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Money Exchange in Israel

Boston
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Money Exchange in Israel

Arriving in Israel on Shabbat, Sat. around 3 PM. Do you recommend bringing Israeli currency with me for initial expenses, sherut, etc?

Will ATM at airport have currency on Shabbat?

Another question:

Can one get US dollars at an ATM in Israel? Or at a bank? I am trying to avoid Visa fees for credit card use by paying cash as much as possible. Hotel will accept US dollars, and thus I save the VAT fee.

Thanks.

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Israel
Israel
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1. Re: Money Exchange in Israel

There is more than a ATM at the airport. I should think it would have money, but if you can find a small amount in the US for a reasonable exchange rate, take it. If you take USD from an ATM you still pay some kind of fee, I think.

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2. Re: Money Exchange in Israel

Oh sorry - some ATMs - not all - let you withdraw USD.

Gaithersburg...
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3. Re: Money Exchange in Israel

ATMs in Israel work on Shabbat. I think some of the "religious" banks like Bank Mizrachi shut theirs down but most work and a large percentage of Israelis have no problem using them.

It might be possible to get large amounts of US currency in Israel but there would be fees involved at any rate, not to mention the necessity to deal with an Israeli bank, their interminable lines and ever-so-pleasant clerks. If it were me I would suck it up and pay the credit card fees and that is what I plan to do. But if you are absolutely insistent on paying cash, I would advise you to bring it with you. For me, the thought of having to worry about where and whether I will get cash, running from ATM to ATM and bank to bank, is not worth it. While many places in Israel accept dollars and you're exempt from VAT on hotels if you pay in dollars, it's not a dollar economy, it's a shekel economy, and it's not unreasonable for banks to treat the dollar as a foreign currency.

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4. Re: Money Exchange in Israel

Sure ATMs work on Shabbat - but since banks close at twelve on Friday sometimes they empty before the bank reopens. In town it happens - I should think it happens at the airport as well, but as I said there are quite a few ATMs there.

Arizona
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5. Re: Money Exchange in Israel

For people a month or two ahead of their trip -- I suggest you check out what fees your bank and credit cards charge for foreign transactions and do a little shopping around -- I discovered my credit union charged only 1%, so I took out a Visa there, and used that instead of my normal bank cards; then my friend found out her newish Capital One card charged NO fee -- I still find that hard to believe. Maybe they are as good as the advertising says!

I always carry a few hundred extra in dollars to change in a pinch, but a couple percent points may be a reasonable fee for not having to worry about carrying a lot of cash or seeking out US ATMs. The exception to all this, is that most guides seem to like to be paid in dollars.

Consider also that even 3% fee -- which is more usual -- is a lot less than 15% VAT.

6. Re: Money Exchange in Israel

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