Israel - anybody been recently?

So, I am going to Israel for 10 days, first time in the country, family holiday, children are 14,12,9. The plan was to drive from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, stay a few days, the down to Eilat, swim with the dolphins, back through the desert to Tel Aviv.

Any tips? The security situation does not seem to be worse than before although I read about daily knife attacks on soldiers. Probably not more dangerous than Baltimore at night? Any opinions?

Also, for a car rental, I read that you need to be careful what numberplate you have as you cannot drive in certain zones with certain plates? I couldn’t find any more details though…

Any tips welcome!
Cheers
Christian

PS. Ah, yes, wine. Probably not very practical with children in tow, but maybe I can sneak in a tasting?

Was there a week ago. Didn’t feel at all unsafe in TLV but left just before the stabbing in Jaffa (and I was in that same area.)

In Tel Aviv, go to independence hall. Very moving experience. Have dinner in Jaffa. And, just walk around - great city. And the Carmel market is fun.

In Jerusalem, make sure to go to the Israel museum. Some of the archaeological stuff they have is unbelievable - like a steele from Dan mentioning the “house of David” written about 100 years after David would have lived.

My family and I (kids 14 and 11) along with my parents and in-laws spent 12 days in Israel this past Summer. It was the most amazing experience of my life. We started in Tel Aviv then drove up through the Golan Heights and finished in Jerusalem.

Did you hire a guide or are you doing the trip on your own?

Can send you contact info for a great tour guide for the old city and surrounding area.

We rented a car in 2011. First time I am hearing about the issue you mention.

We stayed in a great place in Arad which made access to Masada and The Dead Sea easy
http://www.booking.com/hotel/il/zimmer-mantur.html?aid=331424;sid=e4606692ea43d1a4d7852a3e137f2657;dcid=4;dest_id=-779238;dest_type=city;dist=0;group_adults=2;room1=A%2CA;sb_price_type=total;soldout=0%2C0;srfid=9a350f6ae7e3e110bdab5b2c5162d8974757b8feX2;type=total;ucfs=1&

re - restrictions on cars : I suspect what you mean is that most (if not all) rental car companies based in Israel don’t allow their cars to be taken into areas not under direct control of Israel. There are different license plates based on colour, iirc. Where are you planning to go specifically? Honestly, a local guide makes life a lot easier for Jerusalem and surrounds vs driving.

I was just there for a week total (+/- on a Cyprus trip) and there were no concerns. (Have also been a year ago.) After the events of last week, I suspect security will be tighter though people in TLV tell me that it is business as usual. I wasn’t in Jerusalem this trip (and honestly tend to avoid it, though not for safety.

If you want to sample Israeli wines, there are several wines bars with great btg programs in TLV. A winery visit tends to take up at least half the day and you might not want to do this.

Great, thanks all for the tips.

No guide this time, just floating through the country. Kids can take a certain amount of history, but not all day…

Many thanks
Christian

My favorite thing from a visit about 20 years ago was a nighttime hike in the desert. I’m pretty sure it was run by this group, but they don’t seem to offer it any more:
http://www.ecoisraeltours.com/tours/

This site has some similar tours, though not the hiking by moonlight:
http://www.touristisrael.com/destination/negev-tours/

Was there on a press trip two years ago before all the most recent unpleasantness fired up. My hosts told me that it’s weird there as things are going along fine and then blow up for random, unforeseen reasons. I didn’t feel unsafe at any point, but I lived by the Tenderloin in San Francisco for many years.

Everyone was extremely welcoming, friendly, and I had a great time. As for the wines, the real nugget is Golan Heights. Everything great came from there. The wines int he Jerusalem Hills were hit and miss. In general, they were pretty derivative of other styles and regions. Perfectly good, but few showed any real typicity of the region.

If you wanted, you can read my articles https://www.hudin.com/category/israel/. Otherwise, hope you have a great trip!

Miquel,

Thanks a lot, thats great stuff in your articles, will try my luck in the heartland between TLV and Jerusalem. Didn’t know about the grape hurricane where you can use anything from the whole country…

Cheers
Christian
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