You Asked About Electricity in Israel

A tourist asked, “Do I have to use a transformer or adapter for my electrical devices in Israel?”

plugadapterElectricity in Israel is rated at 22ov (220v-240v) 50hz compared to the 110v 60hz in North America. That difference requires certain precautions when using North American appliances and electrical devices, including telephones and computers.

First, let’s clarify the difference between adapters and transformers/converters. Adapters affect the plug; they change the standard American flat posts to Israeli/European round posts. At the right, you can see the standard 2-pin plug used in Israel.Transformers/converters affect the electricity; in this case, they reduce Israel’s 220v down to 110v; transformers/converters do not affect the hz.

Today, many electronic devices (e.g. computers, battery chargers, tablets, phones, etc.) have an internal transformer and can operate safely on 110v or 220v. Check the specs label on your device to see if yours does. Click here for an example. If your device is rated to operate on 110v-240v, you should only need an adapter like the one in the photo at the top right. You can easily find a 6-pack available on Amazon for less than $3 (Caution! The customer reviews on this product are not good). Here‘s another adapter that has better customer reviews.

If your device does not operate on 220v, you will need a converter. The size depends on the type of device you want to operate. A 50-watt converter is usually sufficient for basic electronic devices like phones and computers. Heating devices (e.g. curling irons and blow dryers) usually require a more robust converter of at least 1600 watts. Many Israeli hotels have hair dryers and 110 electric outlets for shavers in the restrooms, which may be a better option than trying to get a North American hair dryer to work properly. Many travelers end up burning up their hair dryers when trying to use them in Israel. This hair dryer works in Israel (with a plug adapter) and has received good customer reviews.

Disclaimer: Please be aware that the links provided in this post serve to illustrate the kinds of devices that are typically used by tourists and should not be construed as endorsement of the quality or dependability of any of the devices. Discipleship Travel LLC assumes no liability for your correct or incorrect use of any items linked or described in this post. The purchase and/or use of any of these or similar items indicates your acceptance of personal responsibility and liability for any damage that may result.

 

How do I make falafel?

falafelFalafel has been called “Israel’s original fast food.” Many of our travelers experience falafel for the first time during their Israel tour. The reactions are mixed. Some simply refuse to try it because it is too different. Among those who try falafel, some don’t like the taste and some find it really tasty.

This post is primarily for those in the last category, though others may benefit, too.

Falafel is made from ground chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans) and seasonings that is shaped into a ball or patty, then deep fried. In Israel, falafel is typically served in a pita bread with hummus, tehina, tomatoes, cabbage, and other interesting items.

Often, after arriving back home, our travelers want to try to recreate some of the foods they experienced on their trip and ask us how to make this or that item. Below is a recipe for falafel from Jewish Fusion:

Falafel Recipe Ingredients:

1 cup dried chickpeas, soaked overnight, cooked for ½ hour and drained
4 cups water
2 teaspoons salt, plus more to taste
1 thick slice rustic white bread,
crust removed.
2 Tablespoons flour
1 cup of flour for dipping
2 teaspoons baking soda
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 egg
2 Tablespoons, chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 teaspoons of fresh ground pepper
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon ground tumeric
½ teaspoon ground coriander
Canola or vegetable oil for deep-frying
Pita breads, heated
2 tomatoes, chopped
1 cucumber, chopped
Tahini
Hummus, optional

Directions:

Put the chickpeas in a 2-quart soup pot, add the water, and bring to a boil.
Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes.
Add the 2 teaspoons salt after 20 minutes of cooking.
Drain the chickpeas and reserve the liquid.
Grind the chickpeas through the coarse blade of a meat grinder or pulse in a food processor.
Add the bread, the 2 tablespoons flour, the baking soda, garlic, egg, and seasonings and mix well.
Add salt to taste.
Form into 1-inch balls, then flatten each slightly in your hand.
In a deep saucepan or a wok, heat 3 inches of oil to 375 degrees F.
Dip the falafel into flour and deep-fry in batches until golden.
Using a skimmer, transfer to paper towels to drain.
Tuck into warm pita bread, along with about 2 tablespoons each chopped tomatoes and cucumber, and a generous drizzle of tahini dressing and some hummus, if using.

You may be interested to watch this video demo, which is part of Epicurious’ “Around the World in 80 Dishes” series.

Best wishes on this adventure, and happy eating!

 

Do I need a passport to travel to Israel?

Us-passport1International travel requires the use of a valid passport. You should arrange to have possession of a valid passport sixty (60) days prior to departure. Also, your passport must be valid for a minimum of six months after your return date. If your passport is not valid for at least six (6) months beyond your scheduled return date, you will be denied boarding on your outbound flight.

Any fees associated with passport acquisition or renewal are the responsibility of the traveler. More information including new passport applications or renewals is available here.

Do I need travel insurance or can I use my US-based health insurance?

Discipleship Travel LLC acts only as an agent for suppliers and is not responsible for damage, loss, or theft of luggage and/or personal belongings, or for personal injury, accident and/or illness. For your own protection it is important that you have sufficient insurance to cover these possibilities.

Be aware that travel insurance benefits are not limited to health related incidents. After determining your coverage needs, check with your insurance agent to determine whether your insurance plan meets your needs in Israel (or wherever you are traveling), including personal health/injury, loss/damage to belongings, and trip interruption. Note: Many US-based insurance plans do not cover you outside the United States, so get confirmation of coverage in writing! You should carry proof of insurance in case you need medical attention while abroad.

Because of the risk of misunderstanding insurance benefits and the complications that often occur when using non-Israeli insurance policies in Israel, Discipleship Travel LLC recommends purchasing travel insurance. You can choose from among the different policies we sell by clicking the Travel Guard banner below.

NOTE: Insurance is optional, but STRONGLY RECOMMENDED!

SEE OUR FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS PAGE

Does it snow in Israel?

People are often surprised when they hear about snow in Israel. Isaiah’s (1:18) use of snow as an illustration aside, most people don’t naturally associate snow and/or cold with the Middle East. Rather, thoughts of hot desert scenes are most common. So, to answer the question of whether it snows in Israel, I provide this photo (courtesy of IDF) of today’s snow.

jerusalem-snow