Most international airlines have flights to Israel and the majority of visitors to the country arrive via the Ben Gurion Airport. Some tourists combine their visit to Israel with a tour of the surrounding area and therefore enter Israel on land through Jordan or Egypt. There are also a number of ports on Israel’s shoreline and there are visitors who arrive by sea.
A Word about Passports and Visas
Firstly, no matter how you enter Israel you must make sure that you have a passport that is valid for at least another six months. Those visiting Israel can stay for up to three months. After the three months are up they must apply for an extension of their visa. Most countries in America and Europe do not need to apply for a visa in advance- they receive one free of charge on arriving in Israel.
As stated above, a large number of international airlines provide flights to Israel and Israel’s flag carrier, El Al, operates direct flights from the United States, Europe, Africa and the Far East. Other smaller Israeli companies offer flights from various locations in Europe. Distant locations such as Australia and South Africa or countries with no diplomatic relations with Israel do not offer direct flights and visitors from such regions are advised to book a connecting flight from there or to arrive in Europe and on arrival to purchase a ticket to Israel.
Ben Gurion Airport, which is located mid-way between Tel aviv and Jerusalem, receives most incoming international flights. However, some European flights will also land at the small Sde Dov Airport in northern Tel Aviv or at the Ovda Airport near Eilat.
· Israel Airport Authority
· El Al Airline
Both Jordan and Egypt have peaceful relations with Israel and visitors can therefore enter the country via border crossings between the countries.
The Jordan-Israel border crossing is on Israel’s eastern border and has been open since the 1994 peace treaty between the two countries. Three crossing points are currently operating.
· The Yitzhak Rabin Border Terminal
Formerly known as the Arava Terminal, it is located three kilometers from Eilat and serves those who are paying short visits to either country. Both tourists and Israelis use the crossing and cargo also passes over here. There is no way of reaching the border-crossing with public transportation but Eilat can be reached from the crossing by taxi or private transport.
· The Allenby Border Terminal
This terminal is the southernmost Jordan River crossing, located in the Jordan Valley, about an hour’s drive from Jerusalem. T is the shortest route between the Jordanian city of Amman and Israel’s central cities. The terminal can be used by Palestinians and tourists. A bus-stop near to the terminal has buses travelling to and from Jerusalem and Kiryat Shmona. There are also private and shared taxi services available at the terminal to all areas of Israel.
· The Jordan River Border Terminal
The terminal is close to the town of Bet Shean and is the northernmost Jordan River crossing. The terminal serves tourists as well as Israelis. There are buses and taxis available at the terminal.
The border crossings between Egypt and Israel opened after their peace treaty in 1979 and the Taba Border Terminal is the main crossing point.
· The Taba Border Terminal
Approximately ten kilometers south of Eilat, the terminal operates twenty-four\seven apart from the Jewish Yom Kippur and the Islamic Eid-el-Adha. Israelis and tourists pass through here, Palestinians may not. Many pilgrims who are visiting Christian sites in Sinai, Jerusalem, Nazareth and Bethlehem pass through here. The terminal can be walked or driven through and a bus or taxi can be taken to Eilat.
Tips for those using the border crossings
· Changes do occur in opening hours. Make sure to check hours before arriving as well as the rates of passage fees.
· Make sure that good bought at duty free are within the permitted amount allowed by Customs. The regulations appear on a signboard at the terminal.
· The Duty Manager can be asked for in the case of any problems in the crossing process.
· Make sure to follow the instructions given over on the public address system at the terminal.
· Make sure not to bring in ay forbidden goods. Forbidden goods are listed, once again, on the signboard at the terminal.
· The exit passage fee can be paid at the bank at the terminal or in some post office branches.
· Your driving license and passport should be valid with at least six months on your passport.
· Driver of private vehicles should try and return to Israel early around noon.
· A three-month visa can be obtained by tourists at the crossing, apart from those who are citizens of countries from which Israel requires a visa issued in advance.
· Tourists entering from Jordan can receive information from the Israeli Embassy in Jordan 962-669-6511
· Tourists entering from Egypt can receive information from the Israeli Embassy in Egypt 202 3610-528\545
Places one can purchase passage fee certificates from:
· Change Place Co website www.cpl.co.il
· At the border crossing
· Jerusalem Post Office 23 Jaffa Street
· Tel Aviv Post Office 7 Mikveh Israel Street
· Haifa Post Office 19 Pal Yam Street
· Beersheba Post Office 9 Yitzhak Rager Street
· Eilat Post Office HaTmarim Boulevard
· Beit Shean Post Office Local Council Building, HaHistadrut Street
Passengers with Special Needs
The border crossings are accessible for those with special needs and included in the service is the possibility to apply for assistance and help from the terminal staff in advance. There are also special parking spots for the disabled near to the terminal. Wheelchairs are also provided free of charge and can be used until leaving the terminal. Public toilets at the terminal are wheelchair-accessible.
Many shipping lines offer sailings from various European locations to the Haifa Port. There are also Mediterranean cruises that stop off at Israel at Haifa, Tel Aviv, Ashdod or Eilat. Such cruises leave from Greece, Turkey or Egypt. Once border and customs clearance procedures are completed, vessels can continue on to any Israeli marinas. Private yachts can also enter Israel yet must reserve berth in the marina of choice a few weeks in advance.
The Tel Aviv Marina
The marina is on the coastline of Israel’s largest city and commercial center, Tel Aviv. Centrally located, one can travel to anywhere in the country from the city. The marina offers all expected services such as 24\7 security, water, cable and telephone connections, bathrooms, showers, paid parking and businesses that provide whatever needed.
The Jaffa Marina
South of Tel Aviv, the Jaffa Marina is perfect for sailing and fishing and is comfortably close to the major city of Tel Aviv while allowing visits to places that are a little more out of the way. Jaffa itself is a treasure to explore as an ancient city with tourist attractions, restaurants and museums.
The Acre Marina
The Acre Marina is the northernmost marina in Israel and is located between two beaches. It is also a good place to fish and sail and being an ancient city it is also a lovely place to visit.
The Eilat Marina
The Eilat Marina is situated on the Red Sea in the southernmost city in Israel. The marina can also be reached via the Suez Canal. Eilat is a center for tourists with gorgeous diving sites and beaches on offer as well as a variety of hotels and other attractions. The city has an airport that is used for domestic flights as well as a nearby airport for international flights.
The Herzliya Marina
The Herzliya Marina is north of Tel Aviv and is a popular recreation and leisure center for both locals and tourists. Modern yacht services are provided and there is also a lovely on-site promenade, restaurants and a nearby mall.
The Ashkelon Marina
The Ashkelon Marina is the southernmost marina in Israel and is located between two beaches. There are hotels, restaurants and archaeological sites to be discovered in the city.
The Ashdod Marina
The Ashdod Marina is also known as the Blue Marina and is a mere half-four drive from Tel Aviv. Basic services are provided and the marina is part of a commercial and entertainment complex. There are also a number of parks and archaeological sites near Ashdod.
The Kishon Marina
Those who wish to enter Israel in private yachts at the Haifa Port are directed to the nearby Kishon Marina as the Haifa Port has no docking facilities for private yachts.