Israel Government Tourist Office
18 Great Marlborough St
London W1V 1AF
Tel: 0171 439 1292, Fax: 0171 437 0527


Physical geography

Located on the eastern Mediterranean with an area of 21,946km2** Israel is bordered by Lebanon and Syria to the north, Jordan to the east, and Egypt to the south. The country stretches southward through the Negev Desert to Eilat, a resort town on the Read Sea. The fertile Plain of Sharon runs along the coast while inland, parallel to the coast, lies a range of hills with fertile valleys to the west and arid desert to the east. The Great Rift Valley begins beyond the sources of the River Jordan and extends south through the Dead Sea (the lowest point in the world) into the Red Sea, continuing on into Eastern Africa.


There are 365 days of sunshine in this Mediterranean climate, with a pleasant spring and autumn. Winters in the north can be cool, with rain possible, especially in Jerusalem. Snow is rare. Summers can be very hot, especially in the south. The Red Sea resort of Eilat has a good climate for beach holidays all year round.


Population is approximately 5.2 million (1992 figures).

A brief history

Despite its 5,000-year history, the State of Israel was founded in 1948 in accordance with the 29 November 1947 resolution of the General Assembly of the United Nations. Within a period of 48 years, the people of Israel have created a highly developed state with an advanced economy.


Jewish - 82 per cent, 14 per cent Moslem, 2.7 per cent Christian, 1.7 per cent Druze and other minorities.

Languages spoken by nationals

The official languages are Hebrew and Arabic, although English is widely spoken, as are French, Spanish, German, Yiddish, Hungarian, Polish and Russian.


New Israeli shekel (NIS) = 100 agorol. At present NIS5 = £1 or NIS3 = $1.

Official holidays (all offices and shops closed)

23 January, Tu B'Shevat (Arbor Day) - 23 March, Purim (Feast of Lots - 22-28 April, Pesach (Passover) - 12 May, Yom Ha'Atzmaut (Israel Independence Day) - 4 June, Jerusalem Liberation Day - 11 June, Shavu'ot (Pentecost) - 142 August, Tisha B'Av (ninth of Av Fast) - 2-3 October, Rosh Hashana (New Year) - 10 October, Yom Kippor (Day of Atonement) - 16 October, 1st day of Sukkot (Tabernacles) - 23 Simhat Torah (rejoicing the Law) - 24 December, Day of Hannukkah (Feast of Lights).

Please note Jewish festivals commence on the evening before these dates, like the Sabbath which begins on Friday evening.

What one should not fail to see

Jerusalem: a religious centre for Jews, Christians and Moslems and one of the most important cities in the world. Famous archaeological and religious sites are to be found here such as the Wailing Wall, the Via Dolorosa and the Dome of the Rock. Also, famed museums include Yad Vashem (Holocaust Memorial) and the Israel Museum where the Dead Sea Scrolls are housed.

Tel Aviv: the city that never sleeps - an influential and intoxicating mix of culture, commerce and beautiful sandy beaches. Nearby Jaffa is a historical port with lively markets and nightlife.

Galilee region - a mountainous and green area of great natural beauty, here one should visit the Sea of Galilee itself as well as Nazareth, Megiddo (Armageddon) and Tiberias.

The Dead Sea - a lake 400m below sea level at the lower end of the Jordan Valley. Here one can float upon the body of water which contains more minerals and salt than any other in the world and enjoy its renowned health-giving properties. One can also visit Masada, site of a Hasmonean fortress and where Herod built his castle.

Eilat - the southernmost tip of Israel and the meeting point with Egypt and Jordan, this ancient port where the Queen of Sheba travelled through to meet King Solomon. Nowadays a paradise for divers, sun worshippers and desert lovers, the year-round sunshine and beautiful coral reef make this a natural tourist resort.

Main holiday resorts

The coastal plain resorts of Tel Aviv, Netanya, Haifa and Herzliya are popular throughout the summer months with tourists of all ages as is the northern resort of Tiberias. The Dead Sea health resort is popular all year round with those who wish to enjoy its natural properties such as the sulphur pools, pollen-free air and healing springs. Eilat is a winter resort popular with all kinds of people from bird watchers to scuba divers as it is equipped with many natural attractions and 365 days of sunshine.

Main holiday sports

Tennis, golf, horseriding, cycling and even skiing on Mount Hermon are available. Water sports include swimming, surfing, sailing, water-skiing, yachting and fishing, as well as skin-diving, snorkelling and aqualung diving. There are also many outstanding opportunities for walkers, trekkers and mountain climbers.

What to eat and drink

Israel's many fine restaurants, snack bars and fast food establishments offer the widest possible variety of exotic and familiar dishes. Traditional Middle Eastern delights vie for popularity with exquisite Continental collations, not to mention the ever present hot dogs, hamburgers and pizza and the national dish, falafel. Fruits and vegetables are plentiful to please every palate and the local wines and spirits are world-renowned for their superior quality and delicate flavour.

What to buy

A beautiful range of Arabic and Israeli jewellery, precious stones, art, ceramics, embroidery, glassware, wines, religious articles and holy books can be purchased.

Frontier formalities

All visitors require a passport which must be valid for a minimum of six months after the intended date of arrival.

Visas as required by all except full British citizens. Other nationalities should contact the consulate: 0171 957 9500.

Health regulations

There are no vaccinations requirements for visitors entering Israel. Tap water is suitable for drinking.


Duty free items include 250 cigarettes, or 250g tobacco products, one litre of spirits, two litres of wine, 250ml of eau de cologne or perfume, gifts up to the value of US$150. Flowers, plants and seeds may not be imported without prior permission. Fresh meat may not be imported.

