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Israelis are generally very warm and hospitable, but like any other culture, certain actions that are insulting or improper elsewhere could be considered normal in Israel.
However, while planning your Israel Itinerary, it’s essential to be aware of the country’s restrictions and cultural codes during Kosher Travel to avoid any surprises, embarrassment, or potential legal issues.
To respect local traditions, it’s essential to be aware of these “don’ts” before travelling to the Eretz Yisroel.
1. Don’t Forget an Electric Converter
Israel uses a 220/230-volt, 50 Hertz domestic electricity system, similar to most European countries. If you’re travelling from the USA or Canada, make sure to add an electric converter for your electronic devices in advance in your Israel Itinerary. Finding converters might be challenging in Israel, so it’s best to avoid wasting time searching for them upon arrival.
2. Don’t bring up politics
In Israel, political discussions can become intense due to the country’s complex history and ongoing conflicts, particularly concerning foreign affairs. With a wide range of opinions, it is often wise to refrain from initiating political talk and attempt to postpone such discussions whenever possible.
3. Do Not Pay Excessively
To avoid getting ripped off by taxi drivers, always ask for the price upfront or use the meter (“moneh”). This ensures transparency and prevents unexpected high fares at the end of the ride. Clear communication about the fare helps establish a fair and honest transaction, protecting passengers from potential exploitation.
4. Don’t try the Israeli Security
Upon arriving at Ben-Gurion airport in Israel, it’s important not to make any jokes about concealed weapons or bombs, as Israeli security takes such matters seriously. They have no sense of humor about these topics.
However, in the streets of Jerusalem, soldiers are often happy to take photos with tourists.
5. Don’t leave your bag unattended
For public safety reasons, it is advisable not to leave bags unattended in public areas. This precaution is essential to prevent potential theft and avoid any suspicion of containing dangerous items, which could lead to a response from law enforcement for everyone’s protection.
6. Danger Mines!
While touring Golan Heights, it is essential to stay on paved roads and marked trails due to the presence of scattered minefields. These minefields are usually marked, but it’s crucial to prioritize safety.
7. Do not leave without a tip
Tipping is prevalent in Israel, and not leaving one is considered impolite, which is an important consideration for your Israel itinerary. Even for subpar service, it’s customary to leave at least 10%, and if you’re satisfied, around 15%. In many places on your Israel itinerary, you can request to include the tip in your card payment. Israelis are direct in their communication, and waiters may openly ask why you didn’t leave a tip without hesitation.
8. Don’t Ignore Waze Guidance
Always use Waze when driving in Yehuda and Shomron to avoid getting lost and unintentionally ending up in Palestinian villages, which could lead to dangerous situations like being stoned. Waze’s GPS navigation ensures accurate directions, helping you stay on the right path and ensuring a safer journey in the region.
9. Never Hitchhike
Although hitchhiking is a common practice in Israel, and is not illegal, It is not advised, and many feel uncomfortable with it due to the need for caution and safety in the country. It is recommended to avoid any potentially risky situations, including getting into cars with strangers.
10. Never Compromise on Kosher Standards
Israel, being a predominantly Jewish country, offers a wide range of kosher standards. Therefore, we highly recommend that you educate yourself on which hashgachos are appropriate for you by consulting your Rabbi. When touring the country, do research beforehand on restaurants and takeout places available in the area, and familiarize yourself with hashgachos on products in supermarkets. It’s important to be aware that fruits and vegetables in Israel need to have proper hashgacha due to the need for Truma and Maaser, as well as Shmita. Furthermore, certain commonly found food products that have good hashgacha in America may not have the same hashgacha in Israel.
Israel’s captivating beauty and the warm-heartedness of its people make for a truly remarkable experience when following your Israel itinerary. However, it’s essential to be aware of and respect local customs, cultural sensitivities, and safety guidelines during your Kosher travel. And remember, even though things might work differently in Israel, being well-informed and prepared gives you every reason to have the best time while following your Israel itinerary.