Adventure Trips Part 2: Extreme Adventures

Adventure Trips Part 2: Extreme Adventures

 

 

Etgar Bahar Ropes Course

The Etgar Bahar Ropes Course, located in the Galilee in a beautiful pine forest in Kibbutz Sasa, is a complex ropes course certain to give you and your family a thrilling adventure. The park is divided into many different trails to accommodate various ages and levels. The children’s trail is fit for younger children between 7 and 12 years of age. It is a mini rope park in which kids can climb, jump, and swing with the accompaniment of an adult. Next up is the medium trail, a newly developed trail for children between 6 and 9 years old. The trail is 1.9 meters high, is made of 10 different bridges, and is the perfect fit for children who are new to the world of rope parks and for parents who are looking for a safe yet exciting experience for their young kids. Finally, the high trail is the main attraction in the park, which is suitable for anyone over the age of 9 and over the height of 1.35 meters. This rail includes 16 bridges of different levels, ranging from 3 to 10 meters high. In addition to the ropes courses, the park also contains a zip line and climbing walls and ladders, suitable for all ages.
For more information: https://www.etgarbahar.com/copy-of
Contact number: 050-3069922

Rafting and Kayaking at Kfar Blum

A popular activity in Israel, rafting is an activity suitable for all ages and especially for large groups. One of the most highly recommended rafting places in Israel, Kfar Blum Rafting is located in the Galilee on the Jordan River, and provides a decent water flow even during the
hottest days of summer – one of the best times to go rafting. The complete experience is approximately an hour and fifteen minutes, and includes the options of a raft shared by up to six people or a kayak shared by two people. The activity is permissible for ages five and up for safety reasons, making this experience most suitable for families with older children. The price is 97 NIS per person, though special offers can be given upon personal contact (kayaks@kbm.org.il). There is also an option to zip line into the water, for an added price of only 35 NIS per person and an added excitement that is nearly unmatchable. The site offers a number of different adventures, including the options of speed kayaking, a 2.5 hour experience that allows you to cruise through the scenic and majestic beauty of the Galilee, and a top-rope adventure park, which, similar to the Etgar Bahar Ropes Course, provides a high ropes-course adventure, a Climbing Wall, archery, and a 300 feet long-zip line directly into the Jordan River. The price for the adventure park is 97 NIS per person, but is also subject to special prices.
For more information: https://www.kayaks.co.il/english/
Contact number: 073-7763330

Jeep Riding- Gush Etzion

Jeep riding is another exciting adventure for when you’re looking to take yourself or your family on a thrilling ride – literally. One great place to go jeep riding is in Gush Etzion, where the views are mesmerizing and the terrain is perfectly rocky. Lior Jeep Tours is a stellar jeep company
that provides exciting experiences for tourists and Israeli residents alike. There is a wide range of jeep tours available, ranging from 2 hours to 4 hours to 8 hours to several days. Each jeep seats eight people, making it appropriate for even very large families. The jeep tours take you along beautiful sites in the Gush Etzion and beyond, including Gush Etzion springs, battle sites, the Jerusalem Hills, the Judean plain, and Burma Road. Beyond being in the Gush Etzion, you can choose between a number of different routes through the Judean desert, ranging from ones that tour the Negev to ones where you can stop to take in the beautiful views of the Dead Sea, and so on.
More information: https://etziontour.org.il/en/item/lior-jeep-tours/
Contact number: 054-8006920

Another great company for Jeep and ATV tours in Gush Etzion is Re-Gush ATVs and Jeep Tours. Tours are guided towards ages 3 and up, and you can choose between one hour, one and a half hour, and two hour tour options, including stops for explanations and observations.
Tours depart from Alon Shvut and take visitors through streams and springs along beautiful and exciting paths, providing for the most unique and breathtaking observation points in the Gush Etzion and Jerusalem area.
More information: http://regush.co.il/home-1.html
Contact number: 050-4651888

