Israel: Dead Sea, Jerusalem and Tel-Aviv Jaffa

Israel:
Lyssiemay Annoh explores the new 7 wonder destination finalist and discovers an excellent events haven
I am born a Christian and an ardent traveller; I also love of stories and excellent story-telling so prior to this journey, my faith did not allow me to visualise Israel as the main source for the history of ancient Israel. For me, the holy land and the holy bible are sacred and could only be found in heaven. For many other Christians though, The Bible, or the Holy Bible - although not a history book in the modern sense, together with the books of Joshua through Second Chronicles are the works of ancient Israelite historians. Read the full story

Know before you go
The dead sea
Travelling in and out of Israel
Israel is two hours ahead of GMT. All visitors to Israel must hold a passport that is valid for at least six months from the date they enter the country. People with no nationality must hold a valid laissez passer, as well as a visa back to the country that issued it.
Business Travellers
The Security Division and the Security Centre for Foreign Businessmen are in daily contact with new Israeli companies joining the special service provided for those who arrive to Israel for Business, this service if free of charge and is well known to conference and exhibitions organizers as well as for all Government offices.
All business travellers should ensure that they are in communication with their hosts at all times to ensure that appropriate procedures are followed.
General Security
Before you get too excited for your trip, you will have to know that Israeli security is an authority on its own. Even before you check in with your airline, your luggage must be thoroughly screened. Prior to this, you will need to answer some personal questions together with information about how you packed your bags and what items you are carrying. There is no short cut to saving time with this so Executive Traveller advises that you pay attention and remember everything what you have packed.
When leaving Israel, Security at Ben Gurion tends to be very thorough. Once again, always ensure that you have packed your luggage yourself and have not let it out of your sight since. This can be challenging and frustrating but Security just want you and everyone else to have a safe and secure flight so just smile, be patient and always be honest.

Citizens of the following countries will be issued tourist visas free of charge at every port or entrance terminal to Israel:
Europe: Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, Germany (Persons born after 1.1.28), Gibraltar, Great Britain, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.
Asia & Oceania: Australia, Fiji Islands, Japan, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Philippines, South Korea
Africa: Central African Republic, Losoto, Malawi, Mauritius, South Africa, Swaziland
The Americas: Argentina, Barbados, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Ecuador, Guatemala, Haiti, Jamaica, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, St. Kitts, & Nevis, Surinam, Trinidad, & Tobago, The Bahamas, The Dominican Republic, Uruguay, U.S.A.
Tipping
Tipping is fairly standard in Israel, though at a current norm of 10% or at your discretion. A service charge may or may not be added to your bill. When it is not included a tip of about 12-15% is expected.
Hotels
I am confident that all the four to five star hotels in the Dead Sea like the Ein Gedi, Daniel Hotel, Isrotel and the Meridien Hotel, to name a few will all be able to host any kind of event and come up with top marks. For the everyday guests, I can only share my experience.

I stayed at the Moriah Classic in the Dead Sea. While the meetings and events places where excellent, service and food fell short. Nevertheless, the hotel offers free WiFi, uncommon in Israel, has a large free spa swimming pool area for guests. The bedrooms are satisfactory. The hotel is ideal for families

In Jerusalem, I stayed at the St David Citadel Hotel overlooking the domes, steeples and towers of the ancient walled city of Jerusalem spread out like a masterpiece. The David Citadel provided the most comfortable bed I have ever slept in and is the newest and one of most luxurious business hotels in Jerusalem. Check-in, customer and breakfast service all follow the very business pattern. The Service was professional sometimes lacking some warmth as they stuck uncompromisingly to rules; nevertheless, it is a very nice place to be in Jerusalem.

For Tel-Aviv Jaffa, I stayed at the panoramic Dan Hotel which topped my list with regards to customer and breakfast service. The hotel welcomes its group guests with a drink and a friendly face. This friendly gesture is all that a guest needs after a long journey to a high security destination. The choice for breakfast was endless and hotel staff were surprisingly very friendly at a time when I was beginning to feel that friendly hotel customer service was not part of the Israeli culture. The hotel’s accommodation and facilities are also excellent. The Dan Hotel definitely knows how to make a visitor feel welcome. The hotel is suitable for both business and leisure guests.

Opening Hours of the Masada (including cable car operation)
April to September 08:00 to 17:00
October to March 08:00 to 16:00
Site Telephone: +972-8-6584207/8
The site like most other Israeli destinations are accessible to the disabled.
How to vote for the Dead Sea
You can vote via a link on the home page of the Tourism Ministry’s website, or directly at the competition’s website.

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