Public transport in Israel is somewhat varied in quality, depending on location. The further you are from big cities, the more threadbare it becomes, and in most of the country, there is no service on the Sabbath (“Shabbat”), which runs from sunset on Friday to sunset on Saturday.
Egged אגד is the second-largest bus company in the world. Useful bus overview.
Private taxi (“monit”) מונית
Relatively expensive, but door-to-door, 24/7. If the driver offers a price for the journey, do not accept it, but ask them to turn on the meter (“mon-ay”) מונה. The exception is inter-city journeys, which are priced according to a table which the driver should show you - these prices are negotiable. Available on Shabbat.
Currently doesn’t reach all parts of the country, and stations are often in inconvenient locations. But if your origin and destination are connected, then it’s often a good option. Tel Aviv is by far the best-connected city, with four stations, having good connections to:
- Haifa and north to Nahariya
- Jerusalem - This follows the old line built during the days of Ottoman rule. Due to the hills and lack of tunnels, the route is slow, and the bus is faster, but it is stunningly beautiful and highly-recommended at least once when travelling between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. A high-speed rail link is being built and should be ready in 2018.
- South to Be’er Sheva
- Ben Gurion Airport
By far the best option for those who can afford it, offering ultimate independence, especially during Shabbat. Israeli drivers are extremely aggressