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Jerusalem – facts for the visitor

[out of date contact details?]

Jeannie Bell has written in from Jerusalem with loads of info to start the directory below. Thanks for all your hard work, Jeannie, I’m sure anyone planning a trip will find it extremely useful. If anyone has anything to add – please write in!

Travel tips

The dress code is conservative in Orthodox Jewish and Arab areas including the Old City. Women have been attacked and petty crime is common.

Banking is OK, but the statements are in Hebrew. Credit cards are widely accepted, but there may be a 500 NIS (about £80) limit on foreign cards. ATMs are available and there are numerous money changers.

The telephone system is good, but shop around for the best deal. Mobile phones are very common.

Voltage is 220V AC. Plugs are 2 pin round. Fluctuating current is a problem, particularly in East Jerusalem, and power cuts occur especially in winter.

Jerusalem is a divided city whose status is yet to be decided. Israeli sovereignty is not recognised by the international community. This creates tensions and problems. There are also minor irritations – for instance, cable TV, newspaper and pizza delivery are available in West Jerusalem, but not in the East.

Accommodation

Jerusalem is a tourist city so there are many hotels and guest houses. I would recommend any visitors read a guide book e.g. The Lonely Planet city guide.

Hotels used include The American Colony in Nablus Road (+972 2 6282421), a lovely old building with a great history, and the Laromme at 3 Ze’ev Jabotinsky St (+972 2 6756666). Both of these are expensive.

As for guest houses, there are the Notre Dame Centre opposite New Gate (+972 2 6279111), St George’s in Nablus Rd (+972 2 6283302) and St Andrew’s in David Remez St (+972 2 6732401).

Food

Again, there are many restaurants to choose from. Those used by the expat community include: Askadinia (French/Italian) and Pasha’s (Palestinian) in Shimon Hatzadik St, East Jerusalem; Spaghettim (Spaghetti only) at 8 Rabbi Akiva St and Alexander’s (Italian-Kosher) in Hebron Rd, both in West Jerusalem; and Da La Thien (Chinese) in Bethlehem Road.

Shopping

Most things are available, but local cheese is tasteless and pork products are only available in certain delicatessens and are expensive. Branston Pickle and Heinz baked beans are not available. The Jerusalem Mall (also known as Cannion or Malkha) is a modern shopping centre and is useful.

Entertainment

There is a British Council Library in West Jerusalem at 3 Shimshon St (+972 2 6736733/4), but nothing in East Jerusalem. Books are expensive to buy and books in English are in limited supply.

Sports facilities are available in hotels or the YMCA in both sides of the city. These include gyms, swimming pools and tennis courts.

Trips can be made to the Dead Sea, the Mediterranean, Eilat and the Sea of Galilee among others.

There are no great expat clubs. There is an expat women’s group which meets at 9.30 a.m.on the second Tuesday of each month (not July or August) at St Andrew’s Scottish Church Guest house.Various activities are run through the group, such as bridge, mah jongg, tennis, book clubs and a lunch club.

Facilities for children

There is only one international school in Jerusalem: the Anglican International School, Jerusalem (AISJ). It is a Christian school for children aged 3-18 and offers IB. (Tel +972 2 5677200; e-mail principal@aisj.itac.org.il).

The Sunshine School (ages 2½-6) in East Jerusalem is also used by expats (+972 2 5833825).

There are some parks, mainly in West Jerusalem, although dog dirt and broken glass are not uncommon. There is an indoor play area called Fun-Fun which is good for parties – it is in a Mall in Hauman St in Talpiot (+972 2 6794881). Out of town there is Kibbutz Zova (or Tsova) which has indoor and outdoor play areas including lots of bouncy castles. The Zoo (+972 2 6430111) near the Jerusalem Mall is also worth a visit.

1 Comment

Maureen Mandelstam 10-10-2010, 11:39

I write to ask if anyone knows how I can, from the UK get in touch with the expat women’s group which meets at St Andrew’s Scottish Church guest house in Jerusalem. I shall shortly be living in Jerusalem and would like to join the club

Maureen Mandelstam (Dr M M Dale)

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