Israel is one of the world’s most security-conscious countries, although visitors from the US, as well as European Union countries, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and a long list of other countries can get a tourist visa on arrival, valid for a stay of up to three months. Entry, however, is at the discretion of the immigration agency and Muslims and those of Arab descent may be subjected to throughout questioning on arrival.
Health and Safety
There are no specific vaccinations recommended for a stay in Israel, although travelers should make sure their tetanus and other typical shots are up to date. Hospitals and drugstores are found in all major cities and towns and healthcare standards are high, with English spoken almost everywhere. Travel health insurance is necessary as visitors are required to pay for treatment. Tap water is safe to drink, even in rural areas, and the street food won’t cause any health problems. Sunscreen is essential, as is drinking adequate amounts of water to avoid dehydration.
Israel is a very safe country to visit as crime rates are lower than in most Western countries. The once notorious terrorism risk has all but ended due to the construction of the West Bank security fence, but caution should be observed in areas close to the border. Drunk violence and muggings are almost unheard, and private security guards are a common sight with military officers on duty at virtually any public place.
Inexperienced hikers should avoid the remote Israeli desert areas or use a guide, as flash floods in the wadis and hypothermia in the freezing desert nights are a real threat. Hiking in the Golan is risky, as many areas are given over to the military and, in border areas, fences with a red triangle sign on a yellow background indicate the presence of landmines. Travel to the Gaza Strip region is forbidden for safety reasons.