Country Info: Israel



The State of Israel has some 8.3 million inhabitants.

Local Time

  • October – March: Greenwich Mean Time plus 2 hours (G.M.T. + 2).
  • April – September: Greenwich Mean Time plus 3 hours (G.M.T. + 3).


Hebrew, the language of the Bible, and Arabic are the official languages of the State of Israel. Hebrew (and Arabic too) is written from right to left. However, English is spoken by virtually everyone in the country. Almost every highway and street sign is in English as well as Hebrew (and Arabic), and English language newspapers, magazine and books are available everywhere.

Visa Requirements

Americans, Canadians and citizens of most western countries* need just a passport to come to Israel: no visa is required. Your passport must be valid for at least six months from the date you enter the country.


The State of Israel’s currency is the New Israel Shekel (NIS) or shekel for short (pluralized as shkalim in Hebrew or shekels in English). There are 100 agorot (agora in singular) in each shekel. Bank notes are in denominations of NIS 20, 50, 100, and 200; coins are in denominations of NIS10, NIS5, NIS2 NIS1 and 50 and 10 agorot.

For Example: USD $1 = 3.93 NIS (approximately)

Electrical Current

The Israeli power supply is single phase 220 volts at 50 Hertz. Most power sockets have three pin holes, but many of them will work with double-pin European plugs. Visitors who want to use shavers, traveling irons and other small appliances may need both transformers and adaptor plugs.


Israel enjoys long, warm, dry summers (April-October) and generally mild winters (November-March), with somewhat drier, cooler weather in hilly regions, such as Jerusalem and Safed. Rainfall is relatively heavy in the north and center of the country, with much less in the northern Negev and almost negligible. Regional conditions vary considerably, with humid summers and mild winters on the coast; dry summers and moderately cold winters in the hill regions; hot dry summers and pleasant winters in the Jordan Valley; and year-round semi-desert conditions in the Negev.


Alcohol is legal to drink in Israel and widely available in hotels, restaurants and bars due to the countries thriving nightlife.


Tap water in Israel is safe to drink. You will also find bottled mineral water everywhere. (It’s important to make sure you drink a lot, especially if you are walking, hiking or exercising during hot weather.)


In the summer season, lightweight T-shirts, sleeveless shirts, shorts, and a bathing suit are recommended. Pack a sweater or a jacket for nights in the mountains or the desert.

During the winter season, bring long sleeve shirts, sweaters and a scarf, gloves, a warm coat, and a raincoat and an umbrella. Some religious sites require long pants for men and clothing that covers the shoulders and knees for women.​

Cultural Considerations

Shabbat (the Sabbath) is the Jewish holy day of the week observed every Saturday. Shabbat starts at sunset on Friday and ends at sundown on Saturday evening.


To millions of Jews, Christians, and Muslims, Israel is the Holy Land where Solomon reigned in all his glory, where Jesus taught and performed miracles, and where Muhammad visited during a miraculous night journey.

Information courtesy of the Israel Ministry of Tourism.

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