Question - How difficult is it to visit Israel? | Australian Frequent Flyer
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Question How difficult is it to visit Israel?

aussiejohn

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I am thinking about the possibility of going to Tel Aviv in October for a Family History conference. Whether I could go depends a lot on cost and the degree of difficulty in getting to Israel.

My initial thinking is that it will be costly as I doubt Israel is an in-demand destination, and I suspect few airlines fly there. With little competition, air fares are not likely to be cheap or flights frequent.

Do any members have experience of going to Israel? How difficult was it, particularly with flights, security, personal safety, etc?

Expo2020 in Dubai is also on my list of things to do, but as it opens in October, and would be good to combine with a trip to Israel, I suspect it will be too crowded so soon after opening. My original plan was to try and go in January 2021 when it is cooler and maybe calmed down. However the possibility of combining two trips would save me money.

Any thoughts would be gratefully received.
 
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El Al is A$1900+ return in whY for sample dates in October. Super expensive.

Look up ITA Matrix for the best offerings, but it has always struck me as exactly what you say: not much competition and a limited number of airlines flying there. I've not yet bothered to visit, partly put off by the perceived astronomical airfares if one considers that MEL or SYD to Europe can be A$1000 or not much more for some of the year, or in J, sub-A$5000 return.
 

pyffii

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Getting to Israel is expensive as is the cost of hotels as it’s now the in place to visit. No issues at all with security so long as you understand what is expected. The country is safer than you can imagine with a vibrant social and culinary scene with some of if not the best food on the planet. You have options to fly almost direct with CX all subject to the current corona virus subsiding or El Al from HK Beijing and Bangkok as well as from London and almost anywhere in Europe so finding g your way to TA is not difficult. Getting a suitable price is more challenging
 
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Getting to Israel is expensive as is the cost of hotels as it’s now the in place to visit. No issues at all with security so long as you understand what is expected. The country is safer than you can imagine with a vibrant social and culinary scene with some of if not the best food on the planet. You have options to fly almost direct with CX all subject to the current corona virus subsiding or El Al from HK Beijing and Bangkok as well as from London and almost anywhere in Europe so finding g your way to TA is not difficult. Getting a suitable price is more challenging
Not that we have anything to hide, but one reason I've not visited is that (at least with El Al, and possibly with other airlines) one apparently faces tiresome detailed questioning about one's motives for a visit. Anecdotally the 'agent' can ask the same questions over and over, which many would find irritating.

Having recently transited twice in Bangkok, it's far from my favourite (if one has to do that) of Singapore Changi.
 
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pyffii

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Not that we have anything to hide, but one reason I've not visited is that (at least with El Al, and possibly with other airlines) one apparently faces tiresome detailed questioning about one's motives for a visit. Anecdotally the 'agent' can ask the same questions over and over, which many would find irritating.
I think your being a bit over sensitive....safety is super important and Israelis are the best at keeping you safe...Just relax answer the questions and youll be just fine....Never ever had any issues with security both in Israel and outside and we've travelled there many many times
 

juddles

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I am thinking about the possibility of going to Tel Aviv in October for a Family History conference. Whether I could go depends a lot on cost and the degree of difficulty in getting to Israel.

My initial thinking is that it will be costly as I doubt Israel is an in-demand destination, and I suspect few airlines fly there. With little competition, air fares are not likely to be cheap or flights frequent.

Do any members have experience of going to Israel? How difficult was it, particularly with flights, security, personal safety, etc?

Expo2020 in Dubai is also on my list of things to do, but as it opens in October, and would be good to combine with a trip to Israel, I suspect it will be too crowded so soon after opening. My original plan was to try and go in January 2021 when it is cooler and maybe calmed down. However the possibility of combining two trips would save me money.

Any thoughts would be gratefully received.
Hi there aussiejohn.

I will give a bit of advice relating to entry, not about costs, as these are are completely separate matter (having said that and without looking you would almost certainly be best off flying to Europe and buying a separate side trip to Israel)

Israel is complicated - they are a nation that has been under perpetual attack in all forms, and so their security systems are very tight. As melbournian1 has said, some people can perhaps get frustrated at the entry process and questioning, but IMHO if you start with the recognition that they are just doing a necessary job, you will be fine. My principal advice is that you arrive very prepared to answer their questions - about where you will be visiting, with whom, where you are staying, etc etc. Have a solid story - about what you are there for. Have details of where you will stay - printouts ready if at hotels, addresses if staying with others. You mention that you want to attend a "Family History" conference - try to have as much info, in written/printed form, as you can regarding this.

And leave an extra hour or two in any planning for movement upon arrival - as the entry thing may take some time.

I disagree with the concept that there are few airlines or flights into Israel - but research this for your self :)
 

casanovawa

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Pretty sure that the people that get in and out don't post about it so the only reports you hear are the ones complaining about the hard time they had... Its like most things, your average experiences rarely turn into reviews, its the ones who love or hate things...

Its been a while (2010) since i visited so lots of things have probably changed, but back then I did Egypt for 8 days or so and then took a bus across the Sinai arriving at Eilat in the south... Back then I was couchsurfing and had arranged to stay at an Israeli couples house in Jerusalem, so the fact i didn't have a hotel reservation and the fact I don't think the border official knew what couchsurfing was didn't help things, so that was about an hour or hour and half at the border crossing answering questions and waiting etc... On the way out i took the bus to Tel Aviv airport and got there about 2 hours before the flight which is pretty standard, rather than the 3 hours that seemed to be required so got a taken for a few more questions and had to unpack the suitcase etc and have it examined etc... Either on the way in or the way out they were also asking about the stamps in my passport of islamic countries like Indonesia and Malaysia (which i explained were pretty standard holiday destinations etc)

Long story short, it was one of the longer, more thorough immigration/security processes I've been through, but Jerusalem was one of the places i did want to see while doing that Eastern Med trip (along with Egypt, Greece, Turkey etc because there is just so much history there...)

