Visiting Israel?

If you’ve never visited Israel and are thinking about coming here, you might want to know what to bring in preparation for your brief stay in our country.

Coming to Israel in the autumn, winter or spring? Bring layers of clothes – it can be sunny and gorgeous or stormy and cold. Unlikely it will snow, but hopefully it will rain while you are here (we consider every drop a blessing).

Bring good walking shoes – we have gorgeous places to walk.

Bring sunglasses – even in the winter, the sun can be very strong here.

Bring an open mind – to think about all the facets of life here.

Be willing to experience different. Forget where you come from and try to immerse yourself in the people and the culture here.


Leave behind any preconceived notions of Israelis. We are very different than what you hear about there. Notice how many people simply speak to the person next to them.

Notice how a mother will turn to a stranger on the bus and ask for help…or how strangers will jump to help her.

Leave behind worries of antisemitism. As you walk here in Israel, be proud that here you are not a minority. Here you are not a stranger. This is your ancient homeland, now reborn and home again to our people.

Notice how we look at our soldiers – with love and support. Notice, perhaps, the restaurant that brings a huge bowl of French fries to the table of the soldiers or, when the soldiers go to pay, tell them someone already paid for their food.

Notice how ancient some places are…you are walking where people have walked for 3,000 years…we KNOW where Avraham and Sarah are buried. Where Rifka and Yitzchak rest. We know where Jacob, Leah and Rachel can be found. We visit their graves…as I did just last week. We know where Joseph and Benjamin are buried, where David fought Goliath.

Notice how modern some places are – soaring buildings, magnificent architecture, high-speed trains and nearly every large global company you’ve ever heard of is right here somewhere – Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Intel, IBM…and on and on.

Notice how Tel Aviv and surrounding areas are called Gush Dan, to this day because over 3,000 years ago, this is where the tribe of Dan settled. Notice that as you leave Jerusalem and drive towards the Dead Sea, you will be entering the Judean Desert, named after Judah, whose tribe settled along the shores of the Jordan River and Dead Sea.

Notice that we are a tiny country where you can ski in the north and snorkel in the south on the same day. You can climb high into the mountains or visit the lowest place on earth.

Come with your eyes wide open and see this beautiful country and know when you take off and when you land here – you really don’t have to bring a single thing because we pretty much have anything and everything you’ll need.

Safe travels…it’s such a gift to be able to see any new country…but this one? Best gift of all!


Paula R. Stern

Paula R. Stern is the CEO of WritePoint Ltd, a leading technical writing company in Israel. She is also a popular blogger with her work appearing on her own sites, A Soldier's Mother and PaulaSays, as well as IsraellyCool and a number of other Jewish and Israeli sites.

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