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Israel Israel is open to tourists

Pauline

Forums Admin
We were in Israel in March 2019 when they closed their borders and asked all tourists to leave in the next few days because of the coronavirus. Since then they have done limited opening, first to visitors with close relatives in Israel, then to select tour groups.

This week they opened again to general tourists. You have to be vaccinated, take a test before departure and take a test in the airport on arrival. Then you are in a 24 hour quarantine until you get your test results. You can go from the airport to a hotel or Airbnb in a taxi or private car, but you cannot rent a car at the airport or take public transportation until you have your negative test result (takes up to 24 hours). You have to have an Israeli phone number to receive the text with the test results (there are companies that sell Israeli SIMs and mail them to you so you have your number before you leave).

For up to date information check out the Trip Advisor - Middle East - Israel forums. They have a pinned post with the latest information.
 

ItalophileNJ

100+ Posts
Yes, and there’s now a person doing a daily series of trip report posts, an ideal poster as she’s been patiently waiting for ?over a year? It’s a first trip for her and her husband (I think) and she’s a great writer, full of excitement and details of what they’ve been doing.
 

Terry

100+ Posts
Stu and I are leaving tomorrow for Israel for my nephew’s wedding. We’re both triple-vaccinated, and had a PCR-Covid test Wednesday (results back today). This is required for entry. Had to fill out online an Entry Application to Israel, which included test results, vaccination dates, passport #s, where you’re staying. Also, we’ll be getting another COVID test when we land (required by the government). We’ll have to isolate for ~24° or until the government’s test results come back. I bought 4 Abbott home self tests, which I’ll bring with us (2 extra just in case we mess up). These are proctored COVID tests, via Wifi, and we take the test within 72° before departure back to US. A lot of hoops to jump through, and extra cost, although plane tickets were much less than the last time we went, years ago! But so far, it’s been pretty smooth.
 

ItalophileNJ

100+ Posts
Great, mazal tov to your family and so great that Israel opened up in time for you to go.
I had to cancel my trip, but I've been following the regulation situation, etc, with my Trip Advisor friends. Apparently more tourists have been dribbling in over the past weeks.
If I recall correctly your brother? lives in the north somewhere. I'm sure you know this, but remember the rainy season is just beginning in earnest, this weekend. So be careful driving! Those roads flood so fast...

Israeli wedding... dance, dance, dance!
 

Terry

100+ Posts
Yes! BIL/SIL live on a kibbutz in the Upper Galilee. We’ll be staying there for most of our trip and then on to Caesarea for the wedding. Not too much traveling. I’ll let you know how things go.
 

Pauline

Forums Admin
Wonderful! I’ve been thinking about Israel a lot lately. We visited in November in 2018 and 2019. It is a nice time of year to be there. Hopefully we will visit next year. Have a great trip!
 

Terry

100+ Posts
So, reporting back about the flying situation. The whole airport experience was totally outside my comfort zone, even though I’m triple vaccinated. In and around food areas, people were not masked, and correct mask-wearing was severely lacking. Boarding time was a real mess - no social distancing. On the plane, again no mask wearing while eating, and of course no distancing. When we landed in Tel Aviv, you must have another PCR test at the airport. We paid in advance and it cost about $20 (~$27 if we paid in the airport). You have to shelter in place til you get the results (we got ours <24° later, via email). Most of the country is vaccinated, but we still do not eat in restaurants/cafes - we’ve been eating at home with family, which is fine. Only
 

Pauline

Forums Admin
And now Israel has closed to tourists after being open for less than a month. When we were last there in March 2020 they closed the borders then asked all tourists to leave within the next few days. Are you still in Israel @Terry ?

Maybe there will be better mask wearing and distancing now because of the new variant. I wouldn’t be comfortable with that airport situation either!
 

joe

500+ Posts
So, reporting back about the flying situation. The whole airport experience was totally outside my comfort zone, even though I’m triple vaccinated. In and around food areas, people were not masked, and correct mask-wearing was severely lacking. Boarding time was a real mess - no social distancing. On the plane, again no mask wearing while eating, and of course no distancing.
As I always say to Pauline when she visits here : remember, this is still the Middle East. ;)
 

ItalophileNJ

100+ Posts
Was the wedding in Caesarea beautiful? Was it with a view of the Mediterranean? I'm wondering about the dancing in these times.... I remember thinking at my cousin's daughter's wedding a few years ago that there was no need to be concerned about whether shoes went with anything because it was so crowded no one could see anyone else's feet.

Trusting that you are now home safe and sound, tested and rested.
 

Terry

100+ Posts
The wedding was held in a venue situated in an office park in Caesarea. An unlikely location, it was totally private and felt like we were in someone’s backyard. Probably some of the best food I’ve ever eaten at a wedding. Caesarea is a very upscale town, with manicured neighborhoods and expensive real estate. Our rental for ten was just a few houses away from Bibi’s compound, with walls, guards, and all. My favorite part of the town was the ancient aqueduct on the beach. I’m including a closeup of the limestone, weathered over 2100 years.
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Pauline

Forums Admin
I love that aqueduct! We’ve visited it. I like the main archaeological site there too. We’ve stopped there for lunch a couple of times. It does feel a bit like Palm Springs driving in to the area. Great location!
 

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