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Going to Israel on Business, some free time what sites should I see

Going to Israel on Business, some free time what sites should I see

Oct 29th, 2010, 06:18 PM
  #1  
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Going to Israel on Business, some free time what sites should I see

Hello,

I'm going to Israel sometime in November on business. We're still working out the dates. I have never been to that part of the world before and I'm excited, although a bit nervous.

I probably will be working most of the time, but I'm going to try to have a few extra days to tour as much as humanly possible. This may be the only time I'll ever get to go there, so I need to maximize.

I know there are so many things of religious and historical history but I don't even know where to start. I could imagine spending a month there and not seeing all that I want to see.

So, could someone please make a list of the top "must see" sites that I should plan to see.

I will be in Rosh, Ramla, Tel Aviv, and Haifa on business.

What will the weather be like? What is the standards for business wear? Any advice to make me seem not "out of place" would be appreciated. Are you supposed to tip there and if so how much percent? Should I be concerned about safety? Is fraternizing with business clients frowned upon or encouraged. Sorry if these questions are ignorant.


Thank you!

An American about to travel to the Holy Land.
bkluvsNola is offline  
Oct 30th, 2010, 07:43 AM
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ttt
bkluvsNola is offline  
Oct 30th, 2010, 11:30 AM
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I'm glad you will be able to squeeze in a bit more time to your business trip to see some of Israel.

Even though your business will not take you there, you should make sure to visit Jerusalem. There is so much to see there, but you should definitely include a tour of the Old City of Jerusalem, a visit to Yad VaShem, if you have time see Masada and the Dead Sea (outside of Jerusalem).
In Haifa, see the Bahai Temple and gardens, try to get to Akko which is nearby.
In Tel Aviv see Neve Tsedek and the original neighborhoods of Tel Aviv.

The weather in November will be fall-like in comparison to the US. There may be some rain (which we desperately need), but it's usually not more than a few hours of rain.
Israel is not a very formal country, so whatever you are used to in terms of business wear is fine. You don't mention what business you are in so the suggestions here are general - people rarely wear suits and ties in Israel. Business casual is the norm. Don't be surprised if many people wear shirts and slacks - no jackets.
Fraternizing with business clients is not frowned upon. We are a very friendly, open, sociable society - don't be surprised if you are invited to join others for an evening out, etc.

No such thing as an ignorant question - I think it's great that you are taking the time to prepare for your trip.

And NO - there is no need to be concerned about safety - you are going to be in major centers - it is safe - probably safer than many cities in the US.

Welcome - and have a great (and productive) time.
Oreet is offline  
Oct 30th, 2010, 06:59 PM
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Thank you Oreet. I appreciate the response. I have a few more questions.

How do you suggest I get around the country? Should I rent a car or is there a rail system? If I do rent, can I use a passport as a driver's license?

Also, what are the views on drinking with clients?
bkluvsNola is offline  
Oct 30th, 2010, 07:56 PM
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HI! Not Oreet but I'll answer.

Renting a car is one way--but in Tel Aviv parking is horrid ( and so can be traffic) A passport is NOT a driver's license. If you want to drive you will need to present your American driver's license. There is a train system and it is good for going from city to city. Within cities there are great bus systems. There are also, of course taxis.
Elkaz is offline  
Nov 1st, 2010, 04:32 PM
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Hi, I'll try to approach your last questions first
What is the standards for business wear?
IT depends on the field you're in, but generally pretty casual (and are you male or female? approx age range?)

Are you supposed to tip there and if so how much percent?
Tipping in restaurants--Yes, but not as much as many place in the US . Maybe 12-15%. Less in smaller cities, very casual places. More in big cities, fancier places. Taxi drivers do not expect tips--at least from locals--but will of course accept them

Should I be concerned about safety?
Generally not,big cities are still big cities but much less dangerous that most US cities.Pickpocketing in a crowded market is of course possible .

Is fraternizing with business clients frowned upon or encouraged.
Generally encouraged but it again depends on your industry, age etc.
AlexA is offline  
Nov 1st, 2010, 04:49 PM
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More ideas:
"Rosh, Ramla, Tel Aviv, and Haifa on business"
ROSH is not a complete name of any city I know--do you mean Rosh Pina, or ...? Ramla is fairly unusual for a business trip, and there are no hotels there--where will you be based (especially on your days off)? Are your days off consecutive, or a day here, day there? What days of the week will you have?

Renting a car can be quite expensive--depending on type of car (size, manual vs automatic) and with insurance and gas can end up being $100 per day. For one person it won't be worth it, don't even consider it for major cities (Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Haifa). Even for a trip "out of town" a tour is probably more worthwhile for a single person. By the time you'd add in admission prices to some sights, a tour can actually be cheaper.
So, what to see? Another one of those "depends" questions. Your religious , historical, archaeological interests and the actual time off you'll have make a difference. I think you must see Jerusalem--the Western Wall, Old City, Christian , Jewish , Muslim sights depending on your interests.
Masada and the Dead Sea are is fascinating to most, and will take a whole day. November can be an ideal time there since it can get too hot other seasons, but if there are heavy rains, some of the roads nearby could be closed or flooded. You must check on the weather (forecasts plus recent weather)when you get there.
Other days --depends Where in the US are you from? Most Northerners would be thrilled to spend some time along the coast. It's unlikely to be swimming weather, but the scenery can be beautiful anyway. Think of Herzliya which is close to Tel Aviv and can be reached by bus, train, taxi or Caesarea which has magnificent archaelogical sites.

