How to support Israel during this time
Time to read 5 min
Time to read 5 min
We all know these are challenging times in Israel, being amidst an awful war, still recovering from that horrible day on October 7th - honestly it looks like we haven't even started to recover: we're surviving. B''H we will see better, peaceful days soon! Your overwhelming support from abroad is making this time bearable though, your kindness, your generosity. It's so special. Since so many of you on Instagram are asking how to support Israel during this time, we've made this guide for you with everything you need to know from visiting Israel now to where to donate.
Table of content
First of all, it is possible to visit Israel - did you know Israel is 'open' to tourists? This might sound surprising, but Ben Gurion Airport operates, hotels, musea, restaurants and national parks are all open. Yes, Israel is at war - but that doesn't mean the country has stopped functioning. Does that mean everything is like normal? No, not quite. Does that mean it is 'safe' to visit? That depends on your country's travel advice to Israel, always follow that!
Because many of you are planning to visit Israel to volunteer, to show solidarity or to visit family - here are some things to take into consideration when you're planning to visit Israel during this time:
NOTE: THIS IS NOT OFFICIAL TRAVEL ADVICE, MERELY TIPS & TRICKS FROM A LOCAL'S PERSPECTIVE
Safety & security
For travel advice: follow your foreign ministry's travel advice to Israel. Every country has its own risk analysis, which also influences important things like travel insurance. At the moment you cannot travel to parts in northern Israel close to the border with Lebanon. The area surrounding Gaza is also partly off limits, although slowly certain areas are open to the public, like the Nova Festival site.
If you are visiting Israel, you should also be aware of what to do in case of an alarm. There is an amazing website in English with literally everything you need to know and where they give continuous updates in case something happens. This website is only available in Israel though, so click the link below when you land on Ben Gurion to check it out - but don't worry, instructions are simple and easy to follow.
This is so important to take into consideration! In general, travel insurance does not cover war related travel disruptions - making it of course more complicated now to travel to Israel. Keep that in mind if you want to visit Israel. At Tales of Israel we are not insurance specialists, so consult with your insurance agent, but there is an insurance company based in the UK designed for travel insurance for such complicated situations if you're traveling to Israel. Contact them here for more information! Note: they don't cover war disruptions for leisure travel.
Other tips & tricks
- Download the 'red alert' app to get notifications about alerts and alarms on your phone
- Public transport: trains, busses and the light rail all operate like usual
- Don't be afraid to shop local, visit restaurants, coffee shops, attractions. The tourism sector has been hit hard so Israelis will appreciate it extra if you are in Israel and want to support!
- Don't be worried when you see lots of men and women in civilian clothes carrying weapons around. This is normal in Israel, especially now: they're IDF soldiers who have been released for a few days. They just must carry their weapon at all times.
- Traveling to Jerusalem? Many people think it is off limits now, but it's not. There is heightened security and alertness now, but the city operates like usual.
- Want to travel to the West Bank? This area is considered high-risk now, like the border areas with Gaza, Lebanon & Syria.
One of the best ways to support Israel now is by joining an organized trip to volunteer & show solidarity with Israel. This way things like transportation, accommodation and insurance are all arranged for you. Here are some organizations offering volunteer trips to Israel:
- Birthright Israel: a two-week volunteering trip to Israel for Jewish individuals between the ages 18-40
- JNF USA: 4-day volunteer & solidarity mission to Israel
- Tourist Israel: a 7-day custom made, private volunteering & solidarity trip to Israel suitable for participants of all ages and backgrounds
- Ramah Israel: 4,5 & 6-day solidarity and service missions to Israel
- CFOI: Christian 7-day solidarity trip to Israel
Volunteering when already in Israel:
- Citrus & Salt: cook for IDF soldiers in Tel Aviv
- Leket Israel: help the farmes in need in Israel
- One Family: help the victims of terror in Israel
Where to donate?
There are so many needs for donations now in Israel, that it can be difficult to navigate where to donate! To make it easier for you and to help you find the organization that you would like to support, here are some organizations we think you will love to support:
- Meir Panim: one of the largest organizations in Israel driven by volunteers to give aid in a wide variety of urgent needs: supplying warm meals to soldiers at the fronts, providing daily meals and necessities to evacuees and traumatized families from October 7th, providing groceries and meals to Holocaust survivors.
- ZAKA through the Chesed Fund: ZAKA is the organization in Israel that responds first to emergency situations. It is volunteer only and they were the heroes who worked day and night for over a month at the massive site of the massacre that happened on October 7th. Your donations go to emergency equipment, vehicles etc.
- UFIS.ORG.IL: donate to needs for the IDF soldiers
For PayPal donations to a smaller local initiative: contact Lili from @foodforthoughtisrael is working tirelessly around the clock to supply IDF soldiers with their urgent needs
Other ways to support Israel
Besides visiting Israel and donating, there are other important ways to support Israel during this time. For example, don't forget that this war is also fought online, on social media. Within your circle, you can make a difference by sharing information and talking about what is happening. Even if you have a small Instagram account, you can already make such an impact. Even one person who sees the truth counts, because that person can then pass it on. It's a domino effect. Here are some great Instagram pages with lots of information about what is going on in Israel: @standwithus, @yosephhaddad, @idf, @rudy_israel, @carolinedamore, @noatishby
Don't forget the importance also of holding rallies and hanging posters to release the hostages! Here you can find a link to print posters.
Buy from Israel to support the Israeli economy. Local businesses in Israel are suffering now and by buying products from Israel, you can help more than you know! Life is expensive in Israel and it can be very difficult to make ends meet. More about where to shop coming very soon. Until then, if you shop at Tales of Israel, you also support Israel because 10% of your purchases is donated to needs for our IDF soldiers and their families at home.