I am writing these notes in the hope that they will be very informative and useful for those who, like us, will make an independent trip to Israel. I do not even hope I can give all the answers to all the questions, it’s just impossible. But what seemed essential, entertaining and useful, I will try to present with the greatest care possible. I apologize in advance for my style of presentation, if he just does not like someone or seems too pretentious. I do not have another style …
Author: Anatoly Shibaev
PREPARATION AND TRANSFER
Israel Holy Land
Every believer, not even a fanatic, but simply to love Christ and to feel his presence in his soul, his defense and his judgment, must sooner or later feel the need to visit the places where his foot has walked and where his eyes have moved and where he rang the voice
Yes, and an unbelieving person, and even an atheist activist, with a sufficient level of intellectual development and a curious mind, will find in Israel, in this incredibly complex center and an interweaving of historical, religious and national conflicts, many interesting places related to events of different times and states. Touch the ancient monuments you’ve often heard about, about which great historians, writers and poets have written about, and simply enjoy fabulously beautiful and diverse landscapes.
My wife and I felt the urgent need to visit Israel at the age of over fifty dollars. At the same time, exactly two years have elapsed since the decision to go to the Holy Land before the implementation of this enterprise. We both work, and desires and personal plans are not always combined safely with the decision to take on tasks.
Finally, everything coincided and in January, in about 3 months, we started a resolute preparation. I think the choice of April for a trip to a hot country is understandable. In summer, in Israel, the brain must simply melt. In April, the summer is hot and sunny and the bathing season is already open. The Easter holidays in 2010 fell on April 4th. It was therefore advisable to slightly move the departure date for a week to avoid an excessive race and a human crowd.
The training began with a review of information available on the Internet – reviews and reports from those who have already visited Israel. There is a lot of information like this, so I will not say that we could read at least a quarter of all the texts. We have learned many useful things, but some nuances remain unclear.
We must also say a few words: we chose an individual way to explore the country, apart from groups of excursions, with the trip by rental car. Traveling by car for us is a usual thing. We have practically traveled all over Scandinavia, from Denmark to Cape Northkapp in Norway, the northernmost point of Europe. The novelty was only that we had already made trips in our own car. Rent a car for the first time.
And the strategic objective of the trip was not only to visit the holy places, but also, if possible, to visit the whole country, to climb in places where excursions are not always organized. I also wanted to speak directly to the Israelis, which is practically impossible if you are simply transported everywhere, taken away, jailed, they explain everything, they say, where to look – right or left.
Finally, I really wanted to meet my classmate Igor, who, after being distributed, was first thrown into Siberia, then it turned out that during the collapse of the Union, because of the situation from his family he had to emigrate to Israel. He is Jewish and his wife Marina is Russian. Two sons were born in the USSR, but honestly served the three-year term of the Israeli army. By the way, Igor and I “discovered” on Vkontakte’s communication site , as well as with other classmates, many of whom were scattered around the world (Israel, United States, Germany, Slovenia, and Belarus).
The study of the problem of life in Israel has yielded an unexpected result. We learned that in addition to the standard hotel policies, there is an option for accommodation in the private sector, in the so-called dial. Recruitment in the search engine of the word “Zimmer” provides very complete information. We have chosen three options that suit us for the convenience of geographic location (in the sense of optimal planning of future trips across the country). But we were very kindly told that of a place.
This zimmer is located 20 kilometers south of Haifa, in the large village of Ein Ayala , in which the owners are engaged in agriculture. In particular, our hostess has an olive grove and produces olive oil. Communication on the Internet was done in English by exchanging e-mails. She has patiently answered all our many questions, mostly related to life. The house has everything to come to live, starting with the refrigerator and the shower and ending with a variety of dishes. The two-week stay cost us about $ 1,100. In addition, the hostess asked to send him a $ 200 advance. This was easily achieved through the Western Union transfer system (the transfer fee for this amount is $ 20). The amount of the housing payment also includes the cost of bedding, water, electricity and cleaning. The mistress of the house has made it a condition that the final payment be made only in shekels. It remained to carry the American currency for the subsequent exchange already in Israel, because buying shekels in Moscow without special links is not possible.
