8 pros and cons of visiting Israel
I never really thought of visiting Israel until I was invited there on a press trip in September 2015. That was my first visit to Israel and in the following 2 years I fell in love with it so much, I revisited it twice. But as everything has both advantages and disadvatages, I put up a list of pros and cons of visiting Israel.
The following lines are only my personal opinion so you might not agree with some…
8 pros and cons of visiting Israel
4 pros of visiting Israel
These are the things I liked, or even loved in Israel:
Hopefully you know that I am vegan. And Israel is one of the best countries when it comes to vegan meals. There’s loads of them and all are super tasty. Let’s start with hummus which can be found in most restaurants. Even if they didn’t have anything else, hummus is vegan (if not topped with boiled eggs). But usually they can offer you other veggie dishes, traditional Israeli salad, zucchini, beetroot and many others. And fresh orange or pomegranate juice are common, too. Israeli cuisine gets 10 out of 10 points from me and it’s the main reason why I’m looking forward to my next visit.
Another good thing is that many ingredients are grown right in Israel. Meals made of fresh local ingredients always taste better and have more vitamins and minerals.
TIP: read my articles about best places to eat vegetarian and vegan in Tel Aviv, my favorite places for vegan food in Jerusalem.
Israel is a small country of just 20,770 square km (half size of my home country Slovakia). However, in relatively such a tiny territory we can find many different destinations to please all travel tastes. Tel Aviv by the Mediterranean sea, Eilat by the Red sea in Eilat, then the Dead Sea lake in the East, desert landscapes in the South, very modern city of Tel Aviv vs. centuries old Jerusalem etc. As Israel is just 424 km long and 15 to 114 km wide, all these places can be reached just within a few hours by car. The diversity of the landscapes and cities makes Israel very mesmerizing!
”In Israel, every stone tells a story.”
And seriously, especially in Jerusalem, everywhere you look, you can find loads of fascinating history. I could never get bored listening to all the stories about the past, what happened and where, and possible hypothesis of why it had happened. Did you know that when I was a kid, I wanted to be an archaeologist? In Israel all my inner dreams come true. It’s very difficult to explain it using words but when in Israel, I simply feel fulfilled to know that many buildings and ruins have survived thousands of years of wind, rain, sun and people sometimes trying to destroy them.
Although the two official languages of Israel are Hebrew and Arabic, the majority of people speak great English. That’s an awesome thing for the tourists. It’s always easier to communicate with locals, to get around or even to order the meal you want when speaking English.
4 cons of visiting Israel
These are the things that I personally do not like in Israel:
I do not understand politics and if possible, I try to avoid conversations about it. But in Israel, even young people talk of politics quite a lot. The whole Israeli-Palestinian conflict seems like illogical bullshit to me. Why are even intelligent people in the 21st century killing other people who did NOTHING to them personally? I will never understand this attitude. Live and let live.
There’s a number of different religions in Israel out of which the most important ones are Jewish, Muslim, Christian and Druze. Some towns in the State of Israel are divided into neighborhoods where believers of just 1 religion live. Some villages are even almost fully of 1 religion only. Personally, I am not a religious person, I do not believe in one God, I believe in the power of Universe and energy. Don’t get me wrong. Israel would not be Israel without religion, I do understand that. I only wish there were no problems between groups of different religions. I want peace. That’s all 🙂
3. airport security
Let me be honest, airport security can be pain in the ass. Out of all the countries I’ve been to, I’ve had upsetting airport experience only in Israel. And already twice. My first time in Israel it was quite ok. The second time we had to wait at the Tel Aviv airport for an hour while they were moving me with other journalists around the security area. Although we even had papers with official invitation from the Israeli Ministry of Tourism inviting on a press trip to write about Eilat, they took our passports away, were giving us silly questions and didn’t want to let us take the Eilat flight.
My third time leaving Israel after TBEX Conference in Jerusalem in the end of March 2017 was the worst. I was interrogated for 90 minutes by a security guy who was sweating like crazy when giving me the most personal and work questions. I almost didn’t make it on time for my flight to Prague. That was like the worst experience ever.
Some friends I know had a very bad experience, were interrogated for hours and after that decided NOT to revisit Israel any more. Just because the airport interrogation is NOT a pleasant moment. This ”little” thing can change travelers’ mind and next time will choose a different country to visit wher they won’t be treated as terrorists.
As a traveler, I personally did feel very safe all the three times I visited Israel so far. But seeing loads of guns and listening to the news might scare some people. When you see there’s often some shooting going on, it doesn’t make you feel safe, right? I really hope this will improve in the near future. Safety should not be an issue when visiting any country.
Yet, Israel somehow holds a special place in my heart.
Overall, the advantages of visiting Israel are more important to me than the cons of it. Israel IS one of my favorite countries in the world mostly thanks to food, history and diverstity of its landscapes.
Have you been to Israel? What do you think about it? What other pros and cons of visiting Israel would you add? Share in the comments below.