Archive for the ‘My Visit to Israel’ Category

Israel National Trail

 

Hiking the Israel National Trail (INT)

Information, Advice and Tips

 

General

 

The INT is a hiking trail that combines  previously marked trails and is marked along its entire length – some 1000 km, from Beit Usishkin near Kibbutz Dan, in the north, descending to Eilat in the south

INT can be hiked continuously in both directions – from north to south and vice versa. Hikers can walk its entire length in “one shot” (thru – hiking), or they may

choose to do it a few sections at a time. Some will walk only sections of special

interest. Non – stop INT hiking may take 35 – 50 days, according to the hiker’s

stamina and experience. The best months for this feat are February – April and

October – November.

We recommend that in the first days you’ll hike no more than 20 – 25 km. a day. You may increase the daily distance later on, according to your ability and the difficulty of the terrain.

Groups who will hike at least 5 INT sections can purchase certificates and pins

from our Secretariat.

We are doing our best to repaint the marks periodically and to repair the markings where damage had been done along the trail.

However, constant development work, human activity in agricultural and recreational areas, natural causes such as vegetation growths, floods etc, in addition to vandalism, may prevent hikers from seeing some of the marks.

Please write down the precise location of places requiring maintenance, and we’ll

do our best to send staff members to repair the damage.

Write or call us:

Israel Trails Committee

The Israeli Society for the Protection of Nature

2 HaNegev st. Tel Aviv 66186

Phone: 972-3-638 87 19 /20

Fax: 972-3-537 45 43

E-mail: shvil@spni.org.il

Travel to Israel – Is It Safe?

Travel to Israel is safe at most times. Security, Israel … You wouldn’t know from the news channels that these two words do go together, of course, so you might be wondering whether you should come or not. Many governments issue advisories for travelers to Israel, Gaza and the West Bank. Does this mean Israel is unsafe?
Jerusalem, was just voted one of the best cities for travelers in the world by a major travel magazine and, although there’s nowhere in the world that’s totally safe, Israel’s capital offers women travelers a level of safety and freedom no longer found in many other countries.

Travel Advisories

Foreign government advisories often warn against travel to Gaza and the West Bank – but generally they do not discourage travel to Israel.
Security in Israel

Security is tight in Israel: you will find security checkpoints in most public places. You’ll go through metal detectors at every mall, government building or train station. You’ll be asked to open your bags for a security check before entering most department stores or major restaurants.

At the Jerusalem Central Bus Station, your bags will be X-rayed as they would be in an airport. Every eating establishment will have a security guard. Israeli organized trips are accompanied by armed guards.

In short – unless you’re a Hollywood celebrity, you’ll never have been this well-guarded in all your life.
Safety Precautions

Many government advisories recommend you avoid public transportation. Personally, I think you miss out a lot of local color if you skip the public buses. If most Israeli commuters don’t think twice about hopping on a bus, I don’t see why I should.

If you’d rather take a cab, though, taxis are cheap and plentiful.

Places to Avoid

Since August 2009, avoid Gaza.

I also wouldn’t recommend venturing alone into the West Bank, because you don’t want to get lost in Palestinian controlled territory. If you’re with an organized group, it’s probably fine, but be alert. When people say they get stoned in the West Bank, they aren’t talking about drugs; they mean rocks.

Suspicious Objects

Suspicious objects – chofetz chashud, in Hebrew – are a fact of Israeli life. Never leave your bag unattended anywhere in Israel. It won’t be stolen – it will be reported as a suspicious object and destroyed by the police bomb squad before you get back to it.

This happens more often than you’d think. The last time I was in the U.S. Consulate, the young woman waiting next to me was a tourist who had accidentally dropped one of her two bags while on a hike. By the time she realized it was missing and went back for it, her bag – and the travelers’ checks and passport in it – were toast.

Israelis and people who travel to Israel frequently are used to waiting through the occasional street closings or detours while the bomb squad detonates a suspicious object. Hence, “There was a chofetz chashud,” is a socially acceptable reason for being late to dinner.

Often the object is nothing more than a schoolbag or dropped parcel, but our motto is better safe than sorry.

Women Travelers

Israel is exceptionally safe for women traveling alone, even at night. Of course, you have to use common sense precautions as you would anywhere.

In most Jerusalem neighborhoods, you’ll see young mothers strolling their babies at midnight without the slightest concern. I used to walk home alone from my night shift at 2 a.m. and the quiet streets, fragrant with honeysuckle, used to soothe my spirit.

However, this is not true for eastern Jerusalem. I wouldn’t recommend women walk there alone even in the day – go with a friend or two and take a cab rather than walk. Certainly, never walk alone there after dark.

By the way, a good resource for international travel safety tips is Travel Security and Safety, a website dedicated to helping you become a savvy, safe traveler.

If you’re a woman traveling alone, you might also check out Backpacking Women on the Road. Written by women, for women, this is an independent travel site for solo women backpackers who want safe travel advice, innovative travel ideas, health information and money tips.

