Location Israel is located in the Middle East, along the Mediterranean Sea, to the north of Egypt and east of the Jordan River. Israel is a very small country; it takes only 5.5 hours to drive the length of Israel from south to north and 3.5 hours to drive its width from east to west. Despite its small size, you can find everything in Israel – from Tel Aviv, ‘the city that never stops’ with the best nightlife in the Middle East, to Jerusalem, a city where you can ‘feel’ tradition that is thousands of years old. Language The official languages in Israel are Hebrew and Arabic. The vast majority of residents of Israel speak some English, but most workers in the tourism industry are fluent in English and speak some additional languages. Currency The Israeli currency is the ‘new shekel’. You can exchange your currency to the new shekel at currency conversion stations throughout Israel. It is recommended not to exchange your money at the airport due to the high commission. Israel accepts most international credit cards. Tips In Israel, it is customary to tip porters, guides, drivers, and restaurant workers. Tipping others not mentioned here is your personal choice, but it is not expected. Porters usually receive a tip between $1-2 per bag. For guides, it is customary to give a tip of $3-5 per person per day for a group. A tour driver usually receives a tip of $3 per person per day for a group. In restaurants, it is customary to leave a tip of 10% -12% per person per meal. VAT VAT in Israel is 17%. Many stores are officially recognized by the Ministry of Tourism for tax refunds for tourists, and it is possible to receive a refund at the airport before departure. Internet Wi-Fi is free in most hotels in Israel. Free Wi-Fi is available on most public transportation in Israel, including on trains and at train stations, on buses and at central bus stations. It is also available in many cafés. Also, Wi-Fi is available in some of the vehicles we provide for group travel. Weekend/Sabbath Saturday is a holy day for Jews. The Sabbath begins on Friday evening at sundown and ends on Saturday night when the first stars appear in the sky. During the Sabbath, government institutions, most public transportation, banks, and most stores are closed. Nonetheless, many restaurants and places of entertainment remain open on the Sabbath. Kosher food Most restaurants and hotels in Israel are kosher. This means that the meat they serve is slaughtered in a certain ritual according to the Jewish religion, there is no mixing of meat and milk products, and pork and seafood are not served. Many restaurants are closed on the Sabbath. However, there are also many restaurants in Israel that are not kosher and are open on the Sabbath. Electrical connections Voltage in Israel is 220-230 V and frequency is 50 Hz. Taking off from Israel – If you are not flying as part of a group, you should arrive at Ben-Gurion Airport about 3 hours prior to departure. Take into consideration that the security procedures in Israel are very strict; you may be asked questions and you may be asked to open your luggage. Weather Since Israel is a Middle Eastern country, it is very hot In the summer. Temperatures can reach 40° C / 104° F in July-August. During the summer months, it is recommended to bring light clothing, sandals, a hat and lots of sun-block! In the winter, from November to March, it is cold and rainy sometimes though we have many glorious sunny days. Snow may fall in the north and (hopefully) in Jerusalem. We recommended to dress warmly when you visit Jerusalem and the Negev desert. In case you enter an holy place, its recommend to dress in a modest way. Exchange rate You can see the exchange rate for the Israeli currency at this link. Transportation Israel has a well organized system of transportation. Tourists can drive a purchased or rental vehicle in Israel with a foreign license. In Israel, we drive in the right-hand lane and overtake in the left lane, like most countries in the world. In addition, Israel has convenient public transportation. You can use Israel Railways or Egged buses throughout Israel. Popular apps in Israel Waze – This navigation application can be used extensively in Israel. It was invented in Israel and has become a global phenomenon. Moovit – A popular application in Israel for public transport, buses, and trains. Israel Railways – The official application of Israel Railways. WhatsApp – The most popular app in Israel for text messaging and keeping in touch with family and friends.