Travel Tips for Israel, Updated Intl. Guide – Travel Medicine, Inc.
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Capital: Jerusalem

Time Zone: +2 hours, GMT +1 hour day light savings time.
Tel. Country Code: 972
USADirect Tel.: 1
Electrical Standards: Electrical current is 230/50 (volts/hz). European Style Adaptor Plug. Grounding Adaptor Plug J.

Travel Advisory - Israel

There is a low risk of malaria in North Africa and the Middle East, but other insect-transmitted diseases, such as leishmaniasis and viral infections, are potential threats. Safe water precautions, safe needle, and insect-bite prevention measures are important.

Dr. Rose Recommends for Travel to Israel

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Resource Links

World Health Organization
Travel Health Services
Country Insights
Travel Warnings
Consular Information
Foreign Commonweatlh Office


• U.S. Embassy
71 Hayarkon Street
Tel Aviv
Tel: [972] (3) 519-7575, 3-519-7551
Fax: [972] (3) 516-4390

• Consulates:
Jerusalem; Tel: 2-622-7200
Haifa; Tel: [972] (4) 853-1470

• Canadian Embassy
3/5 Nirim Street
Tel Aviv
Tel: [972] (3) 636-3300

• British Embassy
192 Hayarkon Street
Tel Aviv
Tel: [972] (3) 7251222

Entry Requirements

HIV Test: Not required.

Required Vaccinations: None required.

Passport Information

Passport/Visa: The State of Israel is a parliamentary democracy with a modern economy. Tourist facilities are widely available. Travelers may visit the website of the Israeli Ministry of Tourism for more tourist information.
Definitive information on entry, customs requirements, arrests, and other matters in the West Bank and Gaza is subject to change without prior notice.

ENTRY/EXIT REQUIREMENTS: U.S. citizens who are planning to visit Israel as tourists for less than 3 months do not need a visa. A passport valid for six months beyond duration of stay, a return ticket, and proof of sufficient funds are required for entry. Additional information is available at the Embassy of the United States in Jerusalem and the Embassy of Israel in Washington, DC.

Vaccinations: Recommended and Routine

Hepatitis A: Recommended for all travelers >1 year of age not previously immunized against hepatitis A.

Hepatitis B: Recommended for all non-immune travelers who might be exposed to blood or body fluids from unsafe/unprotected sexual contact; from injecting drug use; from medical treatment with non-sterile (re-used) needles and syringes. Recommended for any traveler requesting protection against hepatitis B.

Influenza: Vaccination recommended for all travelers >6 months of age who have not received a flu shot in the previous 12 months.

Routine Immunizations: Immunizations against tetanus-diphtheria, measles, mumps, rubella (MMR vaccine) and varicella (chickenpox) should be updated, if necessary, before departure. MMR protection is especially important for any female of childbearing age who may become pregnant.
• The new Tdap vaccine, ADACEL, which also boosts immunity against pertussis (whooping cough) should be considered when a tetanus-diphtheria booster is indicated.

Hospitals / Doctors

Modern medical care and medicines are available in Israel. Some hospitals in Israel and most hospitals in the West Bank and Gaza, however, fall below U.S. standards. Travelers can find information in English about emergency medical facilities and after-hours pharmacies in the Jerusalem Post and the English language edition of Haaretz newspapers.
All travelers should be up-to-date on their immunizations and are advised to carry a medical kit as well as antibiotics to treat travelers diarrhea or other infections. Travelers who are taking regular medications should carry them properly labeled and in sufficient quantity to last for the duration of their trip; they should not expect to obtain prescription or over-the-counter drugs in local stores or pharmacies in this country – the equivalent drugs may not be available.
• Travelers are advised to obtain comprehensive travel insurance with specific overseas coverage. Policies should cover: ground and air ambulance transport, including evacuation to home country; payment of hospital bills; 24-hour telephone assistance.

A listing of hospitals and physicians is maintained by the U.S Embassy Office of Citizen Services.

