Why do people travel to Israel? 


People from all around the world travel to Israel because it’s shocking how much it has to offer, despite its small size! You should visit Israel, because it is a treasure trove for history buffs, people of faith, nature lovers, fans of politics, technology geeks, sports enthusiasts, linguistic experts… and more!


Israel stretches from deserts to seas, from high mountains to rivers and forests. The high-tech world of Tel Aviv startups is less than an hour away from Biblical sites in Jerusalem. You can learn about the Middle East from locals or go for some beauty treatments by the Dead Sea.


You want to spend the whole day praying? No problem. Maybe you’d prefer to rest by hot springs or on a boat – easy! You’d rather go fine dining and shopping? Israel has you covered. And above all, Israel is where the Bible comes to life!


Should I travel to Israel if I’m a Christian? 


Without a doubt! Every Christian should visit Israel at least once in their lifetime. (Fair warning: many get hooked already after their first visit and keep coming back whenever they can.)


Israel is where most of the Biblical events took place. You can follow in Jesus’ footsteps when you visit Bethlehem, Nazareth, the Galilee, and Jerusalem. But think bigger! This is the land God promised to Abraham, where Elijah called fire from the sky, Deborah led an army in battle, and where David killed Goliath.


As a Christian, you should visit this land to see your Bible in full color, but also to learn who the people of Israel are today.

Things to do in Israel: Things to do in Israel: prayer, rest by hot springs, riding on a boat, enjoying fine dining, going shopping, seeing the Bible come to life

Is it safe to travel to Israel?


We want to simply say, “yes, it is safe” and leave it at that. But I’m guessing you probably want a longer explanation.


The reason you are asking is likely because of something you heard on the news. And yes, while it is a fact that dangerous things happen in Israel sometimes, it is also a fact that it is more dangerous to walk around Atlanta, GA or Dallas, TX than it is to walk around Jerusalem.


Hearing an emergency siren can be a stressful experience (still, not very likely if you are not by the Gaza border) but consider this: most of FIRM staff live and work in Jerusalem. We raise our children here. We host big tours and attend congregations.


Our daily lives could be categorized as very normal. And we would love to welcome you into our neighborhood!


Is Israel a country?


Why yes, thank you for asking! Israel regained her independence in 1948 and we’ve been celebrating it ever since! Israel is a part of the United Nations, has its own currency, government, and diplomatic relations.


And why do I say the independence was “regained”? That is because Israel today is the same nation (speaking the same language, worshiping the same God, and with the same capital) as the Israel of the Bible.


Sure, many things have changed over time, but Israel today still calls Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob their fathers.

dimensions of Israel

Where is Israel, what continent is it on? (Is Israel in Europe or Asia?)


Israel’s location is incredibly unique. You could almost call it an intersection of West Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and Europe. But which continent does it actually belong to?


I get it, following the European song contest called Eurovision could get you confused. Not to mention the numerous sporting events of Europe that often include Israel. But truth be told, Israel is located in the Middle East, which is part of Asia.


 Bünting Clover Leaf Map of the World

How big is Israel?


Today’s Israel is about the size of the state of New Jersey (North America), or Slovenia (Europe), or El Salvador (Latin America), or Djibouti (Africa). Since Israel is in Asia, we could skip the Asian comparison, but if you insist – it’s about half the size of Taiwan.


If you love numbers: Israel is 22,145 sq. km (8,630 sq. miles). It is about 420 km (260 miles) “long”, north to south, and only 115 km (71 miles) at the widest point east to west. 

So, good news! This means you could hit all the major landmarks in just a week-long tour, if that’s all the time you’ve got.

Israel is about the size of the state of New Jersey (North America), or Slovenia (Europe), or El Salvador (Latin America), or Djibouti (Africa), and it’s about half the size of Taiwan

What time is it in Israel?


Right now, at the time of answering these questions? It’s almost noon. But I’m sure that’s not what you meant. Here’s a fun fact: Israel has its own time zone name (Israel Standard Time / Israel Daylight Time). 

Israel is 2 hours ahead of UTC (Universal Time Coordinated), so that’s 2 hours ahead of London, UK (3 hours during daylight savings in summer). This also means it is 6 hours behind Tokyo, 7 hours ahead of New York City, and 10 hours ahead of Los Angeles. 

So if it’s 7 a.m. in Los Angeles, 10 a.m. in New York City, 3 p.m. in London, 11 p.m. in Tokyo… It’s 5 p.m. in Israel.