Currency regulations

There are no currency restrictions on tourists.

Main travel routes

Israel's compact geography enables one to get from place to place in no time at all - whether by car, bus or plane. It takes less than an hour by car from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv, just two hours from Tel Aviv to the Sea of Galilee and half an hour from Jerusalem to the Dead Sea. Moreover, Israel is within easy reach of the Greek Islands, Italy and Turkey, as well as being a convenient route to Egypt and Jordan.


Special events

8 Jan, Tiberias - Intl Marathon along the shores of the Sea of Galilee
9-12 Jan, Eilat - Red Sea Classic Festival
23 Jan, countrywide - Tu B'Shvat Tree planting
16-20 Feb, Eilat - Boardsailing Championships
18 Feb, Ein Gedi Run
14 March - Tel Aviv Run
16-22 Eilat - Spring Migration Birdwatchers Festival
27 March - 4 April, Jerusalem - Intl Poetry Festival.

Representatives abroad

Austria: Offizielles Israelisches Verkehrsburkau, Rossauer Laende 41/12, A 1090 Wien, Tel: 1-310 8174, Fax: 1-3103917

Denmark: Den Israelske Stats Turistbureau, Vesterbrogade 6d, 1620 Copenhagen V, Tel: 33 119711/129680, Fax: 33-914801

Federal Republic of Germany: Staatliches Israelisches Verkehrsbureau, Bettinastr. 62, 60325 Frankfurt/M, Tel: 69-752084, Fax: 69-746249

Staatliches Israelisches Verkehrsbureau, Kurfurstendamm 202, 10719 Berlin, Tel: 30-8836759/8819685, Fax: 30-8824093

Staatliches Israelisches Verkfhrsbureau, Stollbergstr 6, 80539 Munchen, Tel: 89-2289568, Fax: 89-2289569

France Office National Israel, 2 Rue Des Capucines, 75002 Paris, Tel: 1-42610197/42610367, Fax: 1-49270946/47033831

Holland/Belgium: Israelisch Nationaal Verkeersbureau, Office National Israelien Du Tourisme, Wijde Kapelsteeg 2 (Hoek Rokin), 1012 NS Amsterdam, Tel: 20-6249642/6249325, Fax: 20-6242651

Hungary: Nemzeti Idegenforgalmi Kepviselet, Izraeli Nagykovetieg, H 1026 Budapest, Fullank U.8, Tel: 1-1767896/7, Fax: 1-1760531

Italy: Ufficio Nazionale Israeliano Del Turismo Corso Europa 12, 20122 Milano, Tel: 1-767896/7, Fax: 2-760534

Spain: Oficina Nacional Israeli De Turismo, Gran Via 69, 28013 Madrid, Tel: 1-5597903 Fax: 1-5426511

Sweden: Israeliska Statens Turistbyra, Sveavagen 28-30. 4 Tr. Box 7554 10393 Stockholm, Tel: 8-213386, Fax: 8-217814

Switzerland: Offizielles Israelisches Verkehrsbureau, Lintheschergasse 12 8021 Zurich, Tel: 1-2112344/5, Fax: 1-2122036

United Kingdom: Israel Government Tourist Office, 18 Great Marlborough St, London W1V 1AF, Tel: 171-434 3651 Fax: 171 437 0527

North America: Tourism Commissioner for North America, 800 Second Avenue New York, Ny 10017, Tel: 212 499-5610, Fax: 212 499-5645

Information Center For The General Public, Tel: 800-596 11 99 For The Travel Industry, Tel: 800-514-1188

Israel Government Tourist Office, 800 Second Avenue, New York, Ny 10117 Tel: 212-499-5650, Fax: 212-499-5645

Israel Government Tourist Office, 5 South Wabash Avenue, Chicago, IL 60603-3073, Tel,: 800-782 4306/312-782-4306, Fax: 312-782-1243

Israel Government Tourist Office, 5151 Belt Line Road, Suite 1280, Dallas Tx 75'40, Tel: 800-472-6364/214 991 9097/8, Fax: 214-392 3521

Israel Government Tourist Office, 6380 Wilshire Boulevard, 1718 Los Angeles, Ca 90048 Tel: 213-658-7462/3, Fax: 213 658-6543 Pl

Canada: Israel Government Tourist Office, 180 Bloor St, West, Suite 700 Toronto, Ontario M5S-2V6 Tel: 416-964-3784, Fax: 416-964-2420

South Africa: Israel Government Tourist Office, 5th Floor, Nedbank Gardens 33 Bath Avenue, Rosebank 2196, P.O. Box 52560, Saxonwold 2132, Johannesburg, Tel: 11-7881703/4 Fax: 11-4473104

Far East
Japan: Israel Government Tourist Office, Kojimachi Sanbancho Mansion 406, 9-1 Sanbancho, Chiyoda-Ku, Tokyo 102, Tel: 3 3238-9081, Fax: 3-3238-9077

Korea: Israel Government Tourist Office Leema Building, Suite 400 146-1 Susong-Dong, Chongro-Ku Seoul. 110-140, Tel: 2-7380882/7331021, Ext 167, Fax: 2-7365193

Australia: Austraia-Israel Chamber of Commerce Tourism Department, 395 New South Head Road, Double Bay, Sydney NSW. 08, Tel: 2-326-1700, Fax: 2-326-1676

We have been able to publish the present tourist information on Israel thanks to the co-operation of the Israel Government Tourist Office in London