All the information below is provided by Pink Pangea community members based on their experiences abroad. Get involved and add your voice now!
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 a bit pricey. I buy in bulk when I’m in the States, and bring my favorite brands back to Israel. I recommend doing the same, but most products are available if needed. And it’s not too expensive.
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. I recommend bringing enough with you so that you don’t need to see a doctor for a prescription.
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 many American travelers in Israel. 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. If you ask them a direct question, they will like answer you honestly though.
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. Travelers come from all over Europe to celebrate and the city is a lot of fun.
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: Yes, 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! While in the 80s it was still acceptable, even common to do in Israel — it no longer is.
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.
Women Travelers in Israel: Tips for Women Travelers in Israel
Tips That Will Make Every Woman’s Trip to Israel So Much Better
1. Don’t be afraid to be rude to random guys.
There have been many times when random men approached me while I was walking through the shuk or buying groceries. We’re all women, so we know when a guy is being creepy and saying things he shouldn’t, or encroaching on our personal space. If a guy is bothering you, have some chutzpah and tell him to leave you alone.
2. But, on the other hand, have fun when new opportunities arise.
If you are at the beach with a group of friends and some Israeli guys offer you a beer and invite you to play beach soccer with them, accept the offer! Israelis are extremely friendly and they may even suggest some good local bars and restaurants. Just use caution and gauge every situation.
3. Pack your makeup and toiletries.
No matter what country you are travelling from, pack your favorite toiletries and makeup essentials. Although you may be able to find the same mascara/shampoo/blush that you use at home, it will definitely be more expensive in Israel. Just bring some with you so you don’t have to worry about buying this stuff when you land.
Also, if you are visiting during the summer, don’t forget to bring deodorant; it’ll be hot and you’ll need it. And, no matter what time of year you come, bring sunscreen. Sunscreen is very expensive here, and the sun is strong.
4. Be careful at night.
Israel is very safe. I have never felt uncomfortable when walking home alone at night–even through dark pedestrian walkways. But, like anywhere, just be aware of your surroundings.
5. Shop on Shenkin.
Shenkin Street is one of my favorite spots in Tel Aviv. The street is littered with fun cafes and cool clothing/jewelry stores. It’s located right across from the Carmel Market, so you can grab some fresh veggies and fruit after your shopping spree.
6. Buy a pair of Blundstones.
Everyone in Israel has a pair of these boots, myself included. I knew I wanted to buy a pair within weeks of being here. Embarrassingly enough, I now own three pairs. But they are the most comfortable shoes I own, and are definitely worth the expensive price tag (prices range depending on store and type, but you’ll spend around 480 shekels). You’ll regret it if you don’t buy a pair.
7. Bring a shawl or a sweater when you tour Jerusalem.
Jerusalem is a very religious city and many of the famous sites there have dress codes. When I visited the Church of the Holy Sepulchre this past summer I immediately got kicked out because I was wearing shorts. You don’t want to miss out on anything; so, bring a shawl or a sweater with you to cover your shoulders or tie around your legs in order to hide any revealing skin.
8. Check out the Tel Aviv jewelry shuk.
Every Tuesday and Friday, the Nahalat Binyamin shuk is open. It’s filled with crafts, jewelry, and art that are all homemade and really good quality. It’s located right next to the Carmel Market so it’s not very hard to find. Definitely make the time to visit this jewelry shuk; you’ll find some amazing gifts for yourself and family/friends back home.
9. Use the meter in a taxi.
A taxi driver will immediately know that you are a tourist as soon as you step into the cab. He will then ask you if you want to go by the meter or a set price he’ll give you. Always go with the meter price. The driver may try to overcharge you with the fixed rate.
10. Dress casually.
Israel is very casual. I’ve been told hundreds of times that people attend weddings in jeans. So don’t worry about packing your fancy clothes. As long as you don’t walk into a restaurant wearing a mini skirt and tube top, anything you wear should be okay. (Although a mini skirt and tube top is probably acceptable at certain places).
As long as you are wearing jeans or leggings with a sweater or blouse, you can’t go wrong. This applies to day-to-day activities, dinners, and going out at night.
Women Travelers in Israel: Tips for Women Travelers in Israel
- Health, Safety and Relationships in Israel: Jenna’s Tips
- A Hike to Freedom in Israel
- Visit Jerusalem in One Day
- How I Conquered Israel’s Desert Fortress, Masada
- Exploring Little Corners of Israel
Have you traveled to Israel? What were your impressions? We’d love to know if there’s any important information you recommend adding to this list. Email us at [email protected] for information about sharing your experience and advice with the Pink Pangea community. We can’t wait to hear from you.
Women Travelers in Israel: Tips for Women Travelers in Israel photo credits by Unsplash.