Israel is a unique country that attracts many tourists with its historical monuments, cultural sites and beautiful beaches. People from different countries also come to live in Israel. Before traveling it is important to know the local laws and customs in order to avoid unpleasant situations and violations. In this article we will tell you what not to do in Israel and provide you with useful tips for a safe and pleasant stay in the country.
Please note that the laws may change over time, and different places in Israel may have their own special rules, so check in advance each point that interests you, and talk more with local people – they know better than anyone else the situation on the ground. From this article you will get a general idea of the traditions and behavioral norms in Israel.
- No noise is allowed from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. (quiet time). In some municipalities until 17:00. In general, there are many local laws that apply in the individual areas of the country. Even in terms of noise throughout Israel, it is forbidden to listen to loud music on the beaches.
- It is forbidden to tear flowers. Penalty from hundreds (for public places) to several thousand shekels if it is a national park.
- It is forbidden to feed birds in urban parks (fine for feeding pigeons).
- It is impossible to collect coral from beaches. Shells, too, are not allowed if it is the Red Sea (from the Mediterranean Sea shells are allowed).
- You can not take out of the country more than $ 10,000 per person without a declaration (I indicate this as a separate item, since this question is often asked).
- You can not use the lawns in the parks for picnics. However, you may walk on them. There are separate picnic areas.
- You may not ride a bicycle without a helmet if you are under 18.
- You may not walk your dog without a leash.
- No smoking in enclosed public places – e.g., covered bus stops, underground parking lots… Also in places where more than 50 people congregate in a confined area, such as stadiums.
- You should not drink alcohol in public places.
- No drinking drinks in glassware on beaches.
- Do not throw construction debris from your apartment renovations in regular garbage cans.
- No littering. The fine for husks of sunflower seeds is 500 shekels.
- You may not throw your old appliances to be disposed of just outside.
- You may not cut down trees even on your own property without permission from the municipality.
- No bribes can be paid. You can bring sweets to the hospital for the staff, no more.
- No threats or violence may be used.
- No drones may be used without proper permission.
- You may not drive a car without a seat belt.
- No talking on the phone without a hendsfree while driving (1500 shekels fine).
- Cannot cross the border to Lebanon and Syria without a permit.
- You may not visit Area A in the West Bank.
- No graffiti may be painted on private or public property without a permit.
- You may not carry knives longer than 10 cm. You can pepper spray.
- No children or animals should be left unattended in a car.
- No molestation of women. There is a law about harassment. Unwanted attention or indecent behavior toward women.
- One should not verbally threaten another person. One must be very careful to make any remarks to others. For example, if they make noise after 11 p.m. – it is better to complain through the police rather than make a remark yourself.
- It is forbidden to raise your hand, even if you have not been hit.
- It is forbidden for men and women to drive with bare torso.
- It is forbidden to honk for no reason. The fine is 5000 shekels.
- Prostitution is illegal, including for “clients”. Penalty from 2,000.
- It is forbidden to disseminate or praise natist ideology.
- No disrespectful behavior on monuments and memorials.
Not laws, but rules
- It is advisable not to ignore the two minutes of silence during memorial events. It is not an official law, but it is important.
- One should not make remarks to other people’s children in the presence of their parents.
- Things should not be left unattended.
- Always follow security requirements in all public places.
- No joking around with the police.
- No running around at the airport.
Religious norms and prohibitions
- There are non-kosher things in kosher places. Seafood, pork, dairy + meat… a mezuzah (a Torah scroll hidden in an oblong box, usually attached to the top of the doorway) hangs at the entrance to such places.
- On Shabbat and holidays one may not drive cars or any auto-mechanical means into religious areas.
- One may not use electronics on the Sabbath in religious areas.
- Walking in “indecent” clothing in religious neighborhoods.
- No photographing locals on the Sabbath. One should not even talk about work.
Myths about what is forbidden in Israel
Criticism of Israel is forbidden. In Israel, freedom of speech and freedom of the press are guaranteed by law. At the same time, there are some restrictions on freedom of speech, such as the prohibition of propaganda of Nazism, racism and xenophobia, the prohibition of incitement to violence and terrorism, and the prohibition of libel. In general, you can criticize anything, as long as you use a normal tone for doing so.
In any country, there are many laws and unwritten rules of decency, and all at once not easy to remember. In Israel, a very friendly atmosphere and the tourist will be easy to get used to it. What you should pay attention to is the special importance of Jewish and other religious cultures and traditions – if you’re going to visit religious sites, it is better to dress modestly.
The second important aspect is the Sabbath. Here it is customary to observe it, or at least not to interfere with its observance by others. The Sabbath is considered a day of rest and many businesses are closed on that day. When planning a trip, take this into account in your schedule and be prepared for restrictions on public transportation.
By following these guidelines, you will enjoy your stay in Israel and avoid unpleasant situations due to a lack of understanding of the local customs and laws.