Herzliya Medical Centers
7 Ramat-Yam Street
Tel: +972 9-959-4888
HMC is the only private hospital specifically licensed to perform heart surgery, kidney transplants and neurosurgery.
•• The hospital also provides Emergency Aeromedical Evacuation utilizing its own aircraft and staff, serving the Middle East, Africa, Eastern Europe, and the former USSR.

Chaim Sheba Medical Center
Sheba Medical Center is located in the east side of the city of Ramat Gan (Tel Hashomer) in the Tel Aviv District, under the Israeli Medical Corps.
Tel: 1-315-203-3075
Sheba Medical Center is the largest and most comprehensive medical center in Israel and Israel’s largest Acute Care Hospital. A leader in medical tourism.

Hadassah Medical Center
Kiryat Hadassah
Tel: +972 2 677 9111
All medical and surgical sub-specialties; the Hadassah University Medical Center in Jerusalem is a tertiary care referral facility and teaching hospital, equipped with sophisticated diagnostic, treatment and research equipment.

Destination Health Info for Travelers

AIDS/HIV: Among the HIV cases in Israel with a known mode of transmission, the majority were infected heterosexually, with an estimated 16% infected through injecting drug use (IDU). Since the mid-1990s, there has been a slight but steady increase in the annual incidence of new HIV cases in the country. More cases are being found among IDUs, especially among new immigrants, and a small increase among young adults (aged 21-29) has also been detected, mostly in those who originate from countries with generalized epidemics. The relative proportion of PLWHA (People living with HIV/AIDS) who are women born in endemic countries (such as those in sub-Saharan Africa) is also increasing. The male to female ratio is 1.6:1 among identified PLWHA.
• Transmission of HIV can be prevented by avoiding: sexual contact with a high-risk partner; injecting drug use with shared needles; non-sterile medical injections; unscreened blood transfusions.

A drug to prevent AIDS. In a major advance, the drug Truvada© is now available for pre-exposure prophylaxis) in adults and adolescents (≥35 kg) who are at risk for HIV. The drug is taken once daily. Its use should be combined with safe sex practices.

• The threat of HIV/AIDS should not be a primary concern for the traveler. However, there may be a concern for a subset of travelers who may be exposed to HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, through contact with the body fluids of another person or their blood. Although travel has contributed in a general way to the global spread of AIDS, fear of traveling because of this disease is not warranted.

Accidents & Medical Insurance: Accidents and injuries are the leading cause of death among travelers under the age of 55 and are most often caused by motor vehicle and motorcycle crashes; drownings, aircraft crashes, homicides, and burns are lesser causes.
• Heart attacks cause most fatalities in older travelers.
• Infections cause only 1% of fatalities in overseas travelers, but, overall, infections are the most common cause of travel-related illness.
• Travelers are advised to obtain, prior to departure, supplemental travel health insurance with specific overseas coverage. The policy should provide for direct payment to the overseas hospital and/or physician at the time of service and include a medical evacuation benefit. The policy should also provide 24-hour hotline access to a multilingual assistance center that can help arrange and monitor delivery of medical care and determine if medevac or air ambulance services are required.

Avian Influenza (Bird Flu): Israel reported an outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza (H5N1) in poultry in 2015.
• H5N1 avian influenza is predominantly a disease of birds. The virus does not pass easily from birds to people and does not to pass from person to person (except in rare cases of close contact with an infected blood relative).
• The risk to humans from avian influenza is believed to be very low and no travel restrictions are advised, except: Avoid visiting live animal markets, poultry farms and other places where you may come into close contact with domestic, caged or wild birds and their excretions. In addition, you are advised to:
1. Cook poultry and egg dishes thoroughly. (Well-cooked chicken is safe to eat.)
2. Wash hands frequently with soap and water if around poultry.

The usual vaccines against influenza are not protective against so-called bird flu.
Oseltamivir (Tamiflu) is somewhat effective in the treatment of H5N1 avian influenza. It seems to be effective in some cases, but may fail in others. Recently, resistant strains have been reported. In addition, the dosage and duration of treatment appear to be different in severe H5N1 cases.

