The greeting you receive from every person in Israel isn't "Hi" or "Hey, how are you doing" or "what's up". (Before going anywhere, I always make sure that my Business Travel Insurance will cover the country I'm visiting. Many policies do not cover Israel. The best companies for travel insurance offer you many options or plans to choose from. Business Travelers are under the impression that Business Travel Accident Insurance covers them. How wrong they are when facing travel interruption, trip cancellations, lost baggage or a long flight delay. Many insurers have eliminated that coverage all together in this post Covid-19 world.) It's "peace". That says a great deal about this wonderful country. Burse, when the terrorists are lobbing rockets over their borders at a very peaceful public..
When I arrived at Ben Gurion Airport, it was mid-afternoon and beautiful. You could see the Mediterranean all the way in and then the gorgeous hills of Jerusalem as we made a big sharp turning into the sun to align with their east to west runway.
I was one of the last ones off as I chose to help the many senior citizens who had made the pilgrimage back to Israel hours after a cease fire was signed. Most had needed assistance to board the aircraft lead to a 90 minute delay in our flight. But, the one thing you can count on with Israeli pilots is they love driving fast and displaying their skills on every change of course. So unlike American pilots who are forced to save money by flying as slow as possible in an effort not to use too much fuel, Israeli pilots put the pedal to the medal from the moment they leave the gate.
Once I finally got off the plane, I had to go through what I thought would be an awful experience of immigration. Wrong I was. Israel is a technological and software powerhouse. I scanned my Passport as I entered the airport. Somehow, it knew that I was who I was and issued my Visa stamp immediately. I walked through a 'nothing to declare' line and into....nothing. Left was the baggage and right was the exit.
There were no soldiers/officers asking me questions or going through my bags! I was 'in' and allowed to go on my way in less than 4 minutes.
However, there was a line requiring me to get a Covid test prior to exit. The line was a total of one person in front on me who was just standing trying to decide which nurse to use. There were 20 nursing/Covid test stands completely empty waiting for a passenger to test!
I walked towards the guy near the exit and he said "open your mouth and lean back slightly" One swab in my mouth, one in each nostril and I was done. I opened my phone and looked for my Hotels.com Icon to book a Hotel. Hotels on Friday Night/Shabbat are very expensive. It's their biggest night of the beginning of the weekend "big night" of Saturday Night which is definitely PARTY NIGHT in Tel Aviv. To get there I had to grab a cab. They don't have a real Uber, which is awesome. Israelis have invented the next generation APP for cabs called GETT. It is a level above and treats Lyft and Uber as actual or real cab companies and not an app that aggregates independent drivers. Unlike the spineless USA governments, GETT calls it like it is: Uber...you're a cab company. So we're going to allow customers to choose ANY driver and we'll pay them for you...no charge .
How are they paid? The DRIVERS!!! pay for 100 customers at a time and can choose whether to take the gig or not. If they don't they lose one ticket and if they do, they lose one ticket. Their choice if they want to pick you up or not. If they click "yes" then they come get you. If they click "no" the offer goes to another driver and another (in mili-seconds) until someone accepts. When you're picked up it's the same way Uber works where you see the driver info, how far they are from you, etc.
Saturday Nights are completely wild. Almost like a Spring Break Fiesta feel. And after 2 weeks of sleeping in bomb shelters, everyone in Tel Aviv, young and old alike, were outside early. Either on the beach or on a scooter or sitting at an outside cafe table, there were people in shorts, swimsuits and beachwear everywhere
Not only where they dancing on the beach! (which I found out is a normal every weekend Israeli tradition) but on the streets next to the cafes. Inspiring.Don’t forget your travel insurance from InsureMyTrip.