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Useful Information for your Stay in Tel Aviv

By Chris Boyle

 WHEN BEST TO GO

Tel Aviv’s beautiful Mediterranean location means hot, humid summers and mild, rainy winters.

January and December get the most rain, while temperatures soar and rainfall stops in June, July, August and September. If you can stand the heat and the crowds, summer is a great time to be in the city – the beach is at its best, and spectacular summer-only clubs throw open their doors for a season-long party.

LOCAL CUSTOMS

Although Tel Aviv is a fun and safe city, security at Ben Gurion International Airport is extremely stringent and can surprise many visitors with its thoroughness.

You can also expect security checks at shopping malls, hotels, restaurants and other commercial premises. Carry identification with you in public, as you may be stopped and asked for it by police officers or security personnel, though this is not a common occurrence. The dress code is extremely casual, even more so at the beach. Don’t forget that Israel observes the Sabbath (Shabbat) from sundown on Friday to sundown on Saturday, so most businesses will be closed from Friday afternoon until Sunday morning – although restaurants and bars may remain open.

CURRENCY

Israeli New Shekel

LANGUAGE

Hebrew and Arabic are the official languages of Israel.

Hebrew is the main language of communication for most of the population and Arabic is spoken by the Arab minority. English is widely spoken.

EXCHANGE RATE

$1 = 3.58 ILS; £1 = 5.88 ILS; €1 = 5.11 ILS

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COUNTRY DIALING CODE

+972

24 HOUR EMERGENCY CONTACT

Police: 100; Ambulance: 101; Fire Brigade: 102

POPULATION

3.2 million

PUBLIC HOLIDAY

Purim (March 8–9, 2012) First and last days of Pesach / Passover (April 7 and 14, 2012) Yom Hashoah / Holocaust Remembrance Day (April 19, 2012) Yom Hazikaron / Memorial Day (April 25, 2012) Independence Day (April 26, 2012) Shavuot / Pentecost / Festival of Weeks (May 27–28, 2012) Rosh Hashanah / Jewish New Year (September 28–30, 2011; September 17–18, 2012) Yom Kippur / Day of Atonement (October 8, 2011; September 26, 2012) Sukkot / Feast of Tabernacles (October 13–14, 2011; October 1–9, 2012) Hannukah (December 21–28, 2011; December 9–16, 2012)

TIME ZONE

GMT +2 in the winter and GMT +3 in the summer due to a daylight savings adjustment.

BUSINESS HOURS

Most shops open between 8am and 7pm Sunday to Thursday and between 8am and 2pm on Fridays.

After closing on Friday afternoons most shops do not open again until Saturday evening at the earliest, due to the observance of the Sabbath between sundown on Friday and sundown on Saturday. Banks tend to be open from 8.30am to 12.30pm Sunday to Friday and from 4pm to 5pm on Mondays and Thursdays.

EMBASSY CONTACTS

United States Phone: +972 3 519 7475 Email: amctelaviv@state.gov Address: 71 Hayarkon Street Website: israel.usembassy.gov United Kingdom Phone: +972 3 725 1222 Email: webmaster.telaviv@fco.gov.uk Address: 1 Ben Yehuda Street, Migdalor Building, 15th Floor Website: ukinisrael.fco.gov.uk

RELIGIOUS DEMOGRAPHICS

Jewish, with significant Muslim and Christian minorities.

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