Driving in Israel

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Nov 12th, 2005, 12:21 PM
  #1
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Driving in Israel

Greetings. Ou family of 5 will be arriving in Israel Nov28th. We are renting a car and will be staying in hostels and touring on our own for 2 weeks.. We have a few questions about driving from Jerusalem heading south on Hwy 60 to the Dead Sea. Is there any problem driving through Hebron and Bethlehem AND going North on Hwy 90 traveling through Jerico.Also Hwy 60 going North through Shechem. Is there any way to vist these cities...on our own or with a local guide? thank you for your help. The Russell's
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Nov 12th, 2005, 12:57 PM
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eri
 
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Please don't even think of going to Hebron and Bethlehem on your own. Why take unnecesary risks? There is a safe road from Jerusalem to the Dead Sea without entering those cities. I wouldn't also consider driving through Jericho for the same reasons. While you might consider doing this route on a guided tour (which I wouldn't), don't even think of going to Shechem. There is so much to do and see without these town. PLEASE try to have a great time without endangering yourself!
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Nov 12th, 2005, 05:29 PM
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Eri is absolutely, totally right. You're on vacation, not on military duty, and there is absolutely no logic in going into areas which could be dangerous...

I would get a map from the car retal company and check first, with them or with anybody at your hotel.

Btw, what kind of a car are you renting? 5 people + luggage, be careful not to get one of those tiny cars....
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Nov 12th, 2005, 09:22 PM
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Dear Eri and Mamamia,
Thank you so much for your responses.We are renting a Mazda Van(7 passenger). From Jerusalem we are driving to Massada and Ein Gedi for one night. If we don't take Hwy 60 south, how should we go? Then we are going to Nazareth. What Hwy should we take to go there? We don't want to go go to cities that are dangerous. But truly, we thought Amman was safe till recently!
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Nov 13th, 2005, 07:43 AM
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I am always happy when Mamamia and I "team" and agree. I feel that when the two of us give the same advise, people are more likely to listen.
As Mamamia suggested, you will get specific instructions and suggestion from the rental company. They will show you which roads to use and what to avoid. You will be surprised, but we, here in Israel, are not familiar with the numbers of the roads. We are referring to them as "the road to Jerusalem" or "the road to Haifa". There is a road going from Jerusalem to the north point of the Dead Sea (south of Jericho). I believe that this road is called "road 1" since it is the continuation of the Tel Aviv-Jerusalem road 1. Driving south from that north point of the Dead Sea you'll pass the Kumeran Caves, Ein Feshcha, till you reach Ein Gedi. From there you could either go through Sodom, Beer Sheba, Tel-Aviv and to Nazareth. This is a rather long route. You could also return to Jerusalem and go via route 1 till it reaches the new toal road 6 which will bring you very fast to the north (Eron). From there to Nazareth.
Just remember that it just seems to be a short drive. Here, in Israel, it might take you longer than expected and you might consider staying overnight somewhere on the way.
There is a nice road map book that you can purchase easily in every book store. Try to get if once you arrive.
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Nov 13th, 2005, 12:51 PM
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...Don't forget to go up on the Massada (Metzada) along the Dead Sea.

Also, I hope you plan to BATH in the Dead Sea!!! It's a one-of-a-kind experience, and extremely HEALTHY! Of course, as long as the weather cooperates....
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Nov 13th, 2005, 10:52 PM
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Again, Mamamia, you are of course right. I simply forgot to mention these must activities.
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Nov 15th, 2005, 03:20 PM
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We got lost driving from Jerusalem to the northern border crossing to Jordan and ended up in Jerico, among other places. What you see on a map in Israel, or Jordan for that matter, may not be the same as on the road. And the consequences could be dire in this neck of the woods. Be smart. We thought we were and we just weren't. Double check everything in advance because it is extremely easy to get lost. Listen carefully to the posters here. BTW, thanks Mamamia for all your helpful advice last summer. We had a very interesting trip and may be returning next month.
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Nov 15th, 2005, 03:45 PM
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...Don't remember what I suggested last year, Weezie, but it's good to know that people can really find honest, truthful and helpful info here (just as I do, and have been finding for years, when planning several of our European trips...).

One more thing to Zandy, and anybody planning to drive in Southern Israel during the Winter:

Be careful of sudden floodings. The roads in the Negev and the Jordan valley around the Dead Sea can flood in a matter of MINUTES, even if there is no visible rain, or during a very light and "innocent" rain.... This is not a deadly "tsunami" but it has been causing trouble almost every Winter in those areas, at one incident (last year?) causing a tour bus to roll on it's side near the Dead Sea....

The unique Topography and Geology of this area causes rain water to not be absorbed in the soil and it will very quickly accumulate and start running down the steep creeks and flood the roads.

Check the weather reports for any rain, before you're heading to those areas.
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Nov 15th, 2005, 03:58 PM
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Mamamia or Eri, maybe you can help me. We'll be in the north in late March and plan to try to drive from, say, Tiberius (actually Degania) to Eilat in one day. I've driven to Jerusalem several times from there, but not on down to Eilat. How much time do you think I should budget, given an early departure from the north? Or should I go back toward Tel Aviv and then south (probably won't be allowed to use the toll road by the car hire people.)
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Nov 15th, 2005, 07:48 PM
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Tiberias to TLV is about 3 hours. TLV to Eilat is about 4-5 hours.

