"All you need is love" Top 5 Page for this destination Israel Favorite Tip by gilabrand

Israel Favorites: 271 reviews and 259 photos

  "We Love You, Jerusalem"
by gilabrand

Favorite thing: When we were lost and asked for directions in Prague (it was just me and my daughter, who was 8 years old), people walked past us as if we were invisible. When we were overheard speaking English in a public square, we were approached by a bunch of young toughs who screamed at us and called us murderers. In Paris, we had an incredibly surly waiter with a cigarette dangling from his lips who insisted that the baguette he brought us was tart tartin. At JFK in New York, passengers are ordered around by security people who look like Sumo wrestlers and treat people like cattle. In Rome, we asked a bus driver if he stopped at a certain place. He yelled "no" and slammed the door in our faces. But of course he did stop there, so we had to wait for the next bus. The cloak room attendant at the national museum shouted and threw our stuff at us because it was late and he wanted to go home. A New York taxi driver dumped my kid's stroller onto the street and broke it because he thought the tip wasn't high enough. So I think nastiness to tourists is pretty widespread.

All this is hard to fathom, considering how important tourism is to the economies of these countries. With millions of tourists pouring in, you would think the locals would be used to them by now, and more tolerant of their idiosyncrasies.

In Israel, on the other hand, my sense is that tourists are truly welcome. People are friendly, and a large proportion of the population speaks some degree of English (or another foreign language). Ask Israelis in the street for directions and they will go out of their way to help - sometimes more than you might care for. Israelis love to dispense advice, even unsolicited, and don't stand on formality. Don't be surprised if some total stranger invites you home to meet the family. I'm not saying you should always go - use your discretion - but for the most part, the warmth is genuine. There are no ulterior motives. Israel doesn't get much love today, and what Israelis want is love. Tourism, in the Israeli psyche, equals love.

Review Helpfulness: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Jun 9, 2009
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