Snir Water Hike

The Nahal Snir Water Hike, located in the Golan Heights, is an exciting and beautiful experience for all those that are interest in nature and in hiking. The Snir Stream, also known as Hatsbani, is the longest of the Jordan River tributaries. It flows year round, making it particularly unique in Israel, through a beautiful riverside forest. The reserve has walks of different lengths, ranging from 30 minutes for families with older grandparents or younger children, to a couple of hours, for families looking for a more athletic experience. The short walks are suitable for strollers and wheelchairs, making for a particularly family-friendly activity. Along the hike, you walk through rushing water, waterfalls, wading pools, and climb over stones and tree roots. This is way more than an average hike. At certain parts of the walk, water can reach your knees, and there are even handholds to make sure that one doesn’t fall. In addition to wondrous water sites, there is also a picnic area, a bird hide, and a lookout point, but the main attractions are still the flowing river and the waterfalls.
More information: https://www.parks.org.il/en/reserve-park/snir-stream-nature-reserve/
Contact number: 04-6950064

Day Trips – Adventures

Day Trips – Adventures

 

We’ve got adventure day trips in Israel, ranging from chocolate factories to zoos to ceramics shops and more. Adventure day trips are most suitable for families, providing you with exciting experiences to share with the whole clan, but can of course be enjoyed solo or as a couple as well. Below we provide you with some of the most
popular and enjoyable adventures around Israel, so that no day is a dull day when you’re in the mood to get out of the house and take on something new.

Biblical Zoo
The Biblical Zoo, formally The Tisch Family Zoological Gardens, is one of Jerusalem’s most popular and marvelous attractions. The zoo is a great activity for children and families of all ages, and the rarity of zoos in Israel makes the Biblical Zoo all the more special. Its grounds are vast, its selection of animals wide, and it hosts exciting events, such as juggling and various workshops, during school vacations throughout the year. The entrance fee for a regular day pass is 46NIS for children aged 3-18, 59NIS for adults, or 37/47NIS for children/adults in a group. Annual membership is also available for the wildlife enthusiasts, at 300NIS for an adult, 220NIS for children, police, soldiers, and senior citizens, and 230NIS for students (as well as a number of more packages for couples, couples with children, etc.) The zoo is located in Malcha, at Derech Aharon Shulov 1, and easily accessible via Waze or google maps. Simply input the address and it will bring you to a parking lot, from where you can go on to purchase tickets and begin your adventure.
More information: https://www.jerusalemzoo.org/en/biblical-zoo
To purchase tickets online: https://tickets.jerusalemzoo.org/
Contact number: 02-6750111

Israel Aquarium
The Gottesman Family Israel Aquarium, located right next door to the Biblical Zoo on Derech Aharon Shulov, is the first aquarium in Israel, already making it a unique and rare experience to have in Israel. The aquarium is a great activity for all ages, the young and the old alike. There is air conditioning and comfortable walking surfaces, seats in every gallery, and gorgeous fish, plants, and other sea life, providing not only an exciting trip but a physically pleasant getaway for the elderly and for mothers with infants. The aquarium is also located indoors, making it an apt substitute for the zoo on rainy days.
More information: https://www.israel-aquarium.org.il/english
To purchase tickets: https://tickets.jerusalemzoo.org/aquarium/
Contact number: 073-3399000

Eretz Breishit (Genesis Land)
Genesis Land, situated in the Judean desert, on the way to the Dead Sea, is where the Patriarchs lived, making it exciting already. At Genesis Land, visitors get to take part in a hands-on simulation that aims to replicate what life was like in biblical times. When visitors arrive at Genesis Land, they are greeted by Eliezer, Avraham’s servant, are dressed in a turban and a tunic, and are accompanied by a herd of camels that lead them down to Avraham’s tent. Once in the tent, visitors hear Avraham’s story and drink and eat in his tent. A variety of activities are available for visitors in the tent. Some activities include fresh pita baking, which is available for families with children of all ages; shepherding, available for families with children over the age of 10; pottery making, available for children of all ages; mosaics, available for children of all ages; and ancient Hebrew writing, available for families with children over 8 years old. A highlight of
the visit for many visitors is camel riding, which is available for all visitors over the age of 4 and is a highly recommended part of the experience. It is also possible to camp with a group at Genesis Land; for more information on camping, see http://www.genesisland.co.il/desert-
camping–in-Israel.
Address: Yishuv Alon 90618
More information: http://www.genesisland.co.il/he
Contact number: 02-9974477

