Israel information

 

Israel

Israel is a small country founded in 1948 in the Middle East between the eastern shores of the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River. Israel was established on May 14, 1948, as a Jewish state. Israel is located at the land bridge between Asia and Africa and has had a full share of history. But Israel is not all ancient and religious sites, for Israel is also a thriving and modern nation packed full of attractions. From the sanctity of the old city of Jerusalem to the chaos of Tel Aviv discotheques to the dazzling corals of the Red Sea, Israel has something for everybody.

Israel -- The Holy Land

Israel is considered the Holy Land for Christians, Jews, and Muslims holding many holy sites from the biblical era. Many tourists and pilgrims come to Israel for Holy land tours. The diversity of sacred sites invites all religions and denominations: Christian holy land tours, Catholic holy land tours, as well as Jewish and Muslim Holy land tours to places held sacred such as: Jerusalem, the holy city for Christianity, Judaism and Islam, "Sea of Galilee" where Jesus walked on water according to Christian tradition, Nazareth, the birth place of Jesus, and many more.

People In Israel

Israel is home to a diverse population from many ethnic, religious, cultural and social backgrounds. Of its more than 5.5 million population, we can find Jews, Arabs, Druze Bedouins, Circassian and many other minorities. After Israel was founded as a national home for the Jewish people, many Jews from around the world have immigrated there, creating a melting pot of different cultures and languages. The wealth of different ethnic groups creates a beautiful mosaic of traditions, as can be seen in the language, music and food of the people in Israel.

Languages

The official languages of Israel are Hebrew and Arabic. English is widely used as a second language, and recently Russian has become commonplace.

Religion

Freedom of religion and the inviolability of the holy places and centres of worship for all religions are guaranteed by law. The main practiced religions are Judaism 80.1%, Islam 14.6%, Christians 2.1% and others 3.2%. All three of the major western religions have special places of worship in Israel, many of the located in Israel's capital, Jerusalem.

Climate In Israel

Israel, despite being a small country, has a very diverse climate. Mediterranean in the north and arid in the south. In summer the cloudless skies and no precipitation are the norm. In winter, the southern half of the country remains under the subtropical high keeping it dry, but weather in the northern half is influenced by depressions that pass over the Mediterranean, bringing moderate rainfall. Precipitation in the north averages 700 mm (28 in), falling primarily from October to March. Rainfall amounts diminish rapidly to the south making the southern end of Israel, the Negev, an arid desert area. Average summer temperatures range from 18 degrees to 32 degrees C (65 degrees to 90 degrees F) over most of the country. Winters are quite mild, with temperatures averaging 14 degrees C (57 degrees F) along the coast and 9 degrees C (48 degrees F) in the mountains.

When To Visit

The mild climate in Israel makes it comfortable all year round. In the winter, Eilat and the Dead Sea in the south of Israel offer warm sunny beaches and clear blue skies even in the height of winter. Five hours away by car, one can ski on the slopes of Mount Hermon. Spring and fall offer the splendor of Israel's natural beauty at its best. Hike in the serene beauty of Israel's deserts or settle down and relax in among the blossoming flowers of the Galilee. The summer heats things up making the sandy Mediterranean beaches more attractive than ever. Don't forget to check out the night life in Tel Aviv which is always hotter than the weather.

Flights To Israel: Airlines And Destinations

Flights to Israel leave daily from many worldwide destinations. Many airline companies offer routine and chartered flights from European destinations. Ninety percent of international flights land at Ben-Gurion (airport code TLV or BGN), formerly known as Lod. Some international flights from Europe, Cyprus and Jordan also arrive at Eilat Airport, Ouvda Airport (40 miles north of Eilat) and at Haifa. Flights from Europe take between three and six hours depending on port of departure. Flights from India (New-Delhi) take around seven hours, and North American flights take between twelve and sixteen hours to arrive in Israel.

Travel Documents

Every visitor to Israel must hold a valid passport. Visitors are allowed to remain in Israel for up to three months from their date of arrival, subject to the terms of the visa issued. Visitors who intend to work in Israel must apply to the Ministry of the Interior for a special visa.

Visitor's Visas: Citizens of the following countries will be issued visitors' visas free of charge at every port of entry into Israel:
Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, Germany (Persons born after 1.1.28), Gibraltar, Great Britain, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland.

Asia & Oceania: Australia, Fiji Islands, Japan, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Philippines, South Korea

Africa: Central African Republic, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, South Africa, Swaziland.

The Americas: Argentina, Barbados, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Ecuador, Guatemala, Haiti, Jamaica, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, St. Kitts, & Nevis, Surinam, Trinidad, & Tobago, The Bahamas, The Dominican Republic, Uruguay, USA.

Transit Visas: Visitors interested in stopping over in Israel en route to other destinations may request five-day transit visas that may be extended for a further ten days on arrival in Israel. Cruise ship passengers visiting Israel will be issued Landing Cards allowing them to remain in the country as long as their ship is in port. No visa applications are required. Extending your visa: Visas can be extended (for a small fee) at offices in the major cities.

Security Issues

For obvious reasons security measures are especially stringent on flights to Israel. For this reason it is advised to arrive well before your flight as your luggage must be checked through airline security. You may be questioned as to your luggage, destination and purpose of visit to Israel. It is recommended as on all international flights not to bring sharp or weapon-like items as these aren't allowed aboard the plane, other than in the checked luggage. Security measures taken by Israeli airlines have made them recognized as the safest airlines in the world.

Customs

Some goods may be brought in duty and tax free if accompanying you at the time of entry:
Clothing, footwear, and personal toiletries - of the type and quantities that would normally be brought in a person's hand luggage.
Alcohol/spirits and wine -- for each entrant age 17 and above, 1 litre of alcohol/spirits and 2 litres of wine.
Alcoholic perfumes -- for each entrant, up to ¼ litre.
Cigarettes and other tobacco products -- for each entrant age 17 and above, up to 250 grams of tobacco products.
Other items not detailed above may be brought in as long as they are for your own personal use or intended as a gift for another person. The total value of such items should not exceed US$200. Included within this amount, each entrant may bring in up to 3 kg. of foodstuff, provided that the weight of each kind of foodstuff does not exceed 1 kg (source: Israeli Customs).

 

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