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Money Matters: 


The currency in Israel is the New Israeli Shekel (NIS). 1 shekel = 100 agorot (singular: agora) and banknotes are in denominations of NIS 200, 100, 50 and 20 shekels. Coins are in denominations of 10 shekels, 5 shekels, 2 shekels, 1 shekel, 50 agorot, and 10 agorot. The most common ways of paying are by cash and credit card. There are ATMs all over in cities (Bank Leumi and Bank Hapoalim being the most prevalent) and some even give the option of dispensing cash in dollars and euros.

Speaking Hebrew

Most Israelis speak English, so you probably won't have any difficulties getting around. That said, knowing a little Hebrew can definitely be helpful. Here are a few Hebrew phrases that can be helpful for any traveler.

Israel: Yisrael
Hello: Shalom
Good: tov
Yes: ken
No: lo
Please: bevakasha
Thank you: toda
Thank you very much: toda raba
Fine: beseder
OK: sababa
Excuse me: slicha
What time is it?: ma hasha'ah?
I need help: ani tzarich ezra (m.)
I need help: ani tzricha ezra (f.)
Good morning: boker tov
Good night: layla tov
Good sabbath: shabat shalom
Good luck/congratulations: mazel tov
My name is: kor'im li
What's the rush?: ma halachatz
Bon appetit: betay'avon!

What to Pack

Pack lightly for Israel, and don't forget the sunglasses and sunscreen. From April through October it's going to be warm and bright, and even in the winter, about the only extra layer you'll need is a light sweater and a windbreaker. Israelis dress very casually; in fact, a famous Israeli politician was once teased for showing up to work one day wearing a tie.

If you are going to visit religious sites, women should pack a shawl or wrap. If you're visiting a religious site, such as a mosque, synagogue, church or the Wailing Wall, plan to cover yourself. Plan to cover your arms and legs which means avoiding Bermuda shorts or short skirts.

When passing through or visiting neighborhoods where extreme Orthodox Jewish communities reside, it is important to cover up and dress modestly. That may mean long skirts for women and long slacks for men as well as long-sleeved tops.

Having said all that, you'll want to pack a bathing suit for Israel as the weather is likely to be ideal for a swim.


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