Useful Information for Israel Tourists

What to bring with you to Israel
a modern developed country where you can buy almost everything you may need during your visit, including clothes, cosmetics and personal hygiene items. If you’re visiting Israel in the summer, you’ll need light clothing – short-sleeve shirts, tank tops, shorts, sandals, beach shoes, and swimwear. It would be nice to take a sweater or jacket with you, because it can be cool at night in the mountains and the desert. If you decide to visit Israel in winter, you will need warm clothes – a thick jacket or coat (it is advisable to take a raincoat with you), warm shoes, an umbrella, a scarf, gloves and other warm clothes. Winter in Israel is not as cold as in Europe, but still cold rainy days fall. It would be wise to take a small bag or backpack with you, which will come in handy for your day trips. If you are going to Eilat or the Dead Sea, don’t forget to take your bathing suits: it is quite warm there in winter too. Sunscreen, a hat to protect you from the sun’s rays and dark glasses are essential items in any season. If you intend to go hiking and observe the country not from the window of a tourist bus, then you will need comfortable sturdy shoes and plenty of water – you can take a canister or several bottles. If you are going to spend the night in the open air, then you will not do without a sleeping bag, tent and camping equipment. Generally, most youth hostels will provide you with sheets and blankets. If you are going to spend the night in the open air, then you will not do without a sleeping bag, tent and camping equipment. Generally, most youth hostels will provide you with sheets and blankets.

Electrical Appliances
The mains voltage accepted in Israel is 220 volts of single-phase alternating current with a frequency of 50 hertz. As a rule, all electrical outlets in Israel are equipped with three holes. Many outlets accept some European 2-prong plugs. It is possible that electric shavers, portable irons and other small-sized electrical appliances will require adapters or adapters that can be purchased in Israel.

Currency and banking information

Israeli currency
The currency of the state of Israel and the main monetary unit is the new Israeli shekel (New Israeli Sheqel – NIS) or simply “shekel”, in the plural – shekels (shkalim). Each shekel is equal to 100 agorot (in the singular – agora). At the moment (May 2006), banknotes in denominations of 20, 50, 100 and 200 shekels, and coins in denominations of 10, 5 and 1 shekel, as well as smaller coins equal to 50, 10 and 5 agorots, are in circulation in Israel.

Money exchange
It is allowed to bring with you to Israel an unlimited amount of cash, both in local and foreign currencies, traveler’s checks, credit cards or Israeli government bonds. Any currency can be exchanged for shekels directly at the airport, as well as at banks, post offices, most hotels or licensed currency exchange offices, usually located in the centers of large cities. When exchanging travel (tourist, Traveler`s check) checks, you must present your passport. Currency exchange rates vary, and banks charge fees. It is not necessary to come to Israel with dollars, but it is advisable to always have a small amount of cash in dollars with you, as in certain places of interest to tourists (especially in the Old City of Jerusalem), payments in dollars are accepted.

Getting cash from
According to Bridgat, ATMs International credit card holders can get cash in local or foreign currency from banks that work with their credit card companies. ATMs (“kaspomats” in Hebrew) are located outside at the entrance to most bank branches.

Purchases and their payment in cash and on credit
For each purchase or service, you can pay in the currency that is freely convertible on the local market: euros, Australian dollars, US dollars, Hong Kong dollars, New Zealand dollars, Singapore dollars, Canadian dollars, Japanese yens, Danish krones, pounds sterling, Swiss francs, southern -African rands. However, shopkeepers and suppliers of goods are not required to accept payments in foreign currency and are entitled to give change in shekels even if the payment was made in foreign currency. Payment in foreign currency exempts tourists from value added tax when purchasing certain goods and paying for certain services. However, there are a number of businesses and organizations in Israel that are included in the Value Added Tax (VAT) refund program by the Ministry of Tourism. The owners of such businesses are required to inform their visitors about this VAT refund program and issue them with receipts that must be presented when leaving the country. Tourists are required to present these receipts if the goods themselves are in their original undamaged packaging. The refund of VAT takes place on the spot, after calculating the percentage of the commission fee from the total amount. For those who leave Israel through the ports of Haifa, Ashdod and Eilat, money equal to the amount of VAT will be sent to the address written on the receipt. If the refund amount is USD 1,000 or more, the refund will be made after appropriate verification by the customs administration. The minimum purchase amount for which a VAT refund is due is $100, including VAT. In Eilat, the city of duty-free and VAT-free goods, The minimum purchase amount for a VAT refund must be at least $200. When purchasing jewelry, the value of which in shekels is equivalent to 200 US dollars, VAT is not refundable. Credit cards such as American Express, Diners, Visa, MasterCard, Access, Eurocard are accepted in most places in Israel – restaurants, shops, hotels, museums, etc.

Tipping and bargaining
In Israel, it is customary to leave a tip, mainly in restaurants. 12 percent service charge must be added to the total bill. In hotels, you should give a small tip to bellboys, elevator operators, maids, or any other person serving you. Taxi drivers are usually not tipped. Disputes about prices for a particular product in Israel are possible, but not in every place. Do not hesitate to bargain in the markets – this is part of the process of buying and selling, and thus you can achieve reasonable prices. Store owners are required by law to list the prices of all goods, and in most cases, trading is not appropriate here. The same procedure is adopted in restaurants and public transport. In a taxi, it is easier and best to ask the driver to turn on the meter and thus avoid unnecessary clarifications.

Bank branches
Branches of various banks are located in all major cities, as well as in many small settlements. Most bank branches are open from Sunday to Thursday from 8.30 to 12.00 and from 16.00 to 18.00 on Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays. On Fridays and on the eve of Jewish holidays, bank branches are open from 8.30 to 12.00. Banks are closed on Saturdays. Bank branches can also be found in most major hotels and are usually open during extra hours for the convenience of customers, beyond the accepted schedule.

Useful Information for Israel Tourists