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Travelling and living in Israel

Originally part of Geography question
Have you travelled or lived in Israel or are you planning to? Ask and answer questions on this thread, and discuss what you like and dislike about travelling and living in Israel.
10 years ago, June 14th 2009 No: 1 Msg: #76123  
Do you like Israel Yoav?

The impression I have of it is that it is a sunny, exotic place with things like kebabs and humos to eat. I havent been there yet, to confirm my preconceptions. I dont know yet when I will make it there. So many countries.....
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10 years ago, June 14th 2009 No: 2 Msg: #76137  
N Posts: 33
Like every Israeli, I guess it's some kind of love-hate relationship.

The guides here most accurately reflect how the country is like.

But if you come to Israel as a tourist, it's a different story. If you religious, it's one of the most interesting places to see. If you're an atheist (like me), it could still be an intriguing experience.
Israel is very different from Europe. People are warmer, louder, more to-the-point. In the cities, everyone is always in a hurry. The beaches are nice.

It's a country of endless conflicts: Jews vs. Arabs, religious vs. not-religious, Russians vs. non-Russians, etc.
For the outside observer I guess it could be interesting. Reply to this

10 years ago, July 1st 2009 No: 3 Msg: #78069  

10 years ago, July 1st 2009 No: 4 Msg: #78070  
Is it safe to travel in Israel at the moment? What is your opinion, Yoav? Also, the same question to those who are travelling there at the moment.

Mel Reply to this

10 years ago, July 2nd 2009 No: 5 Msg: #78166  
N Posts: 33
It's definitely safe to travel in Israel, as it's been for the last four decades.
Statistically, the chances of getting hurt in a car accident in Israel are much higher than getting hurt in a terrorist attack. I don't know many traveler who would avoid a country because high death rates in car accidents (not that they're THAT high), so those fears are irrational.
Besides, in the last few years, suicide bombings within the country's international borders have been reduced almost to zero, due to some security measures that were taken.

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10 years ago, July 2nd 2009 No: 6 Msg: #78170  
Thanks Yoav 😊

Israel is certainly going on my list of places to visit. I dont know when yet, but I would love to go there. I meet a lot of Israeli people when I travel, and am getting curious about where they come from.

That list of places to go to keeps growing. Hope I live long enough to get through it. 😊 Reply to this

10 years ago, July 3rd 2009 No: 7 Msg: #78296  
Is working in a Kabitz(dont know how to spell it) in Israel still a thing that backpackers do? I havent heard any talking about doing that for years. Reply to this

10 years ago, July 3rd 2009 No: 8 Msg: #78327  
I guess some people still do that. I have some Israeli friends who are working in a Kibbutz.
But mostly the Kibbutz is dead - most of those places stopped being a Kibbutz and others are in deep financial trouble.

Actually I know more people who are originally from the Kibbutz but are living and working the city. Reply to this

10 years ago, July 3rd 2009 No: 9 Msg: #78328  
N Posts: 33
hey that was my post up there Reply to this

10 years ago, July 5th 2009 No: 10 Msg: #78420  
How did they get in such financial trouble? I thought Kibbutz life is simple and self sustaining.
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10 years ago, July 6th 2009 No: 11 Msg: #78517  
N Posts: 33
Well, it has a lot to do with the economic story of Israel.
The Israeli economy went trough a tremendous change in the last few decades. During the 50's, shortly after its foundation, the economy of Israel was mainly state-driven. The ministry of finance would decide who get to build what, where and gave the appropriate funds. In that time, agriculture was a booming industry a major source of foreign currency. The Kibbutz was very much in-sync with the Israeli way of life. Moreover, the government had marketed it just as you said - simple and self sustaining. It was considered the best way to live at the time.
However, during the 90's Israel went trough a massive process of reform and privatization. Technology became the dominant export field and the economy is driven by private investors, with the stock exchange playing a major role.
Most of the Kibutztim didn't see that change and were left behind. The state stopped supporting agriculture, and today it accounts for less than 3% of Israeli exports. The Kibutzim mostly didn't manage their finances very well and are facing huge deficits. Some of them managed to get rich by selling or renting portions of their to real estate developers. Anyhow, the old-skool Kibbutz model is almost non-existent today. Reply to this

10 years ago, July 6th 2009 No: 12 Msg: #78521  
Thanks for the informaiton, Yoav. 😊 Reply to this

7 years ago, June 30th 2012 No: 13 Msg: #158190  
I am off to find out for myself what it is like to be in Israel. My flight is on the 2nd October this year. 😊


to flight to Athens and then on to Tel Aviv - stop over in Athens is 7 hours

I am especially fascinated about going to Jerusleum. When I heard bible stories as a kid, I never even thought to ask where exactly Jerusleum is. Maybe I just thought it was fictional, like the places in many fairy tales. I am not religious or anything, just curious about a place I have heard so much about.

I might also go to Bethleham or the dead sea, havent decided yet if I have a comfortable amount of time to go to one or both of them. I have 2 weeks, and I like to travel at a relaxed pace, with lots of time to soak up the atmoshpere everwhere I go. 😊 Reply to this

7 years ago, July 4th 2012 No: 14 Msg: #158366  
N Posts: 11

In response to: Msg #158190 Im planning my trip to israel also! Its terrible but untill i met the coolest israelie who has inspired me to visit, i thought Bethlahem was fictional! Definetly going there, and to the dead sea. Enjoy your travels 😊 Reply to this

7 years ago, July 4th 2012 No: 15 Msg: #158371  
N Posts: 33
oh my god, this IS a voice from the distant past.

