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10 day holiday starting November 29th: To go or to cancel?

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Bristol, United...
posts: 3
reviews: 13
10 day holiday starting November 29th: To go or to cancel?

A 60 year old British female friend (on a kibbutz 40 years ago, but not used to independent travel) is booked with her [grown-up] family (who do not knowIsrael) for 10 days (to Jerusalem's YMCA). Arranged directly, with no tour operator or group. Hoping to see as much as possible - some day trips, perhaps by organised excursions (are these operating now, under present circumstances? Help welcomed which local tour companies still running sightseeing day trips?) General advice seems to tell tourists to be wary of public transport - Are taxis and cheruts working normally?

Please help if you can with updated news from Israel - how is today's situation for tourists? and the atmosphere? They are concerned if Israelis generally may be so stressed that November may not be good timing to visit? Are most men back home, or still elsewhere/ on military standby? Does this affect businesses running normally e.g. less/ no? tourist services (such as day trips to Tiberias, Haifa etc? Are taxis etc. operating as usual?

Should they postpone till next year, or just take a positive attitude and go anyhow? They so want to go, (and realise how much the local economy can suffer from less tourists) but are extremely apprehensive.

To get from Tel Aviv airport to their Jerusalem accommodation, is a taxi the best suggestion? or a cherut? all comments about this imminent trip gratefully received

They are almost at the time limit to cancel without losing their entire payment, so fast responses would be hugely appreciated. All advice large or small welcomed,

A very big thank you in anticipation of some responses!

NYC/Israel
Destination Expert
for Israel
posts: 25,664
reviews: 18
1. Re: 10 day holiday starting November 29th: To go or to cancel?

Jackqueline--Welcome to the Israel forum. The short answer is DO NOT cancel! Now, I'll try to address your concerns. ( most of which are based on inaccurate information)

A. There is no situation at this moment. Anything that was operating BEFORE , has operated continuously and is still operating.

B. Buses, Taxis and Sheruts are all working normally. I will be in Israel in two weeks and have no intention of staying off of buses. I am curious--would you ride the Tube in London?

C. The situation for tourists and the atmosphere is the same as it always is. Israelis handle stress very well. You will not even know, as a tourist that there had been problems. ( and I have been in Israel during the Last Gaza "war' and the Second Lebanon War.

D. 16,000 people were called up. In a country of over 6 milliion, that is not a lot of people. Israel is a small country. You can travel from one end to the other in less than a day. Anyone who was called up has been sent home.

E. As I said in my first sentence, just go. It will take you 30 minutes at the most to realize how misplaced your fears were.

F. Transport to Jerusalem from the airport --answer is either taxi or sherut. HOw many people are you?

Finally, we all here would be more than happy to help you organize your trip. Please come back and share what you have organized already and what has gaps. Where are you planning on going?

Just realized--since I am not in Israel at the moment you may wonder at how I know what is going on--I have been on the phone and emailing continuously friends and family. It is now almost 3AM in Israel. In a few hours the Israelis who are living in Israel, will be up and online. They will say exactly what I said.

Edited: 7:56 pm, November 24, 2012
Ottawa, Canada
Destination Expert
for Jerusalem, Galilee, Tel Aviv
posts: 4,709
reviews: 93
2. Re: 10 day holiday starting November 29th: To go or to cancel?

Absolutely, go on your vacation. I have serveral friends in Israel now both on group tours and on independent travel. I have been following their travels daily through personal blogs and facebook updates. All is fine and they are having a wonderful experience. Israel is remarkably resilient. I travel to Israel frequently, having just returned from a second trip in 3 months and will be going back in the spring. I have been in contact with my friends who live in Israel over the past weeks and I have no hesitation in saying that you (or your friend) should definitely go.

Staying in Jerusalem the whole time is not the best way to see the country. If you can, spend a few days in the Galilee so you can see the north and not have to travel back and forth. Public transit is still okay. One incident does not negate the use of all public transit in the country. It is efficient and inexpensive.

