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ISRAEL

 
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U-Dive
Coral Beach
PO Box 84
88000 Eilat
Israel
Telephone: +972 (0)8 637 60 15
Fax: +972 (0)8 637 60 17
PADI 5 Star IDC: courses for all levels, from beginner to instructor levels. Exclusive PADI/DSAT Center specialized in advanced courses for Pro and Tec divers. Serge Fitoussi, Course Director.
» Number of Dive Boats: Shore diving
» Maximum Number of Divers per Boat: NA
» Gear Provided: Scubapro
» Rental Gear Available: Scubapro
» Nitrox Available: Yes
» Type of Diving Available: Reef, wreck, scooters
» Total Dive Sites: 15
» Minimum Time to Dive Sites: 2
» Maximum Time to Dive Sites: 5
» Certification Agencies: PADI
» Courses Offered: all levels, from beginner to instructor levels. Exclusive PADI/DSAT Center specialized in advanced courses for Pro and Tec divers.
Email: info@udive.org
Web: http://www.udive.org

About Israel

The triangle shaped southern part of Israel is mainly covered with a dry and hot desert, called Negev. This area is nearly half the size of the country. The eastern side stretches next to the Jordan Rift. The land meets the Red Sea at the ancient port city of Eilat.

Israel's Red Sea coastline is a mere 4 miles (7 km), sandwiched between Egyptian Sinai and Jordan, at the top of the Gulf of Aqaba. Israel's southernmost city and port Eilat takes up most of this shoreline, its commercial port facilities servicing the import/export industries and military docks supporting the navy. Beyond the ports and the frontage of the city itself, there remains precious little coast for divers to explore. Yet there are several distinct dive sites, some of them offering unique attractions.

Air Travel to Israel

Most of the international airlines operate flights to Israel. El Al, operates many direct flights from the United States, Europe, the Far East, and Africa.
Other Israeli airlines such as Arkia and Israir operate flights from central locations in Europe. There are no direct flights to Israel from distant locations such as Australia or South Africa, or from countries that have no diplomatic relations with Israel. It is therefore a good idea to reserve a connecting flight from these places, or to arrive in Europe and then purchase a ticket to Israel.

Flight times to Israel from some cities:

From London - about 4 ½ hours
From Los Angeles - about 17 hours
From New York - about 11 hours
From Singapore - about 11 hours

Most international flights land at Ben Gurion Airport, which is located near the town of Lod - approximately a half hour’s drive from Tel Aviv. Ben Gurion airport has recently opened a new, modern terminal with a large variety of duty-free shops, restaurants, and coffeehouses. Some flights from Europe also land at Sde Dov in north Tel Aviv or at Ovda Airport near Eilat.


Airlines Serving Israel

El Al Israel Airlines
http://www.elal.com/

Israir Airlines
http://www.israirairlines.com/

Arkia Airlines
Website: http://www.arkia.com/

Air Canada
Website: 
www.aircanada.com

Alitalia                                     
Tel: 011-972-3-7960760
Website: http://www.alitalia.com/

Air France    
Website: www.airfrance.com

Austrian Airlines    
Website: www.aua.com


British Airways
Website: www.britishairways.com


Delta Air Lines
www.delta.com 

Iberia   
Website: www.iberia.com

KLM                                            
Website: www.klm.com

Lufthansa German Airlines  
Website: www.lufthansa.com

Lot Polish Airlines
Website: www.lot.com

Swiss Intl. Airline
                            
Website: www.swiss.com

Tarom                                          
Website: www.tarom.ro

Turkish Airlines
     
Website: http://www.turkishairlines.com/


Entry Requirements

All visitors to Israel must hold a passport that is valid for at least six months from the date they enters the country. People with no nationality must hold a valid laissez passer, as well as a visa back to the country that issued it.

Visitors are entitled to remain in Israel up to three months from the date of their arrival, in accordance with the conditions of the visa issued to them. Visitors intending to work in Israel must submit a request to the Ministry of the Interior for a special visa.

Important note for tourists continuing from Israel on to Arab countries (except Egypt and Jordan): It is recommended that you request that an Israeli stamp does not appear on your passport. You must notify the clerk of your request before your documents are stamped. The granting of such requests is at the discretion of the authorities.

