Last updated: 19 Jan 2022

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 2022: 

Apr 16, 22; May 5; Jun 5; Sep 26-27; Oct 5, 10, 17

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

Last updated: 09/09/2021

Most international travel is suspended. With only few exceptions, all foreigners who are not residents or nationals of Israel are not permitted to enter the country.

Entry restrictions

  • Passengers travelling from Bulgaria, Brazil, Mexico, or Turkey are not permitted to enter Israel. This does not apply to passengers who have received approval from the Exceptions Committee. These passengers must quarantine on arrival.

Form requirements

  • Nationals of Israel who are travelling to Israel are required to complete a personal detail form and sign a health status statement here within 24 hours before their flights.
  • Passengers who are not nationals of Israel who are travelling to Israel must obtain an entry approval issued by the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs or Population and Immigration Authority online here, and hold medical insurance covering the cost of treatment of Covid-19 and observation.
  • Passengers will be refused entry to Israel if they do not hold an electronic approval confirming that they have completed the process no more than 24 hours before their flight.
  • Passengers are required to complete a Declaration of Entry into Israel here within 24 hours before departing from Israel.
  • Passengers travelling to Israel for business purposes, for a period of less than 7 days, must hold a special entry permit. The permit can be obtained online here.
    • This does not apply to nationals of Israel.

    Testing requirements

  • Passengers who have been outside Israel for more than 72 hours are not permitted to travel to Israel unless they are holding a negative Covid-19 PCR test result (PCR-Q/PCR-RT/PCR tests are accepted) issued within 72 hours prior to boarding, provided the total layover time between all flights does not exceed 24 hours. The result certificate must include information identifying the passenger (i.e. name, last name/passport number), as well as the date the test was performed.
  • This does not apply to:
    • Passengers who can present a certificate proving that they have been granted an exemption from the test requirement by applying online here;
    • Passengers who stayed for less than 72 hours in their previous destination;
    • Crew members, provided their length of stay does not exceed 72 hours. 
  • Passengers arriving at Tel Aviv-Yafo Ben Gurion International Airport (TLV) will be subject to a Covid-19 test on arrival at their own cost. Passengers are advised to pre-register for this here.

    Quarantine requirements

  • Passengers can find information regarding quarantine on arrival here.

    Departure requirements

  • Passengers who have been in Israel for more than 72 hours must present one of the following before departing from Israel:
    • a negative Covid-19 PCR test result issued within 72 hours prior to boarding. The PCR test result must be in English, and must include the passenger's passport number; or
    • a vaccination certificate issued by Israel; or
    • a recovery certificate issued by Israel.
  • Nationals and permanent residents of Israel aged 17 years and older departing Israel must obtain electronic approval from the Israel Ministry of Interior prior to departure.
  • Passengers are not permitted to travel to Bulgaria, Brazil, Mexico, or Turkey except in exceptional circumstances approved by the exceptions committee.

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