FOUR THINGS YOU SHOULD DEFINITELY KNOW BEFORE GOING TO ISRAEL
The official language in Israel is Hebrew but you can easily communicate in English.
Almost every kind of food in Israel is available in kosher version. There are kosher restaurants, bars, products and even bottles of kosher water in the shops.
The best food to try out is hummus, falafel and shakshuka – traditional dishes of Israeli cuisine. Israel is proud to have the biggest population of vegans in one country! Around 5% of people already gave up animal products and hopefully there are more to come! Accordingly, this is a very vegan-friendly destination.
Hummus is a paste made of cooked chickpeas and tahini (smoothly blended sesame seeds) with added cumin seeds and hot powdered pepper. It is traditionally served with olive oil and parsley leaves sprinkled on top. There are always pita breads and fresh sweet onions served on the side.
Falafel is a deep fried veggie ball made of minced chickpeas, usually flavoured with cumin and coriander seeds. It is easy to find falafel in any Kebab take-away on the street but trust me, the taste is completely different to what Middle East falafel has to offer. Traditionally, falafel is served with French fries, a salad and grilled aubergines on the side or wrapped in tortilla with veggies and freshly made sauces.
Shakshuka is a dish made of tomatoes and eggs which are added to previously simmered vegetables. The main aim is to keep the egg yolk running, while frying the egg white. Sometimes there are other veggies or mushrooms added to tomatoes before simmer to enhance the flavours. Shakshuka is usually served with fresh bread and fresh corriander sprinkled on top.
Army is obligatory for everyone in Israel, regardless of sex. Women and men are equally conscribed to army after their eighteen birthday. Women have to spend two years in army and men three. Young future soldiers learn how to use weapon and it is common to see girls and boys in uniforms wandering in the streets with machine guns – quite scary to see when you are not used to it!
The army controls a lot in Israel. There are many so-called control points built on motorways which stop all the passing-by vehicles for the armed guards to see who are where is going.
There are luggage X-rays at the entry to the central bus station in Tel-Aviv to.
Moreover, alongside the border with Egypt a high wall topped with barbed wire divides these two countries.
There are many more ‘security actions’ like this in Israel and their impact depends on location and actual political situation of the area. Despite all the controls we felt quite safe at that time in Israel.
Southern Israel lays in dry tropical zone, where is warm throughout the year, even in the winter. The Tel-Aviv area has similar weather to Mediterranean countries like Greece or Italy with dry and hot summers and mild winters. The temperatures in Israel depend on the level they are above the sea. On the deserts the amplitudes are high: it gets very hot during the day and the temperature drops significantly at night (even below zero Celsius degrees). In Jerusalem, for example, which is situated high above the sea, snows in the winter.