Travel in Israel is definitely not for everyone. Some will find the Israelis too rude and loud for words. But if you can accept the quirks of Israeli culture and get to the heart of things, you’ll find few more fascinating and touching places on the planet.
You’ll do well not to talk about politics though. Whatever you think you know about the subject it’s way more complicated and convoluted than you can imagine. There’s so much propaganda floating around (after all the country is permanently in a state of semi-war) that your chances of having a reasonable, balanced discussion are virtually nil. Plus you’ll antagonize everyone you meet with your views. Don’t go there.
Israelis are often curious about foreigners and being a goy can improve your prospects of getting a date in Israel . Especially if you’re a guy as you’re likely to be a lot more sensitive and considerate than the average macho Israeli guy. Plus you have the uncut edition and that’s of novelty value in itself.
Most people speak pretty good English so you won’t need to learn much Hebrew. They really appreciate the effort though. However you don’t want to sound like a Russian so often it’s better to accentuate your Western roots.
You have to fight for your right to exist in Israel. Don’t take any shit and they’ll respect you. But don’t get into arguments either as Israelis have been practicing all their lives so you don’t stand much of a chance.
Get used to sharing what you have and partaking of what’s theirs. It’s normal to help yourself to a cigarette from their pack on the table. There’s never any harm in asking but be comfortable with them and they’ll feel the same.
Accept all the invitations you can get to attend family meals. The interaction at the Shabbat dinner table in particular can behilarious. It can seem like a competition to see who can be the most Jewish.
A good time to travel in Israel is in the spring or autumn when there are plenty of holidays and people are more relaxed. The winter is a bit dull and the summer can be so hot that the Israelis may download all their shit on you without a second thought.
Good places to hook up with cool Israelis are at the festivals of Bom ba Mela and Shan Tipi in the spring and Be’re Shevet and the Rainbow gathering in the autumn.
You can change traveler’s cheques for no commission at the post offices.
106fm is an excellent radio station at night in Tel Aviv.
Buying a mobile phone here will set you back around $120. Better to bring your own and buy the sim card.
English books are easy to find here in second-hand shops.