Hitchhiking is very common in Israel. Hitchhiking is often done by pointing to the ground with the pointing finger far from the body, instead of raising a thumb. If you raise a thumb, people might not understand.
|Language:||Hebrew (official), Arabic (official), English and sometimes Russian most commonly used foreign languages|
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Variations exists such as pointing straight down while bobbing the hand up and down to indicate a short distance hitch, or point]ng right or left to indicate a desire to turn right or left at the next major junction.
Hitchhiking in Israel varies. In some areas it's very common, you'll often see locals hitchhiking and cars stop quickly wherever you try. In others, it can take ages, especially if you don't have a sign. If you're getting out of a large city, make sure you have a sign - preferably in Hebrew.
Stopping at most junctions is possible. An exception for this consists of the few highways in which stopping is only possible at on-ramps and petrol station hitchhiking|petrol stations. The highways are:
- Highway no. 1 between Jerusalem and Tel-Aviv and the Dead Sea.
- Highway no. 2 between Tel Aviv to Haifa ("Kvish HaHof")
- Highway no. 5 between Tel-Aviv and the West bank.
- Highway no. 6 that crosses the country from north (Yokne'am) to south (Be'er Sheva)
- Highway no. 20 ("Netivay Ayalon") in Tel-Aviv.
- Highway no. 50 ("Begin Highway") in Jerusalem.
Some roads like 85, 70, are partly highway which mean you better ask or check before whether there is but station/ place you can stop due there are a lot of interchanges. In Israel is really common to use maps navigators apps (as Wase, google maps). So often drivers don't really know if they exctly goes through your destination. If you have smartphone, and you have specific destination- you better should check and even download the map, than you can see whats your hitch hike possibilities, sometime if it close enough in rural areas drivers will make detour for you as well. If in general the driver way is on your way (for exmple if you need to go to Kiryat Shmona from jerusalem and the driver go to Tiberias) you can get up to the car, and than ask politely if you can check by the driver Wase, or your google maps, where is the best junction for you to get down. Remember, always better not stand inside a city. For example- if the driver go through 90 road- I will get down in Zemach junction, becouse it's big rural junction. If he goes through 6 road I will get down in Tishbi Junction, just after Yokneam, from the same reason.It's also good to download the map becouse it's reduce stress, you feel that you know where you go..
The most usual way to start an hitchhiking journey is to take a bus out of town, to a junction in your direction. Almost every junction has a hitchhiking spot (the famous Trempiyada), or at least a bus station where drivers can stop. Many drivers stop in such a place simply to drop or pick up people, not for picking you up - approaching them can still pay off well though, as often they will pick you up anyway. guaka's wild guesstimate is about 20% of the time, definitely worth the walk, the gesture and the smile.
In some places, like Tel Aviv, it's very hard to hitchhike from the city, and inter-urban buses are relatively cheap and can get you to the nearest junction. you can hitchhike in Tel Aviv at Aluf Sade junction (near Ramat Efal, Shafrirm interchage, near Bar Ilan uni). sometime it's easyer even to take a train to the airport and than walk to the bus station and hitch-hike there to jerusalem. Jerusalem is really friendly to hich hikers, and you can hitch hike even in the nighbourhoods. There is 6 exists from the city, to different directions, and you have Trempiyadas in all of them. ask locals where is the best spot to hitch hike to ypour next destination.
The longest road in Israel is 90 road, that go from the northest point in Metula, to Eilat. it's NOT an high-way so it's not a crowded one but quite usefull when you hitch-hiking becouse you can stop basicly everywhere and it's will take you to the north, south, dead sea, jerusalem, Tiberias, Sea of Gallile, Rosh pina..and cet. it's also goes near the Jordaninas border.
In the rural areas, hitch-hiking is extremly common and people will help you and sometime will take you specialy to the place you need. People in Israel are direct, so don't be shy, you can share your destinations and they will help you to get there.
Road 6: It's a highway road the intent to cross the country from north to south but not all built yet. it's a paying road, and it's the faster road in Israel. therefor its impossible to hitchhike on it, but you can join it always in the interchange before.. for exmaple- from center to north, get to Kesem junction, (train go there, and also easy to hitch hike from west bank) and walk on the sidewalk until you find trempiyada to north. Near Modiin there is Shoam junction, and from the south you can stand at the outside for Kiryat Gat. in the north, the soutern trempiyada in Yokneam it's gooD spot. MIND THAT once you on road 6 peoople usually don't get dowwn so if for example you need to go to Tel Aviv, don't take a lift to Jerusalem becouse they don't have place to stop. there are 2 gas stations in road 6, and you can try to stop there..
Like always, precaution is needed when hitchhiking, although in Israel hitchhiking is a way of life. You will find hitchhikers everywhere. Even still, caution is necessary.
You should remember that as a country in a sub-tropical region, it can get very hot in Israel, sometimes as early as March and as late as September. If you can, before hitchhiking check the predicted weather in the region of your travel, and if it's going to be hot, don't ignore it. Exposing yourself to heat without caution can be dangerous. In hot days, wear a hat and drink a lot of fluids, especially if hitchhiking in the desert. Suncream and sunglasses are also recommended.
Due the fact that Israel is also in a problematic security situations, I think you just need to be bit more carefull that your usual, especially if you hitch-hike west bank, and if your intuation alert you from the driver, don't jump in.
Cities and locations
Politics of hitchhiking in Israel
It's common to get rides from Arab Israelis and from religious Jews. So it's wise to avoid talking politics unless you really know your ways and who you're talking to. Remembers a ride where the driver was listening to Arabic music, not speaking English, but indicating he "hates all Arabs", he just loves Arabic music. Tricky.
