How to Tour Israel Safely

Filed in Getting Around, Trip-planning by on 24/01/2013 0 Comments
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How to Tour Israel Safely – Join Over 3 Million Visitors Each Year

Israel has a lot to offer for such a tiny country and you really can have a great time here and experience the vacation of a lifetime. Here are some great tips to make sure your trip will be a safe one.

GPS, Compass and Road Map

You have landed in Israel, picked up your rented car and you are off to your hotel in Tel Aviv or Jerusalem. You have a rented GPS, an up-to-date road map, and a compass but now you wonder what language your GPS is in. Can it malfunction and if so what should you do? You’ll be comforted to know that your GPS can be set in English (even if you speak Hebrew!).

Israel is a very tiny country and many places are close to borders. Palestinian controlled areas such as Bethlehem and Jericho are prohibited to rental cars. Ask before you leave the rental car agency if you have any concerns.  An additional method to have a higher level of comfort is to familiarize yourself with some of the road areas before you arrive. how to tour Israel safely

Security

Although a GPS is a comfortable friend to have along, it is important to remember as a machine, it can sometimes malfunction. For this reason, you should also have a compass and good road map. At main entrances on major roads to Palestinian areas, there will be an army roadblock or checkpoint called a machsom in Hebrew so you can verify with the soldiers where the road you are on is headed to. Make sure you always have your passport with you when you travel.

While Israeli Jewish citizens cannot enter Bethlehem at all, Jewish Israelis can freely visit Rachel’s Tomb located near the entrance to Bethlehem. But, it is important to note, you cannot drive to Rachel’s tomb in a car rented in Israel. Instead, you can visit Rachel’s Tomb by bus or taxi. If you are concerned about safety, a high security here and on the road leading to it from Jerusalem has been built and, after the need arose, the tomb itself is now protected by 20 feet high concrete walls.

Rachel’s tomb is closed over the Sabbath however, so if you want to visit there it must be Sunday to Thursday or Friday morning. Access to the tomb is allowed only by a vehicle or bus – never by foot. There is no hiking to Rachel’s Tomb!

If you desire to visit the town of Bethlehem which is under the Palestinian Authority you can arrange a half day tour with a Palestinian tour guide whereby you will travel in the tour guide’s car. A pickup point is usually near Kibbutz Ramat Rachel in Jerusalem. If you have arranged a tour of Jerusalem with an Israeli tour guide and also want to visit Bethlehem, the Israeli tour guide will arrange for a Palestinian tour guide to take you to Bethlehem. You can also go to Bethlehem by yourself if you want to, but not in a car rented in Israel.

Dead Sea

Jerusalem to Dead Sea Allowed in a Rental Car

Rental cars are allowed on the Jerusalem Dead Sea Road. You will pass through an army checkpoint. Follow the signs and keep going straight ahead until you reach the amazing Dead Sea and enjoy all that the Dead Sea has to offer!

What if the car Breaks Down?

Generally speaking, all international suppliers provide an emergency number to contact them in case of an emergency although the costs involved aren’t always included in the rate of the rental. A reflector vest is kept in the car to assist you and should be worn if you need to go outside the vehicle.  These kinds of things are worth asking the car agency directly when picking up the vehicle, when terms and conditions should be discussed.

DID YOU KNOW?

  • If you see a vehicle with flashing blue lights when you are driving that is a police car whereas in your home country a police car may have red lights?
  • Also, police cars in Israel travel with their lights on the majority of the time.

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