Mini Israel
Mini Israel, located in Latrun in the Ayalon Valley, is a wonderful attraction for families of all ages. This exciting attraction is exactly what it sounds like — a mini Israel. It contains over 385 beautifully and carefully crafted replica models of Israel’s most important archaeological,
historical, religious, and other sites, allowing visitors to experience the entire country in just one day! There is a small explanation for every site, providing visitors with the ability to learn more about Israel while simultaneously taking in the magnificent creation. The park is surrounded by rich greenery, providing a beautiful context in which one can take in the sites.
Address: Latrun Junction, Kibbutz Nachshon
More information: https://www.minisrael.co.il/english-info-mini-israel/
To purchase tickets: https://www.megalean.co.il/org/home_page.aspx?page=site_product_preorder,164117
Contact number: 1700-559-559

Ceramics – Kad VaChomer
Kad VaChomer, a ceramics workshop located in Jerusalem, is a fun activity for families with
children, for couples, or even for singles. It is a paint-your-own ceramic studio located in the
garden of the Beit Yehudit Community Center on Emek Refaim, in the German Colony. One
selects a piece to paint from the dozens of sculptures that are available, including mugs and
bowels alongside religious items like mezuzot and hamsas, and paints the items in whatever
colors and styles one wants. The pieces are ready to be picked up 10 days from the painting
date.
Address: Emek Refaim 12
Phone number: 02-545-8113

De Karina Chocolate Factory
A chocolate factory is a delicious and enjoyable experience for people of all ages, but especially
for families with children. De Karina is a family-owned chocolatier with delicious and gourmet
chocolate. The chocolate-making experience begins with a tour which includes a movie about the making of chocolate and the history of the factory. There is a quick demonstration of
chocolate tempering, followed by the opportunity to make a variety of flavors of chocolates
(white, milk, dark) in a variety of different molds, with even a variety of different mix-ins (nuts,
candy, etc.). There is also an option for chocolate-tasting of chocolate made in-house, which is
difficult to pass up at this delicious chocolate factory.
Address: Kibbutz Ein Zivan, 1242600
Phone number: 04-699-3622

Thank you lovelove Israel Facebook group for your contributions to the article.

Banks in Israel

Banks in Israel

Banks and banking in Israel may be difficult to understand for international travelers and new olim. As Israel is a rather bureaucratic country, its banking system is similarly very bureaucratic and complicated. Choosing a bank can be difficult if one does not understand the differences between them. This article provides a guide to understanding Israel’s different banks, and a brief outline of important items to note about banking in Israel in general.

What are the important things to note before choosing a bank? 

The importance of location

In Israel, unlike in the United States, your bank account is associated with a specific branch, your snif, with which you sign up when you register for your bank account. To complete any major transactions or make changes to your account, you must go to your specific branch. Therefore, it is important to keep this in mind when choosing a bank and when choosing which branch to sign up with. Though it is possible to change your branch later, doing so is a process in and of itself and it is easiest to simply select your preferred location from the start. Location may therefore play a role in choosing a bank, as some banks have snifim closer to your home. Additionally, some banks are much more widespread and have a greater amount of branches throughout the country, thereby making them more easily accessible. If this is a factor, then you should go with a more major bank, some of those being Bank Leumi and Bank Hapoalim.

Language

Some banks are better and some are worse at being accessible for English speakers. While certain banks may have English phone apps available, others do not. Similarly so with the amount of English-speaking bankers in a given bank. Larger banks tend to have more English-speaking staff than smaller, more local ones.

Citizenship

Different banks differ in their services for non-citizens. This varies by bank, so it’s important to research a specific bank’s services, or lack thereof, for temporary residents, residents with visas, etc.

Understanding fees

Different banks have different fees for transactions, human services, checkbooks, etc. The monthly fee refers to the minimum fee that the bank charges per month. It includes the transaction fee. In Israel, you are charged for every transaction from your account, including check, cash withdrawal, etc. This is the transaction fee. The teller fee is the fee that you are charged when you make a transaction via the teller, rather than through a bank machine. Banks also charge fees for depositing foreign currencies, making transfers, wiring money, maintenance of bank account, and checks, but these fees tend to vary less and are less significant in choosing a bank.

International transactions

Banks also differ in their offerings for international transactions. Some banks charge much larger fees for international payments and transfers between bank accounts. Some banks also make it easier to directly deposit/transfer money from an international bank account into your Israeli bank account, and some don’t accommodate this at all.

Banking hours

Banks are open and accessible at much weirder and more inconvenient hours than those banks in America. Most banks are open during daytime hours, and have one day a week when they are open during evening hours. If this is an important fact, you should check to see when your bank snif is open in the evenings, and choose accordingly.