After solving the problem of accommodation, they always decided the question of theft. Here, unfortunately, could not save. In this case, we have suffered rather seriously. As I understood it for the future, it is necessary to buy plane tickets for at least 4 months. Then you can easily meet the sum of 30,000 rubles for two. Well, we dealt with this issue 2 months before departure and, given the convenience of the date and time flights, we paid about 43,000 rubles (about $ 1,450) for tickets. This operation was carried out via the Internet and by telephone. So we got what we call electronic tickets from Transaero . At the same time, at the airport, to obtain a boarding pass, you only have to present a passport.
The next step was to rent a car. There is a wide choice – from world-renowned companies, Hertz and Avis, to companies operating solely in the Israeli market, the largest of which is Eldan . The choice was made in favor of the latter, perhaps because of the simplification of the deposit of rental conditions. On the website of this company, I filled out the form, sent it to you and quickly received a confirmation number and a contract. The car chose Daihatsu Sirion with an automatic transmission for reasons of reliability (Japanese) and efficiency (declared fuel consumption of 6 liters per hundred kilometers). Renting such a car for 15 days (with insurance) costs $ 396.
Those who are going to tour Israel with a rental car must have an international driving license. There is nothing terrible or impossible about it. All you have to do is go to the traffic police department of Lobnenskaya Street (if you live in Moscow) with a small set of documents containing 1000 rubles. It took me 40 minutes to get that identity. But I got it in March. They say that by the summer, you can stay a lot longer. Its validity is 3 years and it is not an independent document, but an attachment to the Russian driving license.
An international driving license is not necessary if you cross the European border with your car. In most European countries, Russian rights are recognized as a document (in my opinion the exception is Germany and Austria). My son-in-law even rented a car in Finland. But this leprosy continues until you find an accident on the road. Then, local bureaucrats can simply declare that you do not have the legal right to use the machine abroad and refuse to pay insurance. So, in any case, this little book will not be superfluous.
The payment for the rental of a car is made at the time of the reception of the car. We ordered the car directly from Ben Gurion Airport . You can not pay in cash only with a credit card, such as Visa or Mastercard. At the same time, on the website of Eldan , it is stated that the card must be credited and not debited. Since I had both, there was no problem – I refunded the credit. It is possible that the debit card of a reputable bank ( Sberbank , for example), if it contains a sufficient amount – at least $ 1,000, in which case it will pass, but I have not tried it. I am calling for such a sum for a reason, because the Eldan company takes immediately, in addition to car rental fees, a kind of guarantee. In the case of the make of my car, this deposit was about $ 570. Only now have I learned much later, after my return to Moscow.
Several critics read on the eve of the departure contained information that, when Israeli customs passed through Ben Gurion Airport , they upset everything in a suitcase at Ben Gurion Airport . So we decided to do a minimum of things not to tease the geese. They did not even take a laptop, without which, as it seemed, it would be difficult to manage. A computer at work, a computer at home, it’s like a drug. But nothing was finally done well, focusing only on the perception of the surrounding world. It was a very wise decision.
The flight passed without incident, in normal mode. We flew as planned – at 11 am Moscow time. Three and a half hours flew instantly. During the landing, the plane saw in the porthole of the solar world and palm trees. This inspired. But there was always a customs pass, and it was a little worried. However, everything happened casually and easily. Control of past passports, where the girl asked only a few questions in English and stamped the passport, received a suitcase and went safely to the airport lounge. And then I saw my student comrade Igor and his son, who met us. Of course, it was a very happy meeting because we have not seen each other for more than 30 years!
Igor made it easy for us to find the car rental site at the airport. All the companies involved in this sector are very numerous, almost in the same place. And the Eldan office was probably the smallest. The girl who spoke English was being recorded and Igor decided with some nuances with her in Hebrew. I posted my driver’s license, passport, credit card. Signed a contract in the amount of $ 396, including insurance and taxes. Plus, I was offered the same price to rent a more prestigious car – Mazda-6. But I refused, because with a compact machine, it is easier to solve the problem of parking and it is more economical. The last factor is even more important because we planned to travel Israel from top to bottom.
The car for us took out the boy, speaking perfectly in Russian. He showed the presence of a tool in the car, dock, emergency sign, gave the immobilizer code. The presence of fire extinguisher and a first aid kit in the car is not provided. By the way, the machine was new, with an initial mileage of only 1,650 km. And – go ahead.
Well, to end the conversation about the Eldan company , I would say that, although we generally appreciated their service, we still had to treat them after our return to Moscow, which left a rather unpleasant aftertaste. This concerned the same commitment I mentioned above. But about this nuance will be told at the end of the story, at the appropriate place.