly all of the rest. As well, some 350,000 people who immigrated to Israel from the former Soviet Union are not considered Jews according to halacha (Jewish law), though they largely identify with the Israeli mainstream. In terms of religious backgrounds, 77% are Jewish, 16% are Muslim, 4% are Christian Arabs and 2% are Druze (a Muslim offshoot considered heretical by mainstream Islam).
22,145 sq km (8,550 sq miles).
POPULATION: 7.23 million (2009).
Population density: 326.4 per sq km.
Jerusalem. Population: (including East Jerusalem) 763,000 (2009). The Israeli government has designated Jerusalem as the capital, although this is not recognized by the UN, and most foreign embassies are based in Tel Aviv.
Republic. The state of Israel was founded in 1948.
80% Jewish,18% Muslim, with small Christian, Druze and other minorities.
230 volts AC, 50Hz. Three-pin plugs are standard; if needed, adaptors can be purchased in Israel.
Mediterranean, with a pleasant spring and autumn. Winters in the north can be cool. Occasional light rain in winter is possible, particularly in Jerusalem, though recent years have seen insufficient rain. Snow is rare. Summers can be very hot, especially in the south. The Red Sea resort of Eilat has a good climate for beach holidays all year round.
Lightweight clothes for warmer months are required. Medium weights are recommended for winters, although on the Red Sea coast they are unlikely to be necessary during the day.
For updated weather information: http://israelweather.co.il/english/index.asp
PASSPORTS & VISA
To enter Israel, a passport valid for a minimum of six months from the date of entry is required.
Passport. Note that border control rarely agree not to stamp passports, as these are required for travel around Israel and through checkpoints.
Visas required by the nationals except for the following nations for stays of up to three months.
HKSAR, Canadian, Australian, British, EU countries and USA
Other nationalities needed to have visa to visit the county.
Please check at the embassy in your country for the visa application.
Israel Embassy in Hongkong
Consulate General of Israel Hong Kong
Rm 701 Admiralty Centre Tower 2 HK
Tel: 852-28217510 Fax: 852-28650220
There will be 15% service charge is added to restaurant, café and hotel bills by law. There is no need to add any further tip.
It’s absolutely essential to have adequate travel insurance covered, especially for the purposes of flight cancellation, delay or any other unexpected incidental cases occurred during the trip.
Please take the travel insurance that meets your needs and understand its coverage
The Israeli currency is the New Israeli Shekel (NIS). Colloquially, it is called a shekel (plural: shkalim)
Each shekel is divided into 100 agorot. (singular, agora). Notes are in denominations of 200, 100, 50, and 20. Coins are in denominations of 10, 5, 2 and 1, and 50 and 10 agorot.
ATMs are available everywhere in the country. Credit cards are widely accepted. Note that the showing of the Visa logo by an ATM does not especially mean it takes all types of Visa cards, at the moment the ones with Chip-and-Pin technology seem to be only accepted by Bank Leumi ATMs.
Note: Prices for tourist services are sometimes quoted in US Dollars. This is usually where the expectation is that a credit card will be used, for example when hiring a car. In these instances, the amount paid would be written in US Dollars.
Currency restriction: There are no restrictions on the import or export of local or foreign currency. However, amounts exceeding ILS90,000 or equivalent must be declared.
It is the passengers responsibility to obtain all required travel documents, visas and permits, and for complying with the laws, regulations, orders, demands and other travel requirements of countries of origin, destination or transit.
We strongly recommend that you go to the IATA Travel Centre website http://www.iatatravelcentre.com for more information.
Israel has excellent medical facilities and tourists may go to all emergency departments and first-aid centres. However, any form of medical treatment can be expensive. Health centres are marked by the red Star of David on a white background. Medical insurance is recommended.
Food and drink:
Mains water is safe to drink throughout Israel. Bottled water is widely available and is advised for the first few weeks of the stay. Milk is pasteurized and dairy products are safe for consumption. All local meat, fish and vegetables are considered safe to eat.
Other risks to be prevented: Rabies is present. If you are bitten, seek medical advice without delay.
Israeli eating has distinctive characteristics, especially the fondness for fresh, finely chopped salads, eaten at every meal including breakfast. In general the cuisine is a fusion of East and West, plus many dishes and flavours brought by Jewish immigrants from all over the world. Most restaurants are moderately priced. Table service is the norm, except at the many low-cost snack bars. Restaurants, bars and cafés catering for tourists usually have menus in both Hebrew and English.
