By Douglas E. Duckett
English news is no longer offered on regular Israel Radio (Kol Yisrael) stations, English news from Israeli newspapers can be found on www.ynetnews.com, www.jpost.com, or www.timesofisrael.com, and the latter two have excellent, free mobile phone apps with push notification news updates, very useful for keeping up with security-related issues. Many hotels offer the English-language Jerusalem Post newspaper (center-right) or Ha’aretz (left) in English, offered as an insert in the International New York Times.
If you want to take your laptop or tablet, most hotels have wi-fi service, though sometimes at a charge. Many cafés and restaurants also offer wi-fi service at no charge. You probably won’t need a voltage converter other than what came with the device (check to be sure, but most handle 220- as well as 120-volt current), but you will need the three-pronged adapter for Israeli plugs or at least the two-prong European plug.
You may find it very convenient to have a cell phone while in the country. If you have an unlocked cell phone that can take an Israeli SIM card, use Snapir, who sells the cards at a very reasonable price. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or at http://simtoisrael.com. He mails the card to you with instructions, either to your home or to your first hotel in Israel, if time is tight. His customer service is extraordinary! Please tell him I sent you. If you have a locked phone and can’t use a SIM card, I have rented phones from Amigo several times and find them easy to use and reasonable in price (www.amigo-us.com). They mail the phone to you before you leave home with a return envelope to return it when you get home.
Speaking of telephones, if you are calling Israel from the US, you dial 011-972 and then the numbers I give you in this guide, dropping the zero on the city code. From elsewhere, the country code is 972. Once in Israel, though, you will need to dial the 0 with the city code, and of course leave out the 011-972. For calls to Israel, you may wish to purchase time in $10 blocks through One Suite at www.onesuite.com; calls are as cheap is 4.5¢ per minute for land lines and 8.5¢ for cells (and can be made to anywhere).
Take lots of sunscreen, sunglasses, and a good sun hat. Also, don’t forget to drink lots of water on hot days. You’re dehydrating more than you think because, particularly in the drier interior, you won’t feel sweaty—it evaporates immediately. You will need to force water frequently—if you wait until you feel thirsty, it’s too late and you won’t catch up. The tap water in Israel is safe to drink—no need for bottled water.
Israeli hotels sometimes do not provide washcloths (face towels), if you care about that. I buy inexpensive ones in bulk and just leave them as I check out of the hotel.
North American electrical appliances (other than most laptops or phone chargers) require a converter, which can be purchased there or at home. You’ll also need a plug adapter. You can find these on the Internet as well. If visiting from a country that uses 220-volt current, you’ll only need the plug adapter, and most European plugs work.
©2004-2019 Douglas E. Duckett, All rights reserved.