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Travel by rental car to Masada, Qumran and Jericho

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Phoenix, Arizona
posts: 6
reviews: 10
Travel by rental car to Masada, Qumran and Jericho

I will be staying in Jerusalem in late April and would like to tour Masada, Qumran and Jericho in the course of one day. Is this possible? Desirable? Can I make the trip by rental car? If not, what is my best option for transport? Thanks.

Jerusalem, Israel
Destination Expert
for Israel
posts: 1,646
reviews: 1
1. Re: Travel by rental car to Masada, Qumran and Jericho

You can make the trip with the exception of Jericho. Jericho is a city in the Palestinian Authority (PA). Most rental agencies in Israel do not allow to drive their cars into the PA areas due to insurance reasons.

You have 2 options for Jericho:

1) Independent travel - go by public transportation to Jericho and travel solo.

2) Guided tour - take a half-a-day guided tour from Jerusalem.

Additionally, technically there are a few small-private agencies that do have the proper insurance, but I'm not sure this is the best option. Had you been touring PA sites all day - that would have been a good option, but you're not.

Phoenix, Arizona
posts: 6
reviews: 10
2. Re: Travel by rental car to Masada, Qumran and Jericho

Thank you! So Qumran is not in Palestinian Authorty jurisdiction? How do I find out more about where I can and can't go?

Israel
Destination Expert
for Israel
posts: 7,664
3. Re: Travel by rental car to Masada, Qumran and Jericho

Qumran is under full Israeli control and there is no problem in taking an Israeli rental car there.

Generally speaking, the places under Palestinian Authority control are cities: Jericho, Bethlehem, Ramallah, Nablus etc.

The road from Jerusalem to the Dead Sea, and the whole of Road No. 90 (the north-south road through the Jordan Valley and continuing past the Dead Sea and all the way to Eilat) are under full Israeli control.

Jerusalem, Israel
Destination Expert
for Israel
posts: 1,646
reviews: 1
4. Re: Travel by rental car to Masada, Qumran and Jericho

No, Qumran is in Israeli authority. It's in fact a national park.

You can use this map: http://www.abmaps.com/

The PA areas are shown in light-brown. Check the "National Parks" on the left frame (you should scroll it a bit) to display national parks (or other sites, at your choice). You can use the search box to "hop" to sites. Search "Kumran" or "Jericho" or "Metsada" (Masada) to "hop" to those sites.

Tel Aviv, Israel
posts: 435
reviews: 43
5. Re: Travel by rental car to Masada, Qumran and Jericho

You can travel from Jerusalem (A) by rented car to Masada (B) and Qumran (C), then park your car just outside Jericho and take a 5 minute ride into town with a local taxi.

A good place to leave the car would be at the gas station in Kalya Junction (D). Amos- I got it right this time...

http://goo.gl/maps/vLbhK

Troy, MI
posts: 1
6. Re: Travel by rental car to Masada, Qumran and Jericho

We rented a car from Hertz in Tel Aviv and traveled into Jericho just fine. Hertz did tell us that the car is not insured in the PA, but they never said don't go there. We have done it before on previous trips, and we've never felt unsafe. Since we are Americans I've never been scared or anything in the West Bank, but because the cars have Israeli license plates, that made me a little on-edge. Nevertheless, after two previous trips here with taking rental cars into the West Bank, we've never had a problem. In fact one trip was for a week and we spent the entire time in the West Bank with an Israeli rental car. We do, however, typically avoid driving at night on lonely roads because you never know if anyone will be blocking the road.

We drove to Jericho from Galillee - there are two exits off the 90 for Jericho. We passed the first one (the northern one of the two) and took the second one - the one near the King Hussein Bridge border crossing to Jordan. It was after sunset so it was dark. We had a reservation at the Hotel InterContinental in Jericho. When we turned off the 90 toward Jericho (the sign at this road actually says Yeriho), we came to a closed gate - basically a dead-end. So we drove back to 90, went north about 7km back to the other exit to Jericho (this sign says Jericho).

As you turn off the 90, there is a large red sign warning you not to go into this area because it is "dangerous to your life" and that it is against the law for Israelis to enter this area. We just kept driving - and we had to stop a couple times to ask for directions. No problems, we made it safely to the InterContinental Jericho. It was a 10 minute drive from route 90. The InterContinental is a first-class hotel - cost about $120/night for 2 people. It's as western as it gets in this area. Along with the InterContinental Jacir Palace in Bethlehem, this is probably the nicest hotel I've seen in the West Bank. Very safe secure parking lot, 3 swimming pools, a hot tub, etc.

Today we are checking out of the hotel and going to Masada and the Dead Sea. Tonight we're staying in Bethlehem - again with our Israeli rental car. We've never had problems. Now, I guess if you get into a wreck or something then maybe you'll have problems, but that's never happened to us (so far).

London, United...
posts: 1,343
reviews: 5
7. Re: Travel by rental car to Masada, Qumran and Jericho

It isn't necessarily a good idea to post publicly about one's illegal activities. No doubt shortly some harsher words will be addressed to you, but as you are an adult and clearly aware of what you are doing, I don't see this as the place to berate you.

Israel
Destination Expert
for Israel
posts: 7,664
8. Re: Travel by rental car to Masada, Qumran and Jericho

From the posting guidelines, in Help Center, under "family friendly":

<<•We will remove reviews and posts that promote or seek advice on engaging in illegal activities.>>

Israeli vehicles are forbidden to enter the Palestinian Authority areas. You weren't caught. In the same way, it is forbidden (for example) to sell alcohol to minors. People do it and sometimes don't get caught. That doesn't make it right.

Edited: 4:53 am, October 06, 2013
Jerusalem, Israel
posts: 318
reviews: 8
9. Re: Travel by rental car to Masada, Qumran and Jericho

Is it illegal? Not sure. Israelis are forbidden by law from entering Areas 'A', but cars? I doubt it. If someone wants to risk losing a car and/or paying for damages incurred, that's their business. Your contract with the rental company most likely says that you are not allowed to take the car into Areas 'A', but that doesn't necessarily make it 'illegal' - only a violation of your rental contract. I'm not a lawyer, so I can't say for sure.

London, United...
posts: 1,343
reviews: 5
10. Re: Travel by rental car to Masada, Qumran and Jericho

If the insurance does not cover travel in area C, then driving the vehicle without valid insurance is a breach of the law, apart from of the rental contract.