BY ROAD TO ENTER THE COUNTRY
Travellers should note that both Syria and Lebanon refuse entry to travellers who have evidence of a visit to Israel in their passport.
Evidence can include an Israeli visa, Israeli border stamps or any visa purchased in Israel.
It can also include Jordanian or Egyptian border stamps that indicate the traveller crossed to/from Israel.
Border authorities will stamp separate slips of paper upon request.
Jordanian visas can be obtained at the Yitzhak Rabin and Jordan River border crossings, but not at the Allenby Bridge border crossing. Travellers crossing Allenby Bridge must be check again with your handling agency if they needed to have the visa in advance or can obtain the landing visa at the border.
There is a wide choice for shoppers in Israel. Contrary to a widespread belief among visitors, bargaining is not usual in Israel except in the few Arab markets. There are also very animated Jewish markets (shuks) of tremendous cultural diversity, notably the Carmel Market i. The best place to buy food is at these outdoor markets; the produce is cheap and fresh.
Tourists benefit from a zero rate of VAT (a tax on transactions) on many goods and services. In addition, when buying from souvenir and specialist shops displaying a Ministry of Tourism sign, especially jewelers and luxury good stores, it is possible to obtain a refund of VAT: when making your purchase, ask for a Tax Refund Invoice; when leaving the country, take the invoice to the tax refund desk at the airport or port for VAT refund.
Shopping hours: Sun-Fri 0800-1900; some shops close 1300-1600 and some early on Friday. Remember that Jewish-run stores close for Shabbat from Friday afternoon to Saturday evening, while Arabic stores close Friday. It takes a while to realize that Sunday is a normal working day unlike in Christian countries. For shoppers, Jewish stores are therefore open Friday, Arab markets Saturday and both are open Sunday when Christian stores close. Shops in hotels are often open until midnight.
Tipping is considered as part of your guide’s income. Drivers and Guides are expecting some reward as a gesture of satisfaction. We suggested US$10.00 per person per day tipping for local guide(s) and USD7.00 for driver(s) and if their services are good.
YOUR TOUR ARRANGEMENTS
All land arrangements within Israel are solely at the discretion of our land operators who control the final scheduling of sightseeing programs based on current situation of the day or period like weather, traffic condition etc…….
Those situations are not under our control and cannot be held responsible for sudden changes.
Terms & Conditions are based on our website : www.f56.com/Terms&Conditions.pdf
Travellers should be aware that the Gaza Strip borders are controlled by the Israeli and Egyptian governments. Long delays of days, or even weeks, are routinely experienced when travellers request entry/exit permits for Gaza.
There is a risk of rocket fire from Gaza within 40km (24 miles) of the Gaza perimeter (including Sderot, Netivot, Ashkelon, Ashdod and Be'er Sheva).
Security has improved significantly in the West Bank. However, travellers should be aware that the situation remains fragile and could deteriorate at short notice. You are advised to consult travel advice regularly and register with the British Consulate-General in Jerusalem if you intend to visit the West Bank.Jordanians are Arabs, except for a few small communities of Circassians, Armenians, and Kurds who have adapted to Arab culture. The official language is Arabic, but English is used widely in commerce and government. About 70% of Jordan's population is urban; less than 6% of the rural population is nomadic or semi-nomadic. Most of the population lives where rainfall can support agriculture. Approximately 1.7 million registered Palestinian refugees and other displaced persons reside in Jordan, many as citizens.
Mentioning West Bank destinations in your itinerary will also arouse suspicion - it is just best to avoid mentioning Palestine at all while passing the border.
Health information for traveling ( For travellers from Hongkong )
Hong Kong Government raises the Travel Alert for Israel to “Amber” since 11 Jan 2013, please check and make sure you have travel insurance covered to travel to this country.
If you would like to know more about the outbound Travel alert please explore the website: http://www.sb.gov.hk/eng/ota/note-Israel.htm
If you are a Hongkong Resident holding a valid HKID card and have register a MyGovHK account, you can use the ROTI which is free of charge. Or explore the website to register. http://www.gov.hk/en/residents/immigration/outsidehk/roti.htm