Tourist Visas

Citizens of the following countries will be issued tourist visas free of charge at every port or entrance terminal to Israel:

Europe – Austria, Italy, Iceland, Ireland, Belgium, Britain, Gibraltar, Germany (people born after 1.1.1928), Denmark, Holland, Hungary, Greece, Luxembourg, Lichtenstein, Monaco, Malta, Norway, Slovenia, San Marino, Spain, Portugal, Finland, France, Cyprus, Sweden, Switzerland.

Asia and Oceania – Australia, the Fiji Islands, South Korea, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Japan, New Zealand.

Africa – Lesotho, Mauritius, Malawi, South Africa, Swaziland, the Central African Republic.

America – Uruguay, the Bahamas, El Salvador, Ecuador, Argentina, the United States, Bolivia, Barbados, Brazil, Guatemala, Jamaica, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Trinidad and Tobago, Mexico, Surinam, Nevis and Saint Kitts, Panama, Paraguay, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Canada.

Transit Visas

Visitors desiring to stop in Israel on their way to other destinations may request a transit visa for five days, which can be extended for another 10 days.

Travelers on passenger ships stopping in Israel will be issued with a disembarkation card enabling them to stay in Israel as long as their ship is anchored in Israel. There is no need to submit a request for a visa.

Extension of Your Stay

Your visa can be extended (fee requiered) at the Ministry of the Interior at the following addresses:

Jerusalem – 24 Hilell Street 02-6294726

Tel Aviv – 125 Menachem Begin Street 03-5193305

Haifa – 15 Pal-Yam 04-8633333

Eilat – Ha-Tamarim Street, City Center, 2nd Floor 08-6381333

Tiberias – 23 Zaki Elkhadif 04-6729111

Ben-Gurion Airport – 03-9774200/1/2

Getting Around

Israel is a small country, and it is therefore easy to get from one place to another in a relatively short time. Public transportation is convenient, and you can get to almost any destination for a reasonable price.

Train

Israel Railways operates convenient, inexpensive train service. It is also possible to travel by taxi, but this is more expensive, particularly for inter-city trips. It’s therefore preferable to use shared service taxis.

Domestic Flights

Several companies provide internal flights between Eilat and Ben Gurion Airport, Sde Dov Airport in north Tel Aviv, or Haifa, but these flights are more expensive.

Bus Service

Busses are the most popular form of public transport in Israel for both local transport and intercity trips. The Egged bus company operates most of the intercity bus lines, as well as the local service in most of the large cities and towns. Local and intercity transport in the Gush Dan area (Tel Aviv and the surrounding suburbs) is provided by the Dan bus company. Bus service in Be’er Sheva and Nazareth is provided by private companies. The fare for all bus lines is reasonable, the busses are comfortable and usually airconditioned, and there is regular, frequent service.

Tickets can be purchased at the ticket booths in the central bus station in each city or town, or from the driver. Most of the bus lines do not run on Shabbat or on Jewish holidays. Service ends on Friday afternoon and resumes Saturday evening.

Taxis

Local and intercity taxi service is available to and from any point in the country. Fares within the cities are charged according to the meter. The fares for intercity taxi service are standard fares that are set by the Ministry of Transportation. It is recommended to verify what the fare will be before boarding the taxi.

Taxis can be ordered by telephone from a local taxi station, or stopped by waving your hand at one on the street.

The starting fare within the city is NIS 9.10. An average ride will cost around NIS 20. There is an additional charge of NIS 3.50 for telephone orders and an additional charge of NIS 2.90 for each suitcase that is not hand luggage.

Night rates are 25% more than the normal fare, and begin at 9:01 pm and end at 5:29 am. These rates also apply for Sabbath and holidays.

Drivers must operate the meter for trips within the city. Do not let the driver convince you to agree on a price ahead of time if you are not familiar with the rates!

Car Rental

Most international car rental companies and local companies have offices in the large cities and at Ben Gurion Airport. It is recommended to reserve a car in advance from abroad.

To rent a car in Israel the driver must be over 21 years of age, and must hold a valid international driver’s license and an international credit card.

Driving in Israel is on the right-hand side of the road. Israel has an extensive road system and clear signage in most places (in Hebrew, English, and Arabic). It is a little more difficult to find your way in the large cities, but streets and roads are marked, and you can use a map or ask for directions.