Since this thread started I've been half way around the world. I have been living in London for the past 2 years.
However I am in Israel at the moment, enjoying the sun.

I have since learned a few things about visiting Israel.

In the airport, as soon as you leave the plane there is an escalator. At the end of this escalator you would most likely be stopped by the Israeli security service (as you are a young female traveling alone). This session could last from one minute to a few hours. They would want to know why you are coming to Israel, who your friends are and how pro-Palestinian are you. They could check your bag throroughly. I have heard reports that they ask you to log into your e-mail and search for keywords such as Israel,Palestine,West Bank, etc.

I think this is disgusting, but this is how it is (the e-mail thing is illegal under Israeli law but they still do it). My best advice is to be ready for it and keep calm. They want to see if you freak out (as some people would). Also, try not to sound too political or pro-Palestinian.

As for Jerusalem, I went there again yesterday and it was great as usual. Be sure the check out the City of David site (and take a guided tour). You can really see how the archeological findings relate to the biblical text. Also, a nice place for a break is the Austrian Hospice in Al-Wad street. It's pretty hard to find but worth it.

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7 years ago, July 4th 2012 No: 16 Msg: #158372  
N Posts: 11
Are you able to give me any idea of how much money ill need per day? Reply to this

7 years ago, July 4th 2012 No: 17 Msg: #158375  
N Posts: 33
Not really. But I guess any lonely planet can.

Israel is quite expensive, but you can live cheaply as well (but then you really have to know where to go).

Accommodation is pricey (dorms will be cheaper, you can use couch surfing as well). Food and alcohol are very expensive, the cheapest prices are in the markets or in discounted shops like Rami Levi. Falafel and Hummus are quite a good solution, as they are cheap and very yummy. And you can get them pretty much everywhere.
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7 years ago, July 4th 2012 No: 18 Msg: #158386  
Congratulations on your travels yovabo!

I'd second the excellent falafel options, Israel has the best falafel in the Middle East. Nazareth was my favourite city, and a cheap option is to stay in the convents - they have strict rules and curfews but are clean, safe and usually well priced. Prices are more expensive in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, but generally cheaper elsewhere, though prices can rise on weekends. However, compared to Australia, the price for accommodation is cheaper throughout that region. And of course, a visit to Masada and Jerusalem is essential.

Price per day (in 2010) - I always opt for single rooms with my own bathroom, so budget accommodation for those is about 40-50 Australian dollars (higher in Jerusalem), food about 10-15 dollars a day, and leave a bit aside for sightseeing, souvenirs and transport (possibly another 20 dollars).

When I was travelling, I informed all those I met (including at the airport) that I was on a pilgrimage to visit the Christian sites such as the Sea of Galilee, Nazareth, Bethlehem and Jerusalem. Stating this never caused me any issues.

Also, if leaving via Ben Gurion airport, ensure you arrive four hours before your flight, and be prepared for more questions. I was even asked if I had stayed at any private homes, an interesting dilemma if you have been Couchsurfing - as the best answer to that appeared to be "no". The Thai chap in the queue ahead of me was asked if he could speak any Arabic, so there are many types of questions asked. You will also be subjected to the most thorough bag search of your travels - everything (and I do mean everything) is unpacked. Despite being thorough, I found the security staff to be friendly and not overbearing. Reply to this

7 years ago, July 5th 2012 No: 19 Msg: #158397  
N Posts: 33
Here's a list of the best places to eat in Israel. In the vast majority of them you can have a good meal for 20NIS or under, they have local reputation which goes back decades and hardly any tourists buy from them because they require local knowledge. Most of them don't have any signs in English so you would need to ask around. It's enough that you say the name written here and people will show you where it is.

Hummus Sa'eed in the market (Best hummus in Israel, songs have been written about it)

Falafel Orion (Hertzelia St)
Falafel Armon (Haneviim St)
Haloon (Shabtai Levi St)
Pninat Ha'ir (Jaffa Rd)
Falafel Hazkenim ("Elders" falafel, Wadi Nisnas)
Falafel Hawadi-Mishel (Wadi Nisnas)
Shawarma Sabach Borthers (Alenbi St, baguettes are recommended)

Taboon Zaman

Tel-Hanan Ice Cream

Shwarma Al-Waked

Tel Aviv:
Falafel Neto (Iben Gabirol St)
Hummus Asli (Ben Yehuda-Dizengof Intersection)
Hummus Abu-Hasan (Ali Karwan) (Yehuda Hayamit St)
Shawarma A-ouni (Yefet St or Hamasger St, baguettes are recommended)
Abu-Lafya (Yefet St and also Hayarkon St)
Sandwich Rami (Bugrashov St)

Hummus Pinati (city centre, really famous)
Bagdadi Hummus (Old city Muslim quarter)

There are many more but I don't know Jerusalem well enough.
After you eat in all those places you would probably never want to go back home. Reply to this

7 years ago, July 5th 2012 No: 20 Msg: #158399  

Acre: Hummus Sa'eed in the market (Best hummus in Israel, songs have been written about it)

Fantastic information - thanks! Wish I'd known of Hummus Sa'eed when I visited Acre - might need a return journey to savour its fame.

[Edited: 2012 Jul 05 08:03 - The Travel Camel:11053 ]
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