Cholera: Cases of cholera have been reported in the Gaza Strip and may occur in other areas. Cholera is a rare disease in travelers from developed countries and the threat to tourists is very low. Cholera vaccine is recommended only for relief workers or health care personnel who are working in a high-risk endemic area under less than adequate sanitary conditions, or travelers who work or live in remote, endemic or epidemic areas and who do not have ready access to medical care.
• Canada, Australia, and countries in the European Union license an oral cholera vaccine. The cholera vaccine is not available in the United States.
• The main symptom of more severe cholera is copious watery diarrhea.
A single 1-gm oral dose of azithromycin is effective treatment for severe cholera in adults. This drug is also effective for treating cholera in children. (NEJM:

Hepatitis: Hepatitis A is moderately to highly endemic. All travelers not previously immunized against hepatitis A should be vaccinated against this disease. Travelers who are non-immune to hepatitis A (i.e. have never had the disease and have not been vaccinated) should take particular care to avoid potentially contaminated food and water. Travelers who will have access to safe food and water are at lower risk. Those at higher risk include travelers visiting friends and relatives, long-term travelers, and those visiting areas of poor sanitation.
• Hepatitis E virus (HEV) is endemic with a seroprevalence of 2.80% of the adult population. Large outbreaks of hepatitis E have not been reported, which may be may be attributed to generally good hygienic conditions and a controlled potable water supply, while unrecognized sporadic cases may be due to the unavailability of diagnostic testing. Transmission of the hepatitis E virus (HEV) occurs primarily through drinking water contaminated by sewage and also through raw or uncooked shellfish. Farm animals may serve as a viral reservoir. In developing countries, prevention of hepatitis E relies primarily on the provision of clean water supplies and overall improved sanitation and hygiene. There is no vaccine.
• The hepatitis B carrier rate in the general population is estimated at less than 1%. Hepatitis B is transmitted via infected blood or bodily fluids. Travelers may be exposed by needle sharing and unprotected sex; from non-sterile medical or dental injections; from unscreened blood transfusions; by direct contact with open skin lesions of another person. The average traveler is at low risk of acquiring hepatitis B. Vaccination is recommended for persons having new, casual unprotected sexual contacts, sexual tourists, injecting drug users, long-term visitors, expatriates, and anybody wanting increased protection against the hepatitis B virus.
• Hepatitis C is endemic at a low level with a prevalence of 0.4% in the general population. Most hepatitis C virus (HCV) is spread either through intravenous drug use or, in lesser-developed countries, through blood contamination during medical procedures. Over 200 million people around the world are infected with hepatitis C – an overall incidence of around 3.3% of the population of the world. Statistically, as many people are infected with HCV as are with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

Influenza: Influenza is transmitted from November through March. Flu vaccine is recommended for travelers over age 6 months.

Leishmaniasis: Focally distributed countrywide. Cutaneous leishmaniasis is present in the Jordan Valley, particularly from the northern Dead Sea region to Massua; other risk areas include the wadis of the Negev Desert (including Keziot), the Arava Valley, and Samaria. Visceral leishmaniasis is reported in the Judean foothills of central Israel and the Galilee Region of northern Israel. Peak transmission of leishmaniasis occurs between April and October.
The parasites that cause leishmaniasis are transmitted by the bite of the female phlebotomine sandfly. Sandflies bite in the evening and at night and are usually found in forests, the cracks of stone or mud walls, or animal burrows.
• All travelers should take measures to prevent sandfly bites. Insect-bite prevention measures include applying a DEET-containing repellent to exposed skin, permethrin (spray or solution) to clothing and gear, and sleeping under a permethrin-treated bednet.
• All travelers should take measures to prevent evening and nighttime insect (sand fly) bites. Insect-bite prevention measures include applying a DEET-containing repellent to exposed skin, applying permethrin spray or solution to clothing and gear, and sleeping under a permethrin-treated bednet at night.

Malaria: There is no risk of malaria in Israel.

