copied from Green Olive Tours
1. PREPARATION - Do some advance reading about the country’s history, religions & politics. This will enhance your visit.
Here’s some suggested reading
a. A Brief Framing of the Palestine/Israel Conflict. This short 15-page booklet is an essential place to begin your learning curve of the region. Free download here.
b. A comprehensive suggested reading list can be found at this link.
(This is a copied page of a PDF--please go to the very informative website of Green Olive Tours to actually get the link. cl)
2. THE AIRPORT - Entering the country is an adventure in itself. Israeli security is legendary for ferreting out ‘undesirable tourists’ and whisking them out of the country almost before their feet touches the airport tarmac. ‘Undesirable’ in Israeli terms can mean anyone who has publicly criticised the government and been audacious enough to promote their views on FaceBook or other public media. Having stamps in your passport from places like Lybia or Iran is also a ‘red flag’. Here’s our advice to get through Ben Gurion airport without being invited to the proverbial ‘back room’ for a chat:
a. Brush your teeth and wash up before your flight starts to descend.
b. Dress well. There’s something about a collar and tie, or a smart dress, that disarms Israeli security.
c. Sloppy dress or hippy-ish looks, will raise an immediate red flag.
d. Wear a large Jewish or Christian religious symbol.
e. The first word out of your mouth at passport control should be ‘Shalom’.
f. Try and avoid the words, ‘Palestine’, ‘West Bank’, or anything that indicates that you see yourself as visiting ‘Palestine’, not Israel. Above all, smile at the passport officer. He/she can make a snap judgement based solely on your demeanour, and press the little red button on the floor to summon a plain clothed person with a flesh coloured ear bud.
3. HOSTELS & HOTELS - So you made it out of the airport - Congratulations. Where to go? The airport is almost half way between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem so either city is a good place to start. Tel Aviv is a vibrant cosmopolitan city on the beach with a large number of great hostels and hotels. We recommend being less than a 15-minute walk from the beach. Jerusalem likewise has a variety of options which differ between the West and the East side of the city. Generally East Jerusalem hotels and hostels are Palestinian-managed, and those in West Jerusalem are Israeli managed. For specific recommendations, please send an email from this link.
4. DRESS CODES - If you travel to traditional Muslim areas, such Hebron or Nablus, or to an ultra orthodox Jewish neighbourhood such as Mea Sharim in Jerusalem, you should cover your body parts - for both men and women long trousers (pants) and a shirt that covers the shoulder and upper arms would be enough - it’s recommended for a female to always carry a scarf to cover her hair or shoulders when visiting religious places. For more details check this link.
5. SAFETY - In both Israel and Palestinian areas, the streets are very safe. Violent crime is relatively rare and it is usually quite safe for solo woman The occasional political violence rarely impacts on foreign tourists who are usually not the target. For more details see this link.
Published by the Green Olive Collective, a Palestinian/Israeli social enterprise. The organisation is dedicated to cultivating humane and just societies through progressive social change, cultural development, political activity and economic enterprise.
© 2017 Green Olive Collective Inc – www.greenolivetours.com – firstname.lastname@example.org – +972-3-721-9540
6. COMMUNICATION - One of the oddities of the country is that people call it by different names, depending on your location and the religion of the person you are talking to. Whether referred to as ‘Israel’ or ‘Palestine’, locals usually meaning the same piece of land from the river to the sea - the majority of Palestinian Arabs, even those who are Israeli citizens, do not like the country to be called Israel and the opposite is true for Israelis who don’t like the country to be called Palestine. Be aware of whom you are talking to. In many places using Hebrew will elicit a negative response, and using Arabic in Jewish areas will likewise often not be welcome. That applies to greetings such as ‘Shalom’ or ‘Salaam’.
7. LOCALES - Moving between Jerusalem and Tel aviv often feels like travelling to another country and switching cultures, although they are just an hour’s drive from each other. Tel Aviv is a cosmopolitan city, whereas Jerusalem is traditional and heavily religious. Similarly, travelling from a Jewish town to an Arab town will also seem like you’ve moved countries, even though these locations are often just a few kilometres apart.
8. TRANSPORT - There are good roads and public transport throughout the country.
a. Public transport in Israel is generally quite good. Trains and buses go everywhere in the country but are limited or non-existent during the Sabbath in Jewish areas of Israel, . Public transport is also quite good in Palestinian areas, and runs 7 days a week in most areas.
b. Car rental in Israel is ubiquitous and intercity roads are excellent, however most yellow-plated Israeli rental cars are not insured for Palestinian areas in the West Bank. Palestinian car rental companies in east Jerusalem will rent you a car with full coverage for both Israel and the West Bank. If you rent a car from a Palestinian company in Bethlehem or Ramallah with a green/white license plate you won’t be able to drive it across the Green Line into Israel
9. CURRENCY - Cash machines or ATMs (‘Caspomat’ in Hebrew) are everywhere in Israel. Even at kiosks on the street. However always carry some shekels cash, especially when travelling in Palestinian territories, since many places accept only cash, and ATM’s can be rare outside the cities in the West Bank.
10. MEETING PEOPLE - Make sure to engage in discussions with local people. Most Israelis and Palestinians are friendly so if you have a chance to speak with the Arab or Jewish population, engaging with them in a discussion will teach you a lot and enrich your journey. Even though it’s a small country between the river and the sea, different people live under different laws, circumstances etc. Try to visit different types of communities in your most likely short trip, such as Israelis from a kibbutz, Mizrahi Jews, ultra-orthodox Jews, Palestinian villagers, Christian Palestinians and Palestinians from the city.
Here is a link to the blog page of Green Olive Tours--Fred has posted a very important article about Gaza: