WHAT TO EXPECT WHILE IN ISRAEL
• Expect to be delighted, surprised and confused by almost everything
you see and hear.
• Remember offenses and confusion are caused by expectations. So,
have an open mind.
• Few people visit Israel without preconceived expectations about
something. Whatever pictures your mind gets when you read the Bible will
change once you are actually in the land of the Bible!
• Security is everywhere and you will not be allowed to go anyplace
that is deemed problematic. The officials guard tourists with great care;
therefore, our itinerary may change at any time.
• Everyone speaks English. Israel is not a good place to learn Hebrew
because Israelis like to take every opportunity to use their English.
Nevertheless, they appreciate any effort you make to speak their language.
One of the Notes you will receive contains the most common Hebrew
• You will see people begging anywhere there are crowds or in any
large town. Westerners typically don’t like beggars. However, a Jew
considers that giving to a begger is fulfilling a commandment of God.
Beggars, on the other hand, consider that they are offering others the
opportunity to obey God. Each of you will have to decide what to do with
this issue. Some of you will not have enough discretionary money to give to
beggars. Yet, the Lord may just prompt you to give to some, anyway. Don’t
ever feel guilty for what you do in Israel.
• Most of the Israelis you will encounter simply want the Arabs to go
somewhere else. This is another attitude which may be difficult to
understand unless you have gone to the effort to become informed about the
history of Arab-Israeli relations. If you are interested in becoming so
informed, read some of the books I have recommended in another Note.
• Israel is a place of great contrasts, especially among Jews, themselves.
Many wish Israel was not a religious country at all. We will discuss these
contrasts. Israelis consider Israel to be their rightful land and they will do
anything to settle it, live on it and protect their right to it.
• Young & Old: One of the contrasts that you will see everywhere is
that Israel is both young and old. Although Israel, as a nation, is young, it
contains much that is ancient, including many of its buildings as well as the
infrastructure of its oldest cities. Try not to be put off by what appears to be
a general lack of maintenance or cleanliness. Every people-group in the
world has a different perspective regarding what constitutes acceptable
levels of cleanliness. We want you to be comfortable in Israel; if something
is not acceptable to you, you must let us know so we can do something
about it if at all possible.
• Litter: Israel is a Middle Eastern country and Middle Easterners don’t
have the same attitude toward ecology (including litter) as do Westerners.
Israel is not as messy as some other Middle Eastern countries, but Israelis
don’t seem to mind litter. If you are from a northern European country
where cleanliness really is next to godliness, you might be offended.
Overlook clutter and litter as best you can.
• Jews have had thousands of years to think about things and their
perspectives on just about everything are very different than everyone else’s.
This can be both frustrating and fascinating. Always be in “learner mode”.
• Westerners (especially those from the southeast) often say they think
Israelis are rude, aggressive, unpleasant, argumentative, loud and
opinionated. Israelis do speak loudly (some say the yell at one another) and
they are opinionated. They drive aggressively. If you enter their store they
won’t ask to help you nor will they thank you when you make a purchase.
They will step in front of you in line as if you weren’t there first. Girls on a
bus will refuse to take a seat you offer to them because they don’t want to be
perceived as not being as strong or capable as a man. 60 years of strife and
difficulty have put an intensity in these people so that they don’t display
many of the social graces Americans take for granted. Israeli Jews are no
respecter of persons and don’t like pretense. Be real. They don’t like people
• Israelis appreciate tourists. They know their country is portrayed in
the media as being somewhat unsafe and they respect people who come
anyway. In fact, they respect anyone who is not afraid to do what he wants
to do. Israelis feel that the U.S. is far more dangerous than their own
country. After all, we lose 3,000 at one time and people are murdered in our
cities daily! This is something they simply cannot imagine.
WHAT TO PACK/ WHAT TO BRING
WHAT TO PACK
Everyone packs too much for a trip to Israel. No matter how often I travel
to Israel, and no matter how little I pack, I always pack too much. When
packing for Israel, always think: fewer, smaller, and lighter.
Israel is a modern, developed country, and you can purchase virtually
anything you need during your stay, including clothing, cosmetics, and
Israel Solidarity Tours can send you a recommended packing list for summer
WHAT TO WEAR WHILE IN ISRAEL
There are 4 considerations in determining what you will take with you
to wear in Israel. They are: Appropriateness, Comfort, Quantity and
You can purchase trip cancellation and/or medical insurance prior to leaving