Mediterranean Spotted (Boutonneuse) Fever: Highest risk of transmission is in southern Israel, especially the northwest part of the Negev desert and the coastal plain area. This rickettsial disease, (caused by R. conorii and is similar to Israeli tick typhus) is transmitted by dog ticks and has emerged as the most common insect-borne disease in Israel. Travelers, especially to rural areas, should avoid dogs (as well as sheep and goats), which harbor the infective ticks. Infective ticks are also found on grass and around hay stacks, and along wild animal paths.
• Tick-bite prevention measures include applying a DEET-containing repellent to exposed skin and permethrin (spray or solution) to clothing and gear.

Other Diseases/Hazards: Anthrax (mostly cutaneous; usually from agricultural exposure), brucellosis (usually transmitted by raw goat/sheep milk), Avian flu (outbreak in 2015), echinococcosis (carried by a small percentage of rural dogs; low incidence in humans; more common in northern areas), leptospirosis (endemic; humans are infected through contact with sewage or water contaminated with rodent urine), tuberculosis, typhoid fever, and helminthic infections (due to roundworms, hookworms, and whipworms; low incidence), Israeli tick typhus, human monocytic ehrlichiosis, Q fever (outbreak reported in high school in central Israel in July 2005).
• Four human cases of West Nile virus fever were reported In the Northern District of Israel in the Afula region in 2007.
West Nile fever is transmitted via the bite of an infected Culex mosquito. Culex mosquitoes feed predominantly during the hours from dusk to dawn. All travelers should take measures to prevent evening and nighttime mosquito bites. Insect-bite prevention measures include applying a DEET-containing repellent to exposed skin, applying permethrin spray or solution to clothing and gear, and sleeping under a permethrin-treated bednet at night.

Rabies: Several cases of human rabies, transmitted by small animals, occurred in the late 1990s, triggering a massive animal vaccination campaign, which seems to have controlled the spread of animal rabies. One case of rabies from a cat bite occured in 2003. Although pre-exposure rabies vaccine is not recommended at this time, all animal bites or scratches while in this country should be medically evaluated for possible post-exposure treatment.

Schistosomiasis: This disease is apparently no longer a threat in Israel. Urinary schistosomiasis was once endemic in the Jordan River, but no recent indigenous cases have been reported. Cases of imported schistosomiasis have recently been reported in Israeli tourists returned from Tanzania.

Tick-Borne Relapsing Fever (cave fever): Cave fever, caused by the spirochete Borrelia persica, is transmitted in rural areas by ticks that inhabit animal burrows, cracks in boulders, archeological sites, caves, tombs, and bunkers. Ten percent of the caves in Israel are infested by ticks (55% infested in the lower Galilee). Risk areas include the Negev, the West Bank, the coastal plain, and the northern areas. Treatment, as well as prophylaxis, with tetracycline or doxycycline, is effective.
• Travelers, especially those engaging in outdoor activities in rural areas, such as campers and hikers, should take measures to prevent tick bites. Tick-bite prevention measures include applying a DEET-containing repellent to exposed skin and permethrin spray or solution to clothing and gear.

Travelers’ Diarrhea: Medium risk. Although the risk of bacterial gastroenteritis is lower than in the neighboring Arab countries, it is much higher than in western Europe. Tap water may be contaminated. Shigellosis occurs both sporadically and in larger outbreaks. Amebiasis occurs infrequently. Outside of hotels, resorts, and private homes we recommend that you filter or purify all drinking water or drink only bottled water or other bottled beverages and do not use ice cubes. Avoid unpasteurized dairy products. Do not eat raw or undercooked food, especially meat, fish, raw vegetables. Peel all fruits.
• Good hand hygiene reduces the incidence of travelers’ diarrhea by 30%.
• A quinolone antibiotic, or azithromycin, combined with loperamide (Imodium), is recommended for the treatment of diarrhea. Diarrhea not responding to antibiotic treatment may be due to a parasitic disease such as giardiasis, amebiasis, or cryptosporidiosis.
• Seek qualified medical care if you have bloody diarrhea and fever, severe abdominal pain, uncontrolled vomiting, or dehydration.

Typhoid Fever: Typhoid fever outbreaks were last reported in the 1980s. Typhoid vaccine is not recommended for travel to Israel at this time.