 

What are the main banks to choose from in Israel? 

Bank Hapoalim

Transaction fee: 1.35 NIS
Teller fee: 6.5 NIS

Monthly fee: 13 NIS

Bank Hapoalim is the largest Israeli bank and as such, is the most convenient in terms of branch and ATM offerings. It has over 600 ATMs and 250 bank branches. While its popularity means that there is a decent amount of customer service in English, there is no English app available, nor is there an English website. Hapoalim is known for ease and convenience, and it is relatively no-hassle to open an account. Bank Hapoalim offers reasonable discounts and deals to students, making it an ideal option for that population.

Central/main locations: 

Ramot Mall – Golda Meir 801

King George – 16 King George

Ramat Eshkol – 13 Paran St.

Talpiot – 101 Derech Hevron (in Tzomet Habankim)

Main phone number: +972 3-6532407

Bank Leumi

Transaction fee: 1.65 NIS
Teller fee: 5.5 NIS

Monthly fee: 11 NIS

Bank Leumi is the 3rd cheapest bank in the country. It is the second-largest bank in the country, with over 400 ATMs and 200 bank branches. Leumi is typically well accessible through phone/online chat, and has relatively decent customer service for Israel. There tend to be English-speaking staff at almost every branch, and there is an English phone app available as well.

Central/main locations: 

Ramat Eshkol – 15 Paran St.

Talpiot – Derech Hevron 101 (in Tzomet Habankim)

Ramot – Golda Meir 1 (Ramot Mall)

King George – King George 22

Emek Refaim – Emek Refaim 4

Main phone number: +972 3-9545522

 

Discount Bank

Transaction fee: 2 NIS
Teller fee: 5.9 NIS

Monthly fee: 11.8 NIS

Discount Bank is Israel’s third largest bank. It is the only bank that will accept customers that only have a passport and not a Teudat Zehut (Israeli identification card, similar to one’s Social Security number in America). Discount Bank also has many English-friendly services, as well as an English website, but does not have an English app. Discount is known for having special account offers and discounts for young people, soldiers, and other special groups, and offers deal for new joiners.

Central/main locations: 

Jerusalem center – Yafo 103

Ramat Eshkol – 9 Paran St

Talpiot – HaUman 17

Main phone number: +972-35146355

 

Bank Mizrahi Tefahot

Transaction fee: 1.76 NIS
Teller fee: 6.8 NIS

Monthly fee: 13.6 NIS

Bank Mizrahi Tefahot is known for its convenient customer service both online/by phone and in person. It is the best bank in terms of mortgage lending, which is important to note if you are considering buying property in Israel.

 

First International

Transaction fee: 2.5 NIS
Teller fee: 6.5 NIS

Monthly fee: 13 NIS

 

First International (FIBI) Bank specializes in business accounts and premium accounts for high-net-worth customers. It is known for its specialty in private banking options. FIBI allows you to transfer foreign currency to accounts in Israel and around the world easily and quickly, making it ideal for customers engaging in more international/foreign transactions. There are private, business, and platinum plans available.

 

Please Note: 

These are not all of the banks available in Israel. Rather, they are the the biggest and most central ones, making them the most accessible to olim and internationals both in terms of English capabilities and in terms of international capabilities. These are also mostly banks that allow non-citizens to open accounts, whereas smaller banks do not always offer this option. With further questions on banks not listed, please reach out to the author. 

 

Sources:

https://shomershekalim.com/2010/08/05/choosing-an-israeli-bank/

https://rifkalebowitz.com/israel-finance-and-banking-guide/choosing-an-israeli-bank/#:~:text=Find%20a%20Banker%20%E2%80%93%20The%20bank,in%20with%20out%20your%20ID.

https://transferwise.com/us/blog/opening-a-bank-account-in-israel

https://www.justlanded.com/english/Israel/Israel-Guide/Money/Banking

https://anglo-list.com/general-3/bank-documents/opening-a-bank-account-in-israel

Guide to Supermarket Shopping in Israel

Guide to Supermarket Shopping in Israel

 

 

When you first arrive in Israel, the supermarket scene can be one of the most intimidating scenes of all. From understanding foreign aisle labels to translating package ingredients word for word, to dealing with staff that was far from the level of customer service in America, simple grocery shopping proves to be not so simple at all. But what you, and many fellow Americans in Israel, might find most overwhelming is picking apart one supermarket for the next. What makes them different? Where is Whole Foods, and where is ShopRite? How could you know which supermarket fits your needs – health, cost, efficiency, and product quality? In this article, we lay out a list of the most common supermarkets found in Israel, and how to decide which shopping experience is most apt for you.

