Tags: israel | money | currency | travel

Israel Money: Currency and Other Tips When Traveling

By    |   Tuesday, 21 October 2014 06:18 AM

Before you embark on your trip to Israel, it’s important to research how you can stay safe and protect your money. Here’s what you need to know before you leave for Israel.
Israel’s currency is the New Israel Shekel, or NIS for short.

It is more commonly referred to as a shekel in English. Each shekel is made up of 100 agora, and it is available as paper or in coin form. Coins come in denominations of 10 and 50 agorot or 1, 2, 5 and 10 shekels. Higher denominations of money come in bills, in increments of 20, 50, 100 or 200 NIS shekels.

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A shekel equals usually somewhere between $0.25 cents and $0.30 cents on the dollar. The rate has peaked and fell in the last half of 2014 but stayed in a range of slightly less than 4 shekels to the U.S. dollar. Current exchange rates can be found at the Bank of Israel. 

There is no limit to the amount of cash you can take to exchange while you are traveling in Israel. Some places may take U.S. dollars, but be aware that some merchants might not offer the most favorable exchange rates.

As when you travel to any foreign country, you may find it convenient to use a credit or debit card to pull local currency from ATMs. It is wise, however, to check with your bank ahead of time to see if there will be any additional charges for this convenience.

Staying safe in Israel

In addition to understanding the currency system, it’s important to know that since the summer 2014 conflict in Gaza, the U.S. State Department has had a travel warning in effect for Israel, the West Bank and Gaza. The warning was renewed in September, despite a ceasefire in the region. 

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The State Department announced that the area has a “complex security environment there and the potential for violence and renewed hostilities.” Long range rockets launched from Gaza hit in many areas of Israel and the West Bank during the conflict. The ceasefire is in place as of Aug. 26.

For those who do decide to not heed the warning and continue with travel plans, the state department advises to be aware of any public bomb shelters or emergency procedures for places on your itinerary. You can find this information on the websites of cities where you plan to travel, and hotel staff can inform you of safety procedures.

Aside from the recent military hostilities, personal safety risks are not considered high in Israeli cities such as Tel Aviv and Haifa. In Jerusalem, religious tensions are credited with contributing to ongoing protests, demonstrations and other clashes. Jerusalem has also “seen a marked increase in random violent activities” in 2014. 

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Before you embark on your trip to Israel, it’s important to research how you can stay safe and protect your money.
israel, money, currency, travel
Tuesday, 21 October 2014 06:18 AM
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