You'll have so much to choose from! Your colleagues in Israel will probably also be delighted to suggest some of their must see spots.
AlexA is offline  
Nov 1st, 2010, 07:31 PM
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Thanks for the responses.

Some answers to questions. I am a male, live in Texas, a very similar climate to Israel. It's probably just as warm in Texas as Israel right now.

Not really interested in seeing the beach, there are tons of beautiful beaches in the US but there is nothing of the historical religious significance that Israel has, so that will be my focus.

I haven't figured out where I'll be based and it's good to know that car rentals will be a hassle so I won't bother. I'll have to ask about the Rosh thing, will ask about it.

Would it make sense to stay at a hotel in Tel Aviv (seems central to me but again I don't know a lot about the area) and branch out from there? I think I may spend one of my "tourism" nights in Jerusalem. My interests are primarily in Christian holy sites, I'm thinking a tour may be necessary for me to realize the significance of where I'm walking around.

The safety question was more geared towards worries about terrorism versus worries about pickpocketing or other petty crimes.
bkluvsNola is offline  
Nov 1st, 2010, 07:41 PM
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Oh, and my days off will be consecutive. Days working will probably be a day at each and perhaps 3 extra days in Tel Aviv.
bkluvsNola is offline  
Nov 1st, 2010, 09:43 PM
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Don't miss the Western Wall tunnel. It's on the left when you face the wall and I think it is open 24 hours a day. You have to take a tour, but so well worth it! Also, the Tower of David has a sound and light show that is truly amazing and beautiful. If you have time to go in during the day, the entry ticket includes the s&l show (or visa versa).

Whatever you do, don't miss going to Jerusalem.
tinydancer is offline  
Nov 1st, 2010, 10:29 PM
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My guess is that when you say Rosh you mean Rosh Ha-Ayin as there are businesses in the area and it is not far from Tel Aviv.

The Western Wall Tunnels are definitely something to try to see. They are not open 24 hours a day. You need a reservation as they are often booked way in advance and the only way to see them is with a tour. They offer tours, make sure you select one in English. You can make reservations through their web-site: http://english.thekotel.org/VisitorInfo.asp?id=1
Oreet is offline  
Nov 2nd, 2010, 01:33 AM
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Actually, I don't believe you do need to book way in advance for the tunnels unless you are a big group. I heard that in Israel and thought we'd never get in, but it wasn't true. We booked through our hotel for the next day and we were fine. The people who told me that were a family and they didn't go and I think they had very bad information.
tinydancer is offline  
Nov 2nd, 2010, 01:37 AM
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PS: I also think if you book a guided tour of the Old City that includes the tunnel you won't have to book really early. The tours reserve places.
tinydancer is offline  
Nov 3rd, 2010, 04:12 AM
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I will allow that there are off times when there aren't as many tourists that you may be able to get into the Kotel Tunnels without a reservation. However those times are far outweighed by the number of times a reservation is required. What also happens is that people make reservations ( you don't pay in advance) and then don't show up. So sometimes, especially a individual, is able to get in at the last minute. Personally--I wouldn't want to really want to see something and then find it unavailable.

While in Jerusalem if you are Christian you may want to consider a trip to Bethlehem. It was just announced that 200 Israeli guides are going to be allowed to guide there. So, you may find that Egged, Ben Harim or United ( all companies that offer one day trips) are now offering tours to Bethlehem--but give it a little time for them to get organized.

I don't know what the poster who said $100 a day to rent a car was referring to. Maybe if you are renting a luxury vehicle or a van. Even with gas I find that number to be unrealistic for a small manual or automatic. ( Mazada 2 or Mazada 3 automatic) Check out Eldan, the largest company whose prices are usually fair. BTW I don't know if YOU will actually need a car BUT there are also people who read without posting and that is part of the reason I am commenting on cars.
Elkaz is offline  
Nov 3rd, 2010, 10:15 AM
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Elkaz, I wrote about car rental process, having done so many several times. Especially if renting for less than one week, and assuming an automatic car, plus the mandatory insurance, plus gas prices (in the US we are used to about $3 per gallon where in Israel, depending on the exchange rates I have paid from $6-&8 per gallon) the total cost per day for having a car approaches $100. You might also add in parking at a hotel which could easily be another $10 per day or more.
I rent cars for a week or more, for more than just myself, and to get to places that may not be as well served by bus or train. I also speak Hebrew. For a visitor coming alone, for a day here or there, who doesn't speak the language, and who also wants a tour anyway, I think a car makes less sense
AlexA is offline  
Nov 4th, 2010, 12:55 PM
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Thanks all. Trip has been postponed so I may reactivate thread when I know when I'll be going. Thank you.
bkluvsNola is offline  
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