If it’s 10 a.m. in New York City, 7 a.m. in Los Angeles, 3 p.m. in London, and 11 p.m. in Tokyo, it’s 5 p.m. in Israel

What do I need to travel to Israel?


You definitely need a passport, wherever you’re from. Make sure it is valid for another 6 months after the dates when you plan on traveling. And whether you need a visa – please check official regulations for your country.


USA, Canada, most of the European countries, and the majority of Latin America do not need visas to Israel. But for example, residents of Greenland do, despite the island being part of the Kingdom of Denmark (citizens of which do not need visas for Israel).


A vast majority of African and Asian countries do need visas. Meanwhile, Australia and New Zealand do not. The requirements for residents of the Pacific Islands are mixed, so again, check with your local government.

Bonus: here are some more packing tips for the Holy Land

Transform lives in Israel through Gospel-centered ministries.

FIRM is your trusted partner for Gospel impact in Israel. 

Do you have to be vaccinated?


No, Israel does not require any vaccinations prior to entry.


Is Jerusalem in Israel?


It is indeed! And you know what else? Jerusalem is Israel’s capital! So when you plan your trip to Israel, make sure you include this extraordinary city on your itinerary!

Jerusalem is in Israel, in fact is is the nation's capital

Is Bethlehem in Israel?


Bethlehem is considered to be a part of the Palestinian Territories – which you can only visit by entering through Israel. So you can definitely plan on touring the Biblical town of Bethlehem when you travel to Israel.


However, please keep in mind that to enter Bethlehem you will have to cross a checkpoint. Plan to save some extra time for this, in case there’s lots of traffic, and don’t forget to bring your passport!


What should I see when traveling to Israel?


Well, that’s a big question! There is so much to do and see! Are you interested in Biblical sites? Recreational activities? Politics? You could build a completely different itinerary around each of these interests.


To get you started, let us introduce you to some noteworthy locations where Jesus walked and spent his days on earth.


What language do people from Israel speak? Do people in Israel also speak English?


Contrary to popular belief, Israel has only one official language, not multiple – and it is Hebrew. Yes, the Jewish people today speak the same Hebrew language the Jewish people in the Bible did (of course, it has been modernized over the years).


The second most used language is Arabic, popular mainly among the Arab and Druze population of Israel. But it is also used by the Jewish families who made Aliyah (immigrated) to Israel from Arabic-speaking countries.


You will be happy to hear that the third most common language in Israel is English (closely followed by the fourth: Russian!). In most places, the people of Israel will know at least some conversational English to help you out in any situation.

Most spoken languages of Israel: Hebrew, English, Arabic, Russian

What’s the weather like in Israel?


In short: Israel’s weather is as diverse as her people. Overall, they say you can count on as many as 300 sunny days in a year when you’re in Tel Aviv. That’s a lot! And the temperatures only go up as you move south through the desert and onto Eilat.


However, the temperatures do get lower (and days can get wetter) as you move closer to Jerusalem. Meanwhile, if you head north, it will just get more humid. Unless you drive straight to the Golan Heights – then it may get windy, and in winter snowy! In many ways, Israel feels like a mini California.  


You can also read more about the weather and climate in Israel here.


Weather in Israel

Does it snow in Israel?


Ah yes, I already spoiled the answer to this question in the previous one. YES! It does snow in Israel! In winter, you can actually go skiing on Mount Hermon and you’ll see plenty of kids sledding in the Golan Heights.


But what may surprise you is that it is not uncommon to see snow in Jerusalem, too! It usually doesn’t stick around for more than a few days, nevertheless it’s still a fun and welcomed experience by locals and visitors alike.

Distribution of snow in Israel

What countries border Israel?


Israel borders Lebanon in the north, Syria in north-east, Jordan in the east, and Egypt in the south. The entire western border of Israel is the Mediterranean Coast.


Fun fact: the most natural (and peaceful) border of Israel is with the Kingdom of Jordan. It runs along the Jordan River, then along the Dead Sea and moves onto the Arava Valley, all the way down to Eilat and the Red Sea.


Can I go visit Jordan and Egypt after traveling to Israel?


Yes, you can! 

(Unlike Lebanon and Syria – Israel does not have a border crossing for visitors with these two countries.)


You can of course fly to Jordan and Egypt from Israel. But if you want to cross the border on land, you will have to plan ahead. You need a visa to enter both countries, so it is best if you obtain it while still in your home country. 