Visitor Information


Israeli Currency

The State of Israel’s currency is the New Israel Shekel (NIS) or shekel for short (pluralized as shkalim in Hebrew or shekels in English). There are 100 agorot (agora in singular) in each shekel. Bank notes are in denominations of NIS 20, 50, 100, and 200; coins are in denominations of NIS10, NIS5, NIS1 and 50, 10 and 5 agorot.

Changing Money

Unlimited sums of local and foreign money may be brought into Israel as cash, travelers’ checks, credit cards or State of Israel bonds. Foreign currency of all kinds may be exchanged at the airport, banks, post offices, most hotels or licensed exchange agencies in large cities. A passport is required when exchanging travelers’ checks. The rates vary from place to place, and banks charge a commission. It is recommended, though not obligatory, to carry a small amount of US dollars, since certain tourist sites, especially in the Old City of Jerusalem, take payment in dollars.

Purchases and Payments

All goods and services may be purchased with the following currencies, which can be freely exchanged: Euro; Australian Dollar; US Dollar; Hong Kong Dollar; New Zealand Dollar; Singapore Dollar; Canadian Dollar; Japanese Yen; Danish Krone; Norwegian Krone; Swedish Krona; Pound Sterling; Swiss Franc; South African Rand. Nevertheless, storeowners and service providers are not required to accept foreign currency and are permitted to give change in shekels even if payment was made in foreign currency.

Tourists who pay for goods and services in foreign currency are exempt, in certain cases, from VAT (Value Added Tax). In addition, some businesses in Israel are registered with the Ministry of Tourism program for refunding tourist VAT payments. These merchants are required to inform their customers of this arrangement, and to provide them with an invoice which they must present at their point of departure from Israel together with their purchase in a sealed package. The VAT, less a commission, will be returned on the spot. Those departing from Haifa, Ashdod or Eilat will have the VAT returned to the address on the invoice. If the amount to be reimbursed exceeds $1,000, it will be sent after the invoice is verified with the tax authorities.

The minimum amount of purchase eligible for VAT refund is $100, including VAT. In Eilat, where VAT is not collected, the minimum purchase for VAT refund is $200, including VAT. The sale of jewelry whose shekel value equals $200, including VAT, will not be VAT-exempt.

Credit Cards

Major credit cards – American Express, Diners, Visa, Mastercard/Access/Eurocard – are widely accepted in Israeli restaurants, stores, hotels, museums, etc.

Tips and Bargaining

In Israel it is customary to tip primarily in restaurants. When the bill does not include service, a 12% tip should be added to the payment. In hotels, one tips the bellhop or any other service provider. Taxi drivers are generally not tipped.

Bargaining is acceptable in Israel, but not everywhere. In the open-air markets, do not hesitate to bargain as it is part of the experience and doing so can lower the price. Storekeepers are legally required to display prices and for the most part are not open to bargaining. This is also true of restaurants and public transportation. Passengers are advised to ask cab drivers to turn on the meter, thus avoiding unnecessary haggling.

Banks

Various banks have branches in the large cities and in smaller communities. Most banks are open from 8:30am until 12 noon Sunday to Thursday, and 4–6pm on Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. On Fridays and Jewish holiday eves, banks are open from 8:30am until 12 noon. All banks are closed on Shabbat. Most of the large hotels have banks which often offer additional, more convenient hours.

Climate

Israel enjoys long, warm, dry summers (April-October) and generally mild winters (November-March) with somewhat drier, cooler weather in hilly regions, such as Jerusalem and Safed. Rainfall is relatively heavy in the north and center of the country, with much less in the northern Negev and almost negligible

Regional conditions vary considerably, with humid summers and mild winters on the coast; dry summers and moderately cold winters in the hill regions; hot dry summers and pleasant winters in the Jordan Valley; and year-round semi-desert conditions in the Negev.

Amounts in the southern areas.

Weather extremes range from occasional winter snowfall in the mountain regions to periodic oppressively hot dry winds that send temperatures soaring, particularly in spring and autumn.

Electricity

The Israeli power supply is single phase 220 volts at 50 Hertz. Most power sockets in Israel have three pin holes, but many of them will work with double-pin European plugs. Visitors who want to use shavers, traveling irons and other small appliances may need both transformers and adaptor plugs.

 

 
 

 


 










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