And with the airfares, yes I would probably fly into Europe and then take a short LCC flight into TLV (EasyJet or Ryanair or Aegean or something like that) although I am thinking of maybe passing through TLV on the way to Europe or vv again sometime I would probably look at a points/mile booking in J on the CX flight from HKG to TLV and then LCC into Europe or vv...
 

cove

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The only extra advice I can give is don’t get separated from your baggage as the infidels are around. Keep your baggage to yourself.
i used a hotel porter once because I had product samples and almost missed my flight when I was leaving Tel Aviv.
Israel is a very interesting place and I did get to see a lot of it.
 

Andz

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Fly Qatar / ER to Istanbul then Turkish airline to Tel Aviv, or Qatar or Emirates to Cyprus and then to Tel Aviv

Tel Aviv is expensive but very nice. We used AirBNB.
 

Daver6

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You can get to TLV from PER on QR via DOH and either AMM or LCA with the last sector being on a different airline for about $1500.

Not sure where in AU you are. One stop options available are CX via HKG on CX all the way. Via Bangkok on Thai/El Al.

Personally I'd avoid flying LY like the plague. Not from a safety perspective but just pretty average (in Y).

October could be expensive if it lines up with the Jewish high holidays which are around that time of year.

From a safety/hassle perspective it isn't an issue at all.
 

jboy90

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Was there less than 12 months ago and highly recommend it (I would go back if I could get an award seat there!). Was in London at the time so flew from Heathrow on BA, then back to Aus via Hong Kong on CX.

In terms of questioning, I travelled with colleagues and those that travelled on El Al had intensive questioning before departing for Tel Aviv (look up the history they had with a bomb on board and that will answer some of your questions as to why)! I had none on BA before departure and immigration was quick and easy.

Flying out of Tel Aviv was more difficult, but not horribly slow. The lines were slow - we all had to be interviewed before check in which meant I was in a queue for more than an hour before I could check in my bag. After that, it was super easy and off we went.

Would happily fly there on CX again - would be my preference over El Al.

FWIW it was cheaper to fly Aus to Asia to London to Tel Aviv on Qantas and BA, than it was direct with CX (can't remember if I could find it using an online TA, but could using a full service TA).
 

cambriamarsh

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Was in Israel as part of a oneworld J award in Sep last year. No real hassles but super security conscious. Go with the flow, allow a bit more time than usual and you'll be fine. Enjoy, it is a fascinating place.

You can get to TLV from PER on QR via DOH and either AMM or LCA with the last sector being on a different airline for about $1500.

Not sure where in AU you are. One stop options available are CX via HKG on CX all the way. Via Bangkok on Thai/El Al.

Personally I'd avoid flying LY like the plague. Not from a safety perspective but just pretty average (in Y).

October could be expensive if it lines up with the Jewish high holidays which are around that time of year.

From a safety/hassle perspective it isn't an issue at all.
 

RooFlyer

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I really enjoyed my one and only trip to Israel a couple of years ago. In my Trip Report I noted how lax-seeming the airport security was.
 

DC3

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I am thinking about the possibility of going to Tel Aviv in October .... Dubai is also on my list of things to do ...

Any issues arriving in the UAE with an Israel stamp in the passport? Seem to recall that there may have been an issue at some point.
 

RooFlyer

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Any issues arriving in the UAE with an Israel stamp in the passport? Seem to recall that there may have been an issue at some point.
The Israelis don't stamp your passport. I visited Iran after I visited Israel, on the same passport .

Edit: My mistake! I visited Israel after Iran and the Israelis didn't have a problem :rolleyes:
 
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k_sheep

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Not that we have anything to hide, but one reason I've not visited is that (at least with El Al, and possibly with other airlines) one apparently faces tiresome detailed questioning about one's motives for a visit. Anecdotally the 'agent' can ask the same questions over and over, which many would find irritating.

Having recently transited twice in Bangkok, it's far from my favourite (if one has to do that) of Singapore Changi.
Yes I got the 20+ questions, some totally random, asking about grandparents jobs even! Was odd but not threatening.

Any issues arriving in the UAE with an Israel stamp in the passport? Seem to recall that there may have been an issue at some point.
They don't stamp - you get a separate piece of paper. The only way people can tell on your passport is if you are stamped out from the Egyptian or Jordan sides by land. If you come by air, there's no record on your passport.
 

kpc

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Following with interest as in 2021 we would like to visit Israel, Jordan and Egypt in one trip. We also clearly want to avoid an Israeli stamp in our passport.
 
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k_sheep

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Following with interest as in 2021 we would like to visit Israel, Jordan and Egypt in one trip. We also clearly want to avoid an Israeli stamp in our passport.
We did an overland trip from Jordan into Egypt - well that was the plan. We were getting the boat from Aqaba to ... the port in Egypt, the name escapes me right now. Unfortunately they close the port semi regularly, so we had to go via land - via Israel. Such a pain and yes now the passport is 'tainted'.

Jordan is just incredible. Highly recommended. Spectacular scenery and beautiful old architecture and art.
 

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