Many government advisories recommend you avoid public transportation. Personally, I think you miss out a lot of local color if you skip the public buses. If most Israeli commuters don’t think twice about hopping on a bus, I don’t see why I should.

If you’d rather take a cab, though, taxis are cheap and plentiful.

– See more at: http://www.jerusalem-insiders-guide.com/travel-to-israel-safe.html#sthash.xRgtOVcR.dpuf

Many government advisories recommend you avoid public transportation. Personally, I think you miss out a lot of local color if you skip the public buses. If most Israeli commuters don’t think twice about hopping on a bus, I don’t see why I should.

If you’d rather take a cab, though, taxis are cheap and plentiful.

– See more at: http://www.jerusalem-insiders-guide.com/travel-to-israel-safe.html#sthash.xRgtOVcR.dpuf

Many government advisories recommend you avoid public transportation. Personally, I think you miss out a lot of local color if you skip the public buses. If most Israeli commuters don’t think twice about hopping on a bus, I don’t see why I should.

If you’d rather take a cab, though, taxis are cheap and plentiful.

– See more at: http://www.jerusalem-insiders-guide.com/travel-to-israel-safe.html#sthash.xRgtOVcR.dpuf

Places to Avoid

Since August 2009, avoid Gaza.

 

I also wouldn’t recommend venturing alone into the West Bank, because you don’t want to get lost in Palestinian controlled territory. If you’re with an organized group, it’s probably fine, but be alert. When people say they get stoned in the West Bank, they aren’t talking about drugs; they mean rocks.

Suspicious Objects

Suspicious objects – chofetz chashud, in Hebrew – are a fact of Israeli life. Never leave your bag unattended anywhere in Israel. It won’t be stolen – it will be reported as a suspicious object and destroyed by the police bomb squad before you get back to it.

 

This happens more often than you’d think. The last time I was in the U.S. Consulate, the young woman waiting next to me was a tourist who had accidentally dropped one of her two bags while on a hike. By the time she realized it was missing and went back for it, her bag – and the travelers’ checks and passport in it – were toast.

Israelis and people who travel to Israel frequently are used to waiting through the occasional street closings or detours while the bomb squad detonates a suspicious object. Hence, “There was a chofetz chashud,” is a socially acceptable reason for being late to dinner.

Often the object is nothing more than a schoolbag or dropped parcel, but our motto is better safe than sorry.

Women Travelers

Israel is exceptionally safe for women traveling alone, even at night. Of course, you have to use common sense precautions as you would anywhere.

In most Jerusalem neighborhoods, you’ll see young mothers strolling their babies at midnight without the slightest concern. I used to walk home alone from my night shift at 2 a.m. and the quiet streets, fragrant with honeysuckle, used to soothe my spirit.

However, this is not true for eastern Jerusalem. I wouldn’t recommend women walk there alone even in the day – go with a friend or two and take a cab rather than walk. Certainly, never walk alone there after dark.

By the way, a good resource for international travel safety tips is Travel Security and Safety, a website dedicated to helping you become a savvy, safe traveler.

If you’re a woman traveling alone, you might also check out Backpacking Women on the Road. Written by women, for women, this is an independent travel site for solo women backpackers who want safe travel advice, innovative travel ideas, health information and money tips.

– See more at: http://www.jerusalem-insiders-guide.com/travel-to-israel-safe.html#sthash.xRgtOVcR.dpuf

 

 

Safety Precautions

Many government advisories recommend you avoid public transportation. Personally, I think you miss out a lot of local color if you skip the public buses. If most Israeli commuters don’t think twice about hopping on a bus, I don’t see why I should.

If you’d rather take a cab, though, taxis are cheap and plentiful.

– See more at: http://www.jerusalem-insiders-guide.com/travel-to-israel-safe.html#sthash.xRgtOVcR.dpuf

Safety Precautions

Many government advisories recommend you avoid public transportation. Personally, I think you miss out a lot of local color if you skip the public buses. If most Israeli commuters don’t think twice about hopping on a bus, I don’t see why I should.

If you’d rather take a cab, though, taxis are cheap and plentiful.

– See more at: http://www.jerusalem-insiders-guide.com/travel-to-israel-safe.html#sthash.xRgtOVcR.dpuf

 

 

Israel National Trail Data Project: Southern Negev

The Israel National Trail (INT) is a footpath that winds its way nearly 1000 kilometers across Israel, from the Lebanese border in the north to the Red Sea in the south. Because of the way it traverses Israel’s unique physical, ethnic, and religious landscape, the INT is gaining a reputation as one of the world’s great long-distance treks.

The INT Data Project is continuing to update the English-language resources found on this website. Please make sure to contribute to our INT Forum if you are interested in the trail or have experience on the INT.

Soldier Ride Israel

Wounded American and Israeli soldiers bike through Israel to raise awareness of the Wounded Warrior Project, a non-profit organization who’s purpose is to help injured service members by providing unique, direct programs and services to help wounded soldiers aid and assist each other.

mountain bike desert trail ride in israel

My Trip to Israel in a nutshell

Going to Israel was one of the best things i have ever done, the food was incredible, the people i met there amazing, the architecture breathtaking, the beauty of the land, the history, ahhh! Special thanks to Joannie our guide, and pastor Bill, and all the lovely people it took to make this trip a reality. The places here are tel dan, tiberias, nazareth, sea of galilee, massada, bet ‘shean, valley of armageddon, jerusalem, western wall, temple mount.

Israel: My Best Adventure So Far!

 

Israel: My Best Adventure So Far!

I have just returned from my very first visit to Israel, and honestly I have so much to say I don’t even know where to start! I spent 6 days touring the country as a guest of the Israel Ministry of Tourism, exploring Jerusalem, the Dead Sea, the Negev Desert and Tel Aviv. Up until last week I had never been to the Middle East, so it was exciting for me to visit a new region of the world. I loved every minute of it, so much so that I found myself wondering how much an apartment would cost to rent in Tel Aviv.

Israel was my best adventure yet! I had a fantastic time there and it was unlike anywhere I have been before. Here’s some of the reasons why I loved it:

The Food

I couldn’t get enough of the food. Breakfast in Israel doesn’t really involve much cooked food, but it does involve lots of healthy salads, cheeses, seeds, grilled vegetables and fruit, so I piled my plate high! I became addicted to the tahini, the hummus, the grilled eggplant and the falafel shawarmas! I loved walking through the markets which were full of vegetables, tomatoes, spices and nuts. I also tried lots of Halva, a sweet food made out of sesame and honey.

Breakfast in Israel

Healthy breakfast

Falafel Shawarma in Jerusalem, Israel

Loved the Falafel Shawarmas!

Halva in Jerusalem, Israel

Halva in Jerusalem

The Adventure

A big highlight of my trip was abseiling into the Makhtesh Ramon crater. This crater is 400 metres deep and has been formed by erosion over millions of years! I have never abseiled before in my life so I was a little bit nervous, but once I had done it I felt such a sense of achievement! Floating in the Dead Sea was an interesting experience- I wasn’t expecting it to feel so oily!

Abseiling in Makhtesh Ramon Crater, Israel

Abseiling at Makhtesh Ramon Crater in the Negev Desert

Floating in the Dead Sea, Israel

Floating in the Dead Sea!

The Nightlife

Tel Aviv is famous for its nightlife, but it was Jerusalem that really surprised and intrigued me. I loved Jerusalem’s quirky pubs and bars with their microbrew beers. In Jerusalem the bars are the kind of establishments where you can grab a stool, sit at the bar and chat to the bartender while he refills your glass all night. Definitely my kind of place! Tel Aviv was more of a ‘scene’ with hip bars and late night clubs; it’s quite typical to start your night at 1am and finish at 6! The city was voted the world’s best gay city in 2011, and it’s definitely a great place to visit if you are looking for somewhere that is gay-friendly.

Barood Jerusalem Nightlife

Barood in Jerusalem has many kinds of Schnapps and Absinthe!

The Scenery

Driving through the desert we saw some spectacular landscapes and the view from Masada out to the Dead Sea was incredible. I think the picture speaks for itself!

View from Masada, Israel

The view from Masada out to the Dead Sea

The Religious Sites

Jerusalem is an important holy place for 3 faiths- Judaism, Islam and Christianity. There is an energy about the city and it is incredible to see so many important religious sites in one place. I saw a view of the Dome of the Rock from the Mount of Olives, walked down Palm Sunday Road, visited the garden of Gethsemane, stopped to see Jewish women pray at the Western Wall, walked through the Arab Souk, saw the 12th station of the Cross and visited the Shrine of the Book where the Dead Sea Scrolls are located. All in one day!

View of Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives

Jerusalem as seen from the Mount of Olives

Women at the Wailing Wall- Jerusalem

Women at the Wailing Wall

12th station of the cross

12th station of the cross

The Culture

I knew a fair bit about Judaism because I have Jewish friends and I learnt a lot from religious studies in school, but It was really quite fascinating to experience some of the Jewish traditions- from a Bar Mitzvah celebration in the street to “Shabbat”, the Jewish day of rest.

I also got to learn about the Bedouin way of life when we visited the Sfinat Hamidbar Bedouin Camp in the Negev Desert. We drank coffee with our host and asked him lots of questions about the Bedouin culture. Serving coffee to visitors is an age old tradition; if you are welcome they will serve three half cups, but if you are unwelcome they will serve full cups, which is a sign you must leave.

Bar Mitzvah in Jerusalem, Israel

Bar Mitzvah Celebrations near the Western Wall in Jerusalem

Sfinat Hamidbar Bedouin Camp in Israel

Drinking coffee at a Bedouin Camp

The Orange Juice!

I love fresh orange juice, and the orange juice in Israel was the best I’ve ever had!

Orange Juice stand in Israel

Orange juice stands are everywhere!

 Thank you to the Israel Ministry of Tourism for hosting me in Israel. As always, opinions are my own.


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