Granted that you go staright (not entering TLV), you could do it in a day, easy.

The fact you are renting a car does not mean you can't use the toll road (N0. 6), you just need to check with the rental company first, and it would cost you a few bucks, that's all, but it would be ideal for you, would save you a LOT of time and the aggravation of getting stuck in congested Israeli trafic.
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Nov 15th, 2005, 09:19 PM
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The car rental agencies (or so they tell me) will void the insurance if they learn of the car using the toll road (either because of unpaid tolls or tickets, etc.) Maybe things will have changed by March.

I was thinking of just heading straight down the Jordan Valley (using the Jericho bypass) but was wondering if heading to the Motorway(s) past the airport etc. would be faster.
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Nov 21st, 2005, 03:08 AM
  #13
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What is the best way to drive from the Galil (Kfar Blum area) to Jerusalem? And how long is the drive?
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Nov 21st, 2005, 09:06 AM
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Hi guys

I just want to remind anyone using Israel's roads that the most dangerous aspect of travelling is the other drivers. Keep in mind that Israel has (one of) the worst per capita rate of traffic fatalities in the world. Be aware of other drivers-always.
To go to the dead sea, you pass close by Jericho, but do not enter the town itself.

The northern part of Israel is beautiful. It is naturally green, without irrigation.

One more tip: Israel's produce is amongst the finest I have ever had. But, if you order a salad, get the dressing on the side, as restaurants tend to drench the salad with dressing.
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Nov 21st, 2005, 10:43 AM
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CFW,
You have to drive all the way from Kfar Blum to Afula, from there via Megido, Um el Faham to the northern enterance of the new toll road 6 (ask the rental agency if you are allowed to use it). Road 6 "meets" road 1 (the highway to Jerusalem) after 43 miles = 68 km. Once you are on road 1 it will take you less than 30 min to reach Jerusalem. I estimate the whole trip will be about 3-3.5 hours, depending on the traffic.
You can read all about road 1 on this site:
http://www.kvish6.co.il/frameset.asp...&flash=project
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Nov 21st, 2005, 10:53 AM
  #16
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Spoonch,
Even the north of Israel has to be irrigated in the summer. We don't have a drop of rain from March-April till November. Only some trees and bushes can survive such a long and hot dry period.
I also have to disagree with you about the salad dressing: we always find that either there is no dressing at all or such a tiny amount that there is almost non existant. Your advise, however, to ask the dressing on side is excellent. This way you at least receive some dressing!
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Nov 21st, 2005, 06:20 PM
  #17
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Thanks Eri. Am trying to figure out logistics for a one week stay in Israel. We have such a short time, and I'm wondering if we should try to squeeze in time in the Galil in addition to Tel Aviv & Jerusalem. I lived in Tel Aviv (Ramat Aviv really) as a student many years ago, and I don't want to rush my time there or in Jerusalem, but I also love the Galil.... but it doesn't seem worthwhile unless we go for two nights because of the driving. What do you think? Save the Galil for another trip? Also, in terms of arrival & departure cities. Our return flight to the U.S. leaves B.G. at about 5:00 a.m. so should we plan on staying in TA rather than Jerusalem our last night. If that is the case, maybe we should go directly to Jerusalem for the first 3 nights, then TA for two or three nights, then Galil if we have time. Any thoughts on that itinerary?
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Nov 21st, 2005, 07:28 PM
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One more question. We will be arriving at Ben Gurion on Shabbat. Will we be able to get a sherut to Jerusalem on Shabbat? What about check in to our hotel? Will that be a problem. I understand that Jerusalem is much more religious now than it was several years ago.
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Nov 22nd, 2005, 04:42 AM
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CFW,
7 days in Israel is not a lot but since you were in Israel before you could still have a nice time. May I suggest thee following: Since you arrive on a Saturday, I would start in Tel Aviv not in Jerusalem. Stay 2 nights in TA. TA changed a lot in the last years. Even one fuul day in TA will be interesting for you. I will be happy to suggest how to utilize TA the most in 1-2 days. Then drive to the north. It really depends when you are coming. If it not in the holiday season, you will really enjoy the B&Bs in the Galil. Most of them are really beautiful. If you don't have any particular reason to be in Kfar Blum, there is no need to drive that far north. Let me know and I can suggest nearer places in the north. stay 2-3 nights in the Galil. Drive to Jerusalem and stay there for 2-3 nights. Take a taxi from Jerusalem to Ben Gurion Airport. It is a little longer way than from TA but really not enough to go back to TA just for the night. I would guess that a taxi from Jer. to BG could cost about 35 dollars (about 160 IS).
If you want more detailed assistance, let me know.
Hope this helps.
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Nov 22nd, 2005, 08:59 AM
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Anybody going to Israel in March? I will be there March 8-19, so if you want to meet a fellow Fodorite...

[email protected]
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