9 Rules When Traveling to Israel


Traveling in Israel, the country of “Holy Land” and especially the holy city Jerusalem, which contains several different religious traditions, will be the most spiritual experience you ever imagine – but in the other hand, travelers should be aware of local taboos.  Here we provide you with some most important rules you should note.

  1. Some restaurants don’t allow you to bring your own food
    Many Israeli restaurants and hotel dining halls keep kosher, also many Arab restaurants keep Halal.  They might not be happy to see customers bring their own anonymous food.  The best practice is, if you really need your appetizers from the homeland, ask the waiter first.
  2. Dressing codes when visiting holy sites
    Be it Jewish sites, Christian sites or Muslim sites, they all share with some common modesty dressing codes – no sleeveless shirt, no short, no mini-skirt, and better not to wear sandals.  This is especially true if you want to visit the Temple Mount in the old city of Jerusalem.
  3. Separation of genders in some worshiping sites
    When praying in holy sites, Jews and Muslim separate male and female into different areas.  This usually happens inside the synagogue and mosque and not likely to be seen; but places like the Western Wall (Wailing wall) and King David’s Tomb, tourists have to enter the right area.  This apply to some monasteries too.
  4.  In Bazaar’s souvenir shops, don’t ask prices if you have no intention to buy
    In the Old City of Jerusalem, you will find many souvenir shops selling all kinds of exotic things. Many shop keepers will try to get you to stop at their storefront.  Just remember, ask for prices ONLY if you have real interest to buy.  Otherwise, the shopkeeper will call you all kinds of names when you turn away.

  5. Respect for the Jewish Sabbath and Jewish holidays
    Jewish Sabbath begins before sundown on Friday and ends at sunset on Saturday. Pious Jews do not use any electrical appliances during Sabbaths and Jewish holidays.  Please not to picture them or talk on the mobile phone near them on those days.
  6. Do not carry items with Judeo-Christian symbols on the Temple Mount ( Al-Aqsa Square) 
    The Temple Mount’s managing authority is called Waqf, a religious organization controlled by Jordan. Their rules are: not to carry any items with other religious symbols other than Islamic ones, and they keep pretty strict dress codes especially for women.  There are police checking carefully all your belongings before entering the ramp to the Temple Mount, any prohibited items found will be taken out aside, waiting for you to reclaim when you return. They even check the jewelry you wear.

  7. Watch out for individual souvenir sellers
    On Mount of Olives in Jerusalem as well as East Jerusalem area, often you can see youngsters holding a bunch of  posters, postcards or tour books for sale. Please be careful when they approach you, and watch your bags. They might be pocket-pickers.

  8. Always carry your passport
    According to Israeli immigration law, the Israeli police have the right to ask any foreigners to show proof of identity. Although we have not heard of tourists being questioned by the police, but just to let you know in case the tourist can’t provide the proof of identity, the police can suspect you to be an illegal immigrant and take necessary measures. Especially if you want to visit Palestinian areas, there is high chance that the soldiers at checkpoint will ask you to show passport.

  9. Standard tip at restaurants is 10%
    Except for chain coffee shop or fast food , you have to leave 10% of bill amount as a tip.