Rami Levy

Rami Levy is Israel’s third-largest food retail chain but tends to be the most popular and accessible one. Rami Levy has two different types of stores – regular Rami Levy and Rami Levy Mehadrin. Rami Levy is significantly cheaper than competing stores and it has more branches than most other supermarkets. It is known for its good deals and for its variety of products. Rami Levy mostly carries Israeli products, meaning that it is not the place to find American or other imported products. Rami Levy has a proper meat and cheese counter, which allows customers to choose from fresh meat and cheese products rather than just packaged ones. It tends to be more crowded and hectic than some other supermarkets, but many customers say that prices compensate for its lack of customer service. Rami Levy branches can be found in virtually all cities in Israel, making it one of the most easily accessible supermarkets. Rami Levy Mehadrin is similar to Rami Levy in all respects, but carries exclusively Mehadrin products, therefore catering to a more religious crowd. Rami Levy Mehadrin does not contain a self-checkout, is often packed, and it is frequently even difficult to find a shopping cart, therefore making it a less convenient shopping experience.

Osher Ad

Osher Ad is currently Israel’s fourth-largest food retail chain. It is what many refer to as Israel’s “Costco.” It’s the closest you can get. It carries both Israeli and American products and carries items in bulk. It contains not only groceries but also household products (i.e. garbage bags, toilet paper, cleaning supplies, etc.) in bulk, similar to Costco. Items such as dairy and cold cuts and generally most products can be found significantly cheaper than in other supermarkets, including Rami Levy. Osher Ad also carries fresh fish. Most products are certified Mehadrin. Due to its items in bulk, Osher Ad is a particularly apt supermarket for large families. Its selection of items isn’t as diverse as other supermarkets, but many find that its large quantity of products makes up for the lack of diversity. Osher Ad, unlike many supermarkets, does not have a delivery option.

Shufersal (Supersol)

Shufersal is the largest food supermarket chain in Israel, with a current total of 248 stores throughout Israel. It is widely considered to have a better quality of produce than others. It has a large health-food section, with a great variety of products for food special dietary needs, such as gluten-free, vegan, and dairy-free. Shufersal also has fresh cheese, meat, and often, fish, counters. There are many sales and coupons available in Shufersal, and it has good online delivery and even decent customer service. Shufersal is more expensive than Rami Levy and Osher Ad but provides a more organized shopping experience than the former two (good online shopping system, organized and clean aisles, club card, etc.). Shufersal also has a greater number of imported products than most other supermarket chains. Similar to Rami Levy, Shufersal also has a more religious supermarket chain – Yesh Chesed – which is operated by Shufersal under a different name because Shufersal operates on Shabbat, whereas Yesh Chesed is closed.

Maayan 2000

Maayan 2000 is exclusive to Jerusalem. It has many branches in Jerusalem and is bigger (and cheaper) than a makolet (a neighborhood market) but is not quite a full-sized supermarket. Prices are decent, and it often has good deals and sales. It saves the trouble of schlepping to the bigger supermarkets in outlying neighborhoods. Products and service in Maayan 2000 are similar to Rami Levy – not incredibly clean but not as hectic as Osher Ad – and tends to target a more religious demographic due to its many Chareidi hechsherim. Many of the branches are spacious and have a generally pleasant aesthetic, playing calming Jewish music, for example.

Yochananoff

What sets Yochannanof apart from other supermarkets is its wide prepared foods section and its fantastic consumer experience. At competitive prices, it has full meat, cheese, and fish counters, as well as a fresh bakery. There is a limited selection of Mehadrin products, though they do exist. In terms of the shopping experience, consumers have widely shared that it is one of the most positive experiences that they have. The staff is polite and helpful, the stores themselves are spacious (some are even two stores) and well-organized, the stores are clean and there is even air conditioning (a luxury that many other supermarkets do not offer). Some consumers have described their shopping experiences at Yochananoff as so wonderful that they “feel as though they are abroad.”