If you spontaneously decide on a trip while already in Israel, you may have to obtain a visa first in Tel Aviv. Or, if you choose an organized tour from Israel, the guides will likely take care of the visa for you! 


For more information about traveling from Israel to Egypt, go here. To travel from Israel to Jordan, go here. Both countries are easiest to visit via the border crossings in Eilat, at the very south of Israel.

Countries bordering Israel, Lebanon, Syria, Egypt, Jordan

When can I visit Israel? When is a good time to travel to Israel?


Honestly? Any and every month in Israel can be a wonderful experience! You could come tomorrow if you like! Most tourists like to come during milder but sunny weather throughout the country, which is usually from April-June and September-November.


If you want to enjoy hotel pools (or the Mediterranean and Sea of Galilee) every day, go for the summer months. If you prefer cool temperatures, because you want to keep yourself warm by hiking and biking, winter is the right time for you. You want to see the blooming Rose Garden in Jerusalem and the desert turning green? Go in the spring! And how about those changing tree colors and bonfires in the Galilee? Then consider fall.


Another great thing to keep in mind, though, are the Biblical holidays or moedim that affect everyone’s life in Israel, whether they observe them or not.


Pesach (Passover, in the spring) and Sukkot (the Feast of Tabernacles, in the fall) are probably the busiest seasons of the year. If those days are meaningful to you or you just want to see how Israel celebrates, it is worth coming to Israel for the holidays. But if you hate crowds and get impatient with the entire country shutting down for multiple days in a row, skip them.


What is happening in Israel? 


Good question! If you want to see our latest updates from the Land of Israel or you’re interested in a local perspective on what’s going on, find us on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok!


What do I need to know about planning my itinerary for travel to Israel?


When people visit Israel for the first time, they tend to pack their itineraries full with fun and interesting activities. Which is great, however please keep in mind that time flows differently in Israel and in the Middle East.

First of all, be aware that on Shabbat (the Sabbath) and on all religious holidays most places will be closed. That includes restaurants and sometimes even gas stations. The buses don’t run, and taxis are more expensive. On Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the Jewish calendar, even the airport shuts down and many roads are blocked for traffic. 

Keep in mind that both Shabbat and the holidays begin at sundown of the previous day. So if you need to get some shopping done for Saturday, make sure you do it early enough on Friday that you won’t get caught knocking on closed doors. 


What should I pack for travel to Israel? What to wear in Israel:

This is the beauty of Israel – there are people who made Aliyah (immigrated) to Israel from practically every country in the world. Which means they brought their own traditions, but also styles.

So, on one hand, you could probably wear the same outfits you wear at home and not feel weird about it. However, not all places in Israel were “made equal.” You are probably aware that many in Israel are very religious. Which equals… modesty. 

Think not only Orthodox Jews and Muslims… A lot of the Biblical sites (especially New Testament ones) have been preserved and are cared for by churches and monasteries. The rule of the thumb is: cover your knees and shoulders, and definitely no crop tops or see-through clothing. 

Wear modest clothing at Biblical sites in Israel

What do people eat in Israel?

Although it is true that the many immigrants have also brought to Israel their own cuisine, they nevertheless adapted, too. You may wonder, why would they do that? Well, there are at least two big and valid reasons for it. 

First, you simply make do with whatever grows and is available in the land you’re in. And second, the Middle Eastern-Mediterranean fusion is simply delicious! The local spices, olive oil, fresh fruit and vegetables… mmm, I hope your mouth is watering. 

And good news for picky eaters (whether by choice or due to no fault of their own): Israel has options! Whether you are vegan, lactose intolerant, gluten-free, or the opposite of all of the above – there is a good chance you will enjoy your delicious days in Israel to the fullest!

Did we miss anything? Send your questions to [email protected], if you want to know more about traveling to Israel! 

Visiting Israel: In the Footsteps of Jesus: Free PDF Download

It is quite exciting to think that while touring Israel you are walking on the same land that Jesus did.

Whether it is the reason why you came to Israel or not, it is worth noting which locations were significant to His life and ministry. God chose this piece of land to send His Son to live on earth. Many archeological findings confirm the locations mentioned in the Bible.


Estimated reading time: 12 minutes

FIRM is a global fellowship of Biblically-grounded believers committed to cultivating Messiah-centered relationships that bless the inhabitants of Israel—Jews, Arabs, and others—and the Jewish community around the world.
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