There’s so much to do while you’re in Israel and also a few things you’ll need to get ready for before you go. Check out the information we’ve compiled for you below, and start getting excited (and ready) for the experience you’ve been waiting for!
Getting to Israel
With the exception of Israel Teaching Fellows, the cost of your flight to Ben Gurion Airport (Tel Aviv) is not included, and participants are responsible for mailing their own travel arrangements to Israel. In the weeks leading up to your program start date, we’ll set an exact meeting time for you to plan for. Though it is not mandatory, we recommend arriving a day or two before the start of the program to acclimate. We can point you in the right direction in terms of where to stay and how to get around.
The entry rules for shorter and longer term stays are very different. Plan ahead now to avoid complications down the line.
If you plan to be in Israel for less than three month, no visa is required to enter Israel, and if you are a citizen of the United States, Canada, Great Britain, a European Union program or any other country with a visa waiver, no prior arrangements need to be made.
Israel requires visas for anyone staying beyond three months regardless of your nationality. Unless you have an Israeli passport, you’ll be responsible for obtaining an Israeli visa in order to participate. We encourage you to contact your closest Israeli Embassy or Consulate 6-8 weeks before the start of your program in order to request an A2 visa, which is available to anyone confirmed on a Masa Israel-affiliated program. The A2 visa is valid for a year and allows for multiple entries to Israel. In order to obtain this visa, you must visit a consulate or embassy with the following:
- The form you received from Masa Israel (PDF file) confirming your grant and/or scholarship amount
- A letter from Israel Outdoors NEXT validating your acceptance to the program
- A valid passport
- Two passport sized photos
The Israeli consular staff has final jurisdiction with regards to granting a visa. Should you encounter a problem obtaining a visa please contact us directly. Keep in mind that an A2 visa does not entitle you to work in Israel.
All travelers are required to have a passport valid for at least six months from your arrival date in Israel. If your passport expires in less than six months from the start of your trip, renew your passport immediately. You will not be allowed entry into Israel without fulfilling this rule. Additionally, we require all applicants to submit a valid copy of their passport during their online application process.
Requirements for an Israeli Citizen
If either of your parents is a citizen of Israel, or if you lived in Israel at some point in the past, it is your responsibility to make sure that your status with the Israeli Defense Forces is worked out and clear. If you hold an Israeli passport, you must enter Israel with your Israeli passport. If either of your parents are Israeli citizens, you may still have obligations to the State of Israel that must be worked out prior to your trip even if you do not have an Israeli passport. It is important that you take care of these matters before you arrive in Israel. We recommend that you contact your nearest Israeli consular office if you have any questions or to explore the matter.
Health insurance is provided on all NEXT programs, covering participants for most anything but pre-existing conditions or self-inflicted injuries (Summary Policy | Detailed Policy). That being said, we do require you to come to Israel with your own valid health insurance policy, and we will request the policy information with your application. If you are not insured on your own or if your home medical insurance policy does not cover you abroad, then you NEED to arrange for an insurance policy that covers you for pre-existing conditions during your NEXT experience. Contact us to learn more.
Medication & Vaccinations
If you are taking a prescription medication, we recommend packing your medication with your carry-on luggage in case your main luggage is delayed. We also recommend bringing enough luggage to last for the entire time that you expect to be in Israel. It can otherwise be difficult and rather expensive to obtain a prescription for pre-existing conditions once in Israel. If you have a notable medical condition, please inform us in advance; no one likes surprises, and just remember that this is all for your safety. All medical records will be kept strictly confidential.
No special vaccinations are required or necessary in Israel. However, we recommend that you come to Israel with an up to date Tetanus shot.
Israel uses a 220 volt electrical current and the outlet types are different as well. In order to avoid “frying” any electrical items, bring a voltage converter (note: this is already built into most computers, tablets and cell phones). You will also need a simple adapter (two circular prongs) to plug your items into the wall that can be purchased in your home country or very inexpensively once you are in Israel.
Kashrut or Special Dietary Needs
All group meals are kosher as certified under the supervision of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel. People with special dietary situations should contact us in advance to make proper arrangements.
We highly recommend leaving your valuables at home. Your personal property is exclusively your responsibility at all times. Although theft is not common in Israel, it does happen, and if you do bring valuables, be very careful about keeping track of them.
Rules of the Program
You have chosen a great program, and we are committed to giving you a lot of space to explore Israel on your own as an adult. That said, there are some common sense rules which will be followed strictly as follows:
- No illegal drugs or controlled substances of any kind
- No excessive alcohol consumption
- No opting out of official group programming*
*Should you elect to leave a program early you will be responsible for the full tuition fee, including repaying any subsidies or scholarships received.
Shabbat & Weekends
Shabbat is the Jewish day of rest, and it is a perfect time to reflect on the experiences that you have had so far and to rest and re-charge for the experiences ahead. During the program, many Shabbat weekend will be designated as free time. Some Shabbat weekends will be programmed. During these days, there will be a public observance of Shabbat. What this means is that nothing in the program will force or encourage participants to violate the rules of Shabbat (or any other Jewish holidays that fall within the trip). Keep in mind that there will be participants on your trip of all Jewish backgrounds, and we only ask that each person be respectful of everyone else’s individual level of religious observance.
The official currency of Israel is the shekel. It generally fluctuates at around 3.50-3,80 shekels for every US Dollar, but you should check online before you depart to see where the exchange rate is now (www.xe.com). If you plan on bringing actual cash to Israel, the easiest place to exchange it is in the airport itself. Longer term, the best solution is to bring a credit card and/or ATM card. In terms of credit cards, Visa and MasterCard are accepted everywhere in Israel. It would be a good idea to call your credit card/ATM provider before you depart to let them know that you are travelling to Israel. Otherwise they may think there has been fraud and suspend your account while you are abroad. In terms of ATM cards, most will work in Israel, but you should definitely call your bank ahead of time just to make sure the card will be accepted in Israel.
NOTE: Any ATM card with a Visa or MasterCard logo will work for sure. Keep in mind that foreign ATM fees can be high, and you will probably want to minimize the number of withdraws accordingly.