All the information below is provided by Pink Pangea community members based on their experiences abroad. Add your voice!
Feminine Hygienic Products
Ariela says: It’s easy to find your favorite feminine hygienic products in Israel at your local supermarket or pharmacy. However, they can be pricey. I buy in bulk when I’m in the States, and bring my favorite brands back to Israel.
Ariela says: In order to obtain birth control, you need a prescription. The brands available are along the same lines of what is available in the States.
Recommended Gynecologists and Doctors
Ariela says: If you don’t have Israeli health insurance, or if it is an emergency, you can go to a Terem Health Clinic. These clinics are open 24/7, but the gynecologists have more specific hours. There are Terem locations all over Israel, but check the website for specific gynecology hours. Appointments are not necessary.
Ariela says: Landing an Israeli boyfriend is the Holy Grail among American Jews. The men here tend to be extremely straightforward, which can be jarring at first. They are confident, and therefore pursue what they want without any hesitations or games. Look out for players though. The men here are very confident, so it’s difficult to distinguish between the serious daters and the serial daters.
Types of Men
Ariela says: The men here are very down to earth, relaxed, interested in building relationships and getting to know people for who they actually are. They are not very superficial. In Tel Aviv, you may find some more “career-oriented” men who are more on the wild side. For the most part, however, Israeli men are very family oriented.
Ariela says: Israel is the most LGBTQ-friendly environment you will find in the Middle East. Jerusalem is a bit more buttoned-up, but if you head to Tel Aviv you will find an overwhelming amount of love and support for the LGBTQ community. I recommend checking out the Pride celebrations in Israel.
Ariela says: Jerusalem is an interesting place. I find that I need to be aware of my surroundings in a different way because of the mingling between religious and secular lifestyles. In the city center women can feel comfortable, safe, and free of judgement. However, if you venture into more religious parts of town then you will discover that the place of women shifts. Religious women are not viewed or treated the same as men. There is a great deal of separation. Religious women must wear long sleeves and skirts, and cover their hair. I once took a short cut through an extremely religious section of Jerusalem, while wearing jeans and a long sleeve shirt. Big mistake. The men would turn away from me, or shield their eyes. I felt ostracized.
Ariela says: I relate more to secular women, but there are still significant cultural differences. The women here maintain that mythical Israeli sexiness, which comes from their extreme confidence. Religious women dress modestly, and start their families at a young age.
Ariela says: Due to the religious lifestyle that is integrated in Jerusalem, there are restrictions on where women can go. At the Kotel (The Wailing/Western Wall), there are separate sections for men and women. If you plan on traveling anywhere within the Old City, your best bet is to wear a long skirt or pants, and a shirt that covers your shoulders. Most synagogues have separate sections for men and women. Be aware of where you are traveling, and out of respect dress appropriately.
Perception of Foreign Women
Ariela says: People seem to like Americans here, and locals often have a connection to my home state of New York. Locals usually ask me if I know someone they know in the U.S.
Ariela says: Transportation here is safe for the most part. The trains and buses are fine, but be aware of what routes you’re taking.
Shady Areas for Women
Ariela says: I don’t recommend walking through the ultra-religious areas unless you are properly dressed. I would also be wary of traveling in settlements and in the West Bank. Do not hitchhike!
Ariela says: Proper attire all depends on where you are. Jerusalem is more modest than Tel Aviv, but it’s perfectly fine to wear a cocktail dress in Jerusalem. The going-out look in Jerusalem is very casual. Heels are a pain to wear (think cobblestone streets) and too fancy. Flats or sandals are perfectly fine.
As for as exploring the country, be aware of where you are going and dress appropriately. Religious sites and communities often require more modest dress.