There’s no shortage of amazing things to do in this quaint country. You probably have your itinerary mapped out. But if you really want to make your stay enjoyable, you can’t ignore this 10 things NOT to do when visiting this sacred country.
1. Don’t Smoke on Saturday
Israel has been constructing its anti-smoking ban, so visitors should adhere to no-smoking signs and refrain from lighting up on Shabbat. If you must smoke, do it in private and far away from an Orthodox Jew who may find your smoking habit offensive.
2. Don’t Eat Without Tipping
In Israel, the waitstaff at restaurants and cafés don’t receive a salary, so they solely rely on the tips from generous patrons. Most customers don’t leave without plopping down at least a 10% tip before heading for the exit.
3. Don’t Skip the Flea Market in Jaffa
Located in the southernmost part of Tel Aviv, the port city of Jaffa has biblical and mythological roots. The flea market opens six days a week, and vendors sell everything, from antiques to handmade items. Don’t miss these picturesque streets
4. Don’t Forget Orthodox Jewish Laws
Orthodox Jews follow strict religious and social laws such as Negiah (restricting physical contact between those of the opposite sex). They will keep a healthy distance between you if you’re of the opposite gender to avoid accidental contact.
5. Don’t Shave Before Entering the Dead Sea
This Sea is loaded with mineral-rich mud and high salt content, relieving certain skin issues, from acne to eczema and psoriasis. But don’t shave or wax your body for at least 2 to 3 days prior. The salt content will wreak havoc on the sensitive areas, leaving you with a burning, tingling feeling. Ouch.
6. Don’t Expect to Eat a Light Breakfast
It’s customary to enjoy a really heavy breakfast, whether you’re in a tiny café or one of the country’s many restaurants. On the menu, you’ll typically find pastries, bread, salads, eggs, meat, fruits, juice, coffee, and tea. And by the time you finish your spread, it will be time for lunch!
7. Don’t Ignore the Memorial Day Siren
If you happen to visit on April 17-18 for Yom Hazikaron (Memorial Day), or on April 11-12 for Holocaust Remembrance Day, you’ll hear sirens ring throughout the country. When it stops, each person must stand up straight, and pay respect to those who’ve lost their lives. So, please, don’t ignore the sound.
8. Don’t Forget to Head Out to the Desert
The Negev – also known as the desert region of Israel – is loaded with natural wonders. Timna Park is home to acacia trees, herds of wild ibex, a souvenir shop, and overnight campgrounds. If you want to take a break, a desert excursion is just what the doctor ordered.
9. Don’t Be Afraid to Haggle
Israel is full of different bazaars and markets. In Old City of Jerusalem, prices are typically marked up, but don’t be afraid to haggle. Most sellers expect shoppers to bargain with them, especially tourists from Western countries.
10. Don’t forget to visit the Sea of Galilee
If you’re the type of tourist who loves staying active even when you’re away from home, this Middle Eastern country was made for you. The Sea of Galilee is full of attractions, including the hot pools near Tiberias, hiking trails, and swimming in the freshwater lake.
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