If you’re a first-time traveller to the Middle East and especially Israel, it’s a good idea to conduct some elaborate planning before embarking on the trip as this trip forms a significant and unforgettable experience.
To the religious, this small country holds a vital attraction, and its holy sites are a massive attraction throughout the year. Before you leave, you may want to make a run through some important resources. Here are some of the important resources.
1. Visa requirements
If you’re an American citizen looking to stay up to three months, you do not require a visa. However, just like all visitors, you must hold a valid passport. Permits are issued on arrival and are free of charge. Visitors from the UK, New Zealand, and Ireland are also eligible fora free visa.
Shabbat is the Jewish day to rest. It starts on Friday afternoons and ends on Saturday evening. Most Israelis do not work during Shabbat, and this can include using electronics and even cooking. Many light a candle and visit a synagogue for prayers and to sing liturgical songs. After that, they gather for the Shabbat dinner.
During the Shabbat morning, devout Jews return to the synagogue for the morning service and again in the evening for the Haydala service which marks the end of the Shabbat and start the new week.
3. It’s not cheap
This is probably the most important thing to know before traveling to Israel. Expect to get a little jolted by the price levels of most items, including groceries. You may not expect it if you’re used to paying $7 for a beer in the U.S and find yourself forking out $10 for a similar pint in Israel. While groceries are equally costly, apparently most citizens’ incomes are not high either, so one would expect those who live in Israel to learn to deal with it. An average hotel room would go for $90, a good meal in a downtown Tel Aviv restaurant $50 and $70 for a car rental per day.
4. Man burning festival (Midburn Festival)
Most neighbourhoods in Israel can be very hot with temperatures touching 45 degrees during the day and dropping as low as 10 degrees at night.
Every year some 15,000 people gather in the desert to witness the Midburn Festival, Israeli’s version of the famed “Burning Man.” This is a five-day festival where a temporary city is set up in the Negev desert where elaborate platforms are erected for gala events that include arts, music, revelry and radical expression. This follows three successful editions in 2014, 2016 and 2017 which received tremendous media coverage. Tickets for the 2018 edition will be released on the festival website.