Tips for Arrival
Volunteers who arrive on scheduled start dates will be picked up at the airport and taken to a base. Make sure you have provided complete arrival information to your representative who must forward this information to us.
NEW MEETING PLACE: The old meeting place at Swarovski’s is gone! From now on the meeting place will be near the Erroca Sunglasses counter, Arrivals Hall, terminal 3, ground floor. As you enter the Arrivals Hall from the outside, turn to the left. As you enter the Arrivals Hall after getting your luggage, turn to the right. If you do not see the group, please call Johanna.
Ben Gurion Airport –
+972-3-972-3344 (automated answering and information.)
a. The local currency is New Israeli Shekels (NIS). You must exchange dollars for shekels. There are money exchange locations in each city and at the airport. (The airport charges a commission; money exchange offices do not, but the exchange rate may be different).
b. Payment of Registration Fee – $110 (or $60, if repeating Sar-El program within 1 year, or if the participant is under 25 years of age) in cash only, to be paid to the Sar-El representative upon your arrival in *Israel (*Only if you have not already paid the fee to your local representative.) c. ATM machines are located at the airport and all over Israel. All foreign ATM’s work only with a checking account … you cannot draw on a savings account. Check with your bank at home to make sure your bank card is accepted in Israel. d. Always have extra money for an emergency or extenuating circumstance. Remember, you are traveling halfway around the world and all travelers need “mad money.” You should also make sure that you have several financial options: credit cards, cash and ATM cards. Do NOT rely on one card, as you will be without funds if it does not work for any reason. e. Credit cards usually give you the best exchange rate. Use them for weekend hotels, shopping, restaurants, etc. BEFORE YOU LEAVE HOME, PLEASE TELL YOUR CREDIT CARD COMPANY THAT YOU WILL BE IN ISRAEL AND GIVE THEM THE CORRECT DATES. f. Your weekend activities and any admissions to museums are your responsibility. Accommodation at Sar-El’s hostel in Tel Aviv/Yafo on the weekends is free, BUT NOT GUARANTEED, subject to availability.
Sar-El, PO Box 953
Kiron, 5510802 Israel
Bring three (3) copies of your Application documents including: Medical form, Waiver form, passport, and travel health insurance card or policy.
Ben Gurion Airport – +972-3-972-3344 (automated answering and information.)
a. THERE IS A PHONE COUNTER AT THE AIRPORT FOR RENTALS AND PURCHASES OF PHONES AND SIM CARDS. THIS IS OPERATED BY ISRAEL PHONES, FEATURED BELOW.
Phone companies that will deliver a phone to you before you leave your home include:
Talk-n-Save cell phones: www.talknsave.net/groups/sel-100.asp
b. Telephone cards, local and international long distance, may be purchased at the Israel airport, post offices and various business locations.
c. Stamps can be purchased at the airport and post offices.
d. To call the U.S. using Israeli telephone cards: dial 012 or 013 or 014 to get international service, then 1, area code, and number. This is cheaper than using a long distance telephone card, but of course you can always use your Sprint or AT&T, etc.
e. Internet cafes are located in most cities. You cannot use the internet while on the bases (no laptops, iphones, etc.)
a. Heed the advice of your madrichim (soldier guides), i.e. the right taxis to take, areas not to visit, etc.
b. ALWAYS carry and drink plenty of water.
c. When writing or speaking to friends, NEVER mention name of base. You can say “We are near Ashkelon” or “in the Galilee.”
d. Trip Insurance options in the U.S.:
· International Medical Group 1-800-628-4664
· Trip Protection 1-800-284-8300
· Travel Guard 1-800-826-1300
Your weekend activities and any admissions to museums are your responsibility. Make sure you always ask for Sar-El discounts; show your Sar-El ID card (you’ll get this at your base). Many museums, hotels, & tourists sites give discounts (e.g. Masada is ½ price).
b. Taxis – Hire only cabs clearly marked with yellow license plates registered in Israel. Ask for the meter or negotiate a rate upon entering.
c. “Sheruts” are vans similar to taxis. They follow the same routes as buses in the cities & have the same numbers as the buses. They are the same prices as buses (sometimes less), but do not have as many stops. They also travel between cities and often are more comfortable.
d. Pick up a weekly guide from a hotel for information on what’s going on in Israel while you’re here. It includes info on museums and sites. You can also get maps from the hotels.
e. Your madrichot have information regarding hotels and rates.
f. Keep your bus and train tickets until the end of your ride – you need your train ticket to exit the station.
g. Travel to certain areas is not permitted while on the Sar-El Program. You must have permission from Sar-El for weekend travel. Egypt (including Sinai) and Jordan (including Petra) are off limits during the program.
Have a great trip. When you return home, speak at your synagogues, organizations, community events about your “tour of duty” – spread the word about Sar-El. If you want to be a Sar-El Associate, let me know.
Please send us your comments and suggestions about your Sar-El experience – positive and negative.