Vulla: "All the people will ask you why did you choose to travel in Israel. Most of the people want to talk about the politic situation, don't be afraid to ask questions...people want to show their point of view and just demonstrating that Israel is really a great country and not just a country war which it seems from outside, they will not have problems to say what they real think. That's my experience travelling HH in Israel, is a real way to understand this complex but great land"
A lot of Arabs don't speak English, in which case it can actually be okay to approach them in Hebrew (especially if you're not a native speaker). Some Orthodox Jews prefer to speak only Yiddish, so it may be helpful to learn a few basic phrases in this language (hint: it's mutually intelligible with German).
Hitchhiking inside the West Bank comes with its own special intricacies.
Inside Israel (not in the West Bank) it's significantly harder to hitchhike at junctions close to Arab villages. Somehow cars coming out of the village are less likely to pick up hitchhikers. This could be because their wife is sitting next to them or someone of the closely knit network of the village is driving behind them. In such cases it makes a lot of sense to try to find out of the previous or next junction has different traffic (e.g. predominantly Jewish or further away from Arab villages) and to move on or back there.
In Israel people work on Sundays so you'll be fine, but Shabbat is a fairly bad 24 hours for hitchhiking there since religious people are not driving at all (and they're usually quite skilled at picking up hitchhikers) and there's generally less traffic, but particularly on smaller roads there will be a lot of people out with their families and people pickup hitchhikers more because there is no public transport. Note that Shabbat starts on Friday when the Sun sets and ends at sunset on Saturday. Friday night, a few hours before sunset and Saturday night, immediately after sunset, are both EXCELLENT times to hitchhike! Many people drive from rural areas to the "center" of the country, urban Tel Aviv or Jerusalem due to visiting family for the Shabbat (Jewish sabbath) - beware of the traffic jams!
Note: Israel shares borders with these countries; however, due to hostile relations between the states, it is impossible to legally cross over to Syria or Lebanon; Getting to Gaza should requires special circumstances (being a journalist or an aid worker etc.). Getting to Egypt and Jordan can be easily done through the border crossings with those countries.
Getting into Palestinian autonomy in the West Bank is hassle free, as that is not a border. Sometimes on the way out of the autonomy you would need to present your passport with a valid visa (a slip of paper you get upon arrival to the country) in the checkpoint.
Taba is the only border crossing for passengers from Israel to Egypt. It is situated 5km south of Eilat, and is accessible by public transport from both directions. There are almost no cars passing the border, everyone does it by foot. Notice that if you plan to continue after Sinai, to Cairo for instance, you most likely need an Egyptian visa which is obtainable in the Egyptian embassy in Tel Aviv or the Egyptian consulate in Eilat. Bring with you 4 passport photos, 100 NIS and a photocopy of your passport. It takes around 4 hours for Western citizens. Since 2017, you can also obtain a visa online.
Before 2002, Rafah border crossing was also a way. After Israeli forces closed down the Rafah border crossing in Gaza in 2002 and after the disengagement from Gaza in 2005, Taba is the only border crossing for passengers from Israel to Egypt.
Not possible. You can't enter Syria or Lebanon coming from Israel.
Stamps issue: These two countries, along with a just a few others Arab states (all in all, less than 10 Arab states) will deny entry of visitors with evidence of visit to Israel. This means: passport that shows that you've been in Israel, even with just a stamp from a border crossing to Egypt or Jordan (see next section for more details).
Avoiding an Israeli stamp
Since 2013, Israeli immigration officers no longer stamp passports but issue visa paper-slips instead. You should keep the slip until you exit Israel.
At the Jordan crossings officials on both sides generally seem to not stamp your passport if you ask them to.
Israel currently run 3 border terminals with Jordan:
1# In northern Israel, next to Beit She'an, you can cross in the "Jordan River"/"Sheikh Hussein" border crossing, from which it is quite straight forward if you continue onwards to Amman.
My partner and I (French and Chilean) hitchhiked across this border in April 2019. It is not allowed to walk across the border ! So you have 2 options : - you can take the shuttle bus across the noman's land (its costs 5 shekels/person) - you can hitchhike a car just before the border but be aware that there are not so many cars going through. We saw only 2 cars driving from Israel to Jordan in 3 hours on a monday afternoon! Cars must stop at the border entrance so it was easy to ask directly the driver to give us a ride. It looked like there was a bit more traffic on the other way from Jordan to Israel. Normally we should have pay 107 shekels (102+5) to leave the country but it appeared to be a bit cheaper as a group : we paid 311 for 3 persons (104 shekels/person). The Israeli custom officers did not ask any questions and did not open our backpacks. On the Jordan side, we did not pay nothing for the visa as we already paid online our Jordanian Pass and showed it printed. #lemondesurlepouce
2# In central Israel, in the West Bank, "Allenby"/"King Hussein" border crossing, separating Jordan from the Israel/West Bank. The border crossing is jointly operated by Israel (for international or Israeli passengers) and the Palestinian Authority (for Palestinian passengers). This is also the most direct border crossing from Amman to Jerusalem. Crossing into Israel/West Bank require no special visa. Crossing into Jordan requires obtaining a Jordanian visa in advance, as such are not issued in the border crossing.
This is only landborder Israel/Jordan that you can cross by walking ! At this landborder, the Jordanian visa is free of charge ! You will just have to pay the exit fees of Israel (107 shekels) ..at least for French and Chilean citizens So if you are in a budget, you should consider crossing in Eilat as it is the cheapest option ! #lemondesurlepouce