Your flight is booked, accommodations are reserved — the reality that you’ll soon be waking up in Israel starts to sink in. You begin to question all that may be foreign to you in this new environment. Below, we’ve addressed some of the top concerns you may have when traveling to Israel.
1. Is Israel safe?
From a physician’s point of view, Israel is extremely safe: High healthcare standards, minimal health risks, and one of the world’s healthiest diets.
2. I don’t speak Hebrew or Arabic. Will I have trouble communicating?
Though it is not an official language, English is widely spoken throughout Israel. This is not to say that a language barrier will not exist. In the case that you require medical care, you may have trouble clearly communicating your issue in a hospital Emergency Room.
At Tel Aviv Doctor, we are a staff of native English speakers who treat most medical illnesses with high-quality care in a language you can understand. For patients speaking Chinese, Indian, Russian, Japanese or any other language we have a translation service available. Don’t hesitate to get in touch.
3. What is the water quality in Israel?
Water and food safety are a top concern when traveling abroad, terms such as ‘Montezuma’s revenge’ exist for a reason. Traveler’s diarrhoea, among other infections, can surely upset anyone’s time overseas.
Throughout Israel you can safely consume drinking water without worry. While safe to drink, it might not taste like it does at home and if your preference is to drink bottled water, it is widely accessible.
Planning to go for a swim? While the beaches along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea are a favourite for many, also bodies of water like the Sea of Galilee, the Dead Sea, or your hotel pool (if its well-maintained) are generally all clean enough and safe for swimming.
4. Will my dietary restriction be an issue?
Whether your diet be kosher, vegan or vegetarian—you will find Israel to be a culinary paradise for your dietary needs (find more on this topic in our blogpost about Israel traveller’s dietary needs).
5. Should I be concerned about the hot climate or air quality?
The summer months in Israel are not only some of the most beautiful here, but also the hottest. Those long, clear-sky days full of sunshine can bring health risks such as sunburn, dehydration, heat exhaustion, and even heat stroke if you don’t take precautions. Follow our heat health tips about how to cope with Israeli summer heat and you’ll need not worry about your fun in the sun. If you prefer milder temperatures, the window between late October and April is a great time to enjoy Israel’s cooler climate.
As with any desert region, sandstorms are inevitable. When the winds pick up, air pollution in Israel can rise significantly. It is important that anyone with lung or heart conditions, monitor an air quality forecast as a precaution.
6. What types of insect/animal bites and stings should I be cognisant of?
More than half of Israel is comprised of desert and with that come desert loving creatures like snakes and scorpions. Fortunately, unless you have adventurous plans hiking in remote wilderness, it is highly unlikely you will encounter either of these creatures.
A more likely health incident would involve dogs and cats, especially the street cats in urban landscapes. In case you get bitten, we suggest a visit to the Emergency Room to rule out the risk of rabies (same thing goes for the very unlikely case of getting bitten by a bat or any other small animal in the wild).
In case you discover a tick bite after an expedition out in the brush and forests of Israel, we also recommend a doctor’s visit to rule out tick-borne illnesses.
Mosquito bites are annoying anywhere in the world, but in Israel they are not a serious health concern as there is no Malaria in Israel and singular reports of mosquitos carrying the West Nile Virus are not considered currently a health threat.
If you have plans to take a swim in the sea, you can run the risk of getting stung by a jellyfish. Although painful, these stings usually don’t require medical attention. If serious swelling occurs or you develop an allergic reaction, immediate medical attention should be sought.
7. In the case of illness or an emergency, how does Israel’s healthcare system work?
Israel has high healthcare standards, and aside from remote areas, medical services are well accessible throughout the country. In the case of a medical emergency call 101 for the Ambulance Magen David Adom (Red Star of David).
Tel Aviv Doctor is the preferred medical provider of international health insurance companies, and we work with all major insurance companies. Although we are not an Emergency Room, we specialize in medical care for tourists, expats and visitors in Tel Aviv, and we are here to help and assist with any medical condition (read more about the topic in our blogpost: Emergency Room or Tel Aviv Doctor?).
We are happy to advise and we work with a network of specialists from Gynaecologists to Dermatologists, don’t hesitate to call or contact us by email.