Edited: 8:16 pm, November 24, 2012
Jerusalem, Israel
posts: 676
reviews: 14
3. Re: 10 day holiday starting November 29th: To go or to cancel?

You must definitely visit! There are free walking tours of Jerusalem's Old City with Sandeman's from Jaffa Gate and day trips to the Dead Sea and Galilee with bus tours. The YMCA can help you with that. If you are 4 or more persons, you should definitely consider a private guide for quality and cost-effectiveness. Let us know how you time was.

Israel
Destination Expert
for Israel
posts: 10,283
reviews: 32
4. Re: 10 day holiday starting November 29th: To go or to cancel?

Everything is back to normal, not that tourist services were impacted in any case.

All tour operators offering day tours were working normally straight through.

There is no reason to avoid buses, taxis, sherut, etc.

I would strongly recommend you reconsider using Jerusalem as your only base. It is very difficult and a huge waste of time to commute back and forth from Jerusalem if you want to visit the Galilee. You should spend a few days in the north.

Best way to get from the airport to Jerusalem is the sherut.

Israel
Destination Expert
for Israel
posts: 10,261
reviews: 101
5. Re: 10 day holiday starting November 29th: To go or to cancel?

No reason to cancel. While part of the country was a bit hot for 8 days, this ended last week and now life is back to normal. Great time to visit, less tourists now because off season. The weather is similar to England, not cold but a bit rainy. Come an enjoy, you will be happy you did.

Chana

Israel

israel
Destination Expert
for Tel Aviv, Galilee, Israel
posts: 12,913
reviews: 37
6. Re: 10 day holiday starting November 29th: To go or to cancel?

All is back to normal although is was not "nomral" even during the fighting days. I live on the street where the bus expoded and I use buses all the time. I have seen a purse snatched form a lady in London, something I have never seen in Tel Aviv. Israel is as lively as ever. And the weather is glorious, sunny.

Bristol, United...
posts: 3
reviews: 13
7. Re: 10 day holiday starting November 29th: To go or to cancel?

Thank you all VERY VERY MUCH. In view of your enthusiastic and welcoming advice my friends have decided to go ahead.

I will pass them all your comments, so that, as many of you kindly offered, they might post any queries or reply to you online.

Now they really look forward to the trip

THANKS TO YOU -

(THIS WAS MY FIRST POSTING, - WHAT A WONDERFUL WAY TO COMMUNICATE - Thanks, TripAdvisor!)

Tel Aviv, Israel
posts: 91
reviews: 16
8. Re: 10 day holiday starting November 29th: To go or to cancel?

The weather is partly cloudy with scattered showers here in Tel Aviv today. Temperatures are ideal for walking and exploring.

Newcastle
posts: 6
reviews: 9
9. Re: 10 day holiday starting November 29th: To go or to cancel?

We have just returned (10/11 - 19/11) from Israel and I can ascertain you that never did we felt threatened at any stage. We felt more safe than back home in SA. We travelled by car from Eilat to the very North (Majdal Shams on the Syrian border) Tiberius, Jerusalem, Negev Desert via route 90,13 and route 40. A fare lot of military personal were visible all over - rest assure you are as safe as you could be with the IDF near you. They are excellent. It is safe to travel and very pleasant weather at the moment.

There are all over tour guides willing to take you anywhere, but make sure you agree on the remuneration before time. All sites are serviced by taxi,s again ask price (Shekels) before the time. A bus (No 75) leaves from Damascus Gate to Mt Olives every hour at 5 shekels per person. You will miss a lot if you just stay in Jerusalem. There are so many beautiful places up North (Sea of Galilee) . By all means go now.

Loveland, Colorado
posts: 13
10. Re: 10 day holiday starting November 29th: To go or to cancel?

My husband and I are going to Jerusalem December 7, 2012, on a Holy Land Cruise. We would love to see as much as possible during our one day there. We are not taking a "canned" shore excursion with the ship, for good reasons. What would you suggest for us to get from the ship in Ashdod, to Jerusalem, and then on to a tour? We are both in good physical condition and we don't mind walking. What is the best plan for us?