Last updated: 23 Sep 2020

Israel

About

 Israel means many things to many people. For millions of travellers around the world, this is the ‘Holy Land', spiritually sacrosanct for the three great monotheistic religions: Christianity, Judaism and Islam.

The mud at Dead Sea spa resorts is renowned for its health-giving properties. Go there to slather yourself in it. It's impossible to sink in this ‘sea', which is in fact an inland lake with intensely salty, mineral-rich water, lying at the lowest point on earth.

Immerse yourself in Tel Aviv's fascinating Shuk HaCarmel, or Carmel Market, brimming with spices, fresh produce, cut flowers and trinkets galore.

The waters off Eilat are rich in coral and perfect for some underwater gazing. Scuba or snorkel on underwater trails, take a submarine tour, or just marvel at the scene through the windows of the Eilat's amazing Underwater Observatory.The intricately beautiful glorious Dome of the Rock stands high on Temple Mount (Har HaBayit in Hebrew, Haram esh-Sharif in Arabic) in Jerusalem and is spiritually significant for both Jews and Muslims.

The beautiful Lake Kinneret (Sea of Galilee) is surrounded by Christian sites such as Capernaum, Cana, and the Mount of Beatitudes. Nearby is Jesus' home town, Nazareth, now the largest Arab city in Israel.
Official Name: State of Israel
Local Name: Medinat Yisra'el
Capital:  Jerusalem (JRS) 
Currency:  New Israel Shekel (ILS). Certain foreign currencies including ZAR may be accepted as payment. 
Language:  Hebrew and Arabic. English is widely spoken. 
Dialling code from SA:  + 972
Time Zones: UTC / GMT +2 (same time as South Africa)
Daylight Savings Time: from last Friday March to last Sunday October: UTC / GMT +3 (1 hour ahead of South Africa)
Public Holidays 2020: 

Apr 9, 15, 29; May 22, 25; Sep 19, 20, 28; Oct 3, 10

Side of the Road: Right.
Best Time to go: Year-Round
Best For: Religious and Archaeological Sites
Plugs:  230 volts AC, 50Hz. Round three-pin plugs are standard; many European two-pin plugs fit the sockets
Drinking Water: Mains water in hotels and towns is safe to drink, but some travellers prefer bottled water. 
Health: There are adequate and well-equipped medical facilities, however visitors are required to pay for these services and they can be expensive. Comprehensive health insurance is recommended. If you require any medication on your travels it is best to bring it with you, in the original packaging, with a signed and dated letter from your doctor detailing exactly what it is and why you need it. Precautions against mosquitos should be taken. 
Customs: Israel is a predominantly Jewish society and respect to religious customs should be shown. Shalom is the usual greeting. Dress is casual, but more conservative clothing should be worn when visiting religious sites – especially for women.  Women should take care to note the dress codes before entering certain sites and neighbourhoods (people wearing immodest clothing may be spat on or attacked). Male visitors are given a yarmulke when visiting certain sites. Shabbat (Sabbath) is from sunset Friday to sunset Saturday. Banks, official and government buildings and most stores and restaurants will be closed. It is recommended to check in advance before visiting a certain location during Shabbat. Not all restaurants are Kosher, so do not take it for granted. Smoking during Shabbat is considered extremely disrespectful. Visits to the Gaza strip should be avoided. In Jewish Orthodox areas, photography should be limited, and it is best to ask permission before taking photographs. 
Local Offences / Laws: Identification should be carried at all times. Military and government buildings should not be photographed. 
Travel Tips / Warnings: Credit cards are widely accepted, and ATM’s are available throughout the country.  Check the local political situation before finalising travel plans and before entering the Palestinian Authority. You can choose not to have an Israel stamp in your passport as records are being kept electronically. 
Duty Free: The following goods may be imported into Israel without incurring customs duty (alcohol and tobacco can only be imported by persons aged 17 years and over):
• 250g of tobacco products
• 1L of spirits and 2L of wine
• 3kg of food (each item may not weigh more than 1kg)
• Gifts and other goods to the value of US$200
Prohibited Imports: Prohibited and restricted items include firearms, plants, raw meat, raw material, counterfeit currency or documents, and knives not intended for professional use.

Travel Alerts

COVID-19 Travel Advisory:

  • Passengers who fly to Israel must submit an inbound passenger statement (which includes a personal information form and a health declaration) no more than 24 hours before departure to Israel.
  • Foreign nationals who apply to enter Israel will need to present an entry clearance certified by the Consulate of Israel in their country of origin. Entry clearance will not be issued for foreign nationals, but there are exceptions.
  • Passengers must print out the clearance and take it to the airport to show it to the relevant officials. Passengers must keep the clearance until arrival in Israel, for passport control.

This Information is intended as a Guideline.

Issuing Authorities

Embassy of Israel
428 Kings Highway, Lynnwood, Pretoria
Private Bag X50, Menlo Park, 0102
Tel: 012 470 3500 / 3511
Fax: 012 340 5518
Emergency number: 082 0444 555
E-mail: consular@pretoria.mfa.gov.il
Web: https://embassies.gov.il/pretoria

Visa Queries: Consular3@pretoria.mfa.gov.il / Pt-Cons-info@pretoria.mfa.gov.il 
Tel: 012 470 3511/23

OFFICE HOURS:

Mon, Tue, Thur 09:00-13:00
Wed: Closed
Fri: 09:00-12:00

TELEPHONIC ASSISTANCE:
Monday: 13:30 – 16:30 
Tuesday: 13:30 – 16:30 
Wednesday: 9:00 – 16:30 
Thursday: 13:30 – 16:30 
Friday: 12:30 – 14:00

Authentification of signatures ONLY Mon, Tue, Thur

NOTE: 

If you are sending your forms and passports to the embassy, you must use a courier service ONLY. Registered mail will not be received.
When passports are collected, you must send written approval to the courier company to collect the passport.
The written approval must include: the name of the applicant, ID number, and what must be collected.

Visa Requirements

No visas are required by permanent South African passport holders for a stay of up to 3 months. A stamp will be issued on arrival on production of a return ticket and proof of sufficient funds and the passport must be valid for a minimum of 6 months. Passports are to have at least 6 empty pages.

 

For those requiring visas, visit https://embassies.gov.il/pretoria/ConsularServices/Pages/Visa-Information-.aspx for more information. 

SA Representative

SA Embassy
Sason Hogi Tower
17th Floor, 12a Abba Hillel Silver Street
Ramat-Gan
52506
Tel: +972 3 5252566
Fax: +972 3 525 3230
Web: www.safis.co.il

Travel Health

Compulsory:  None
Recommended Travel Vaccines:  Hepatitis A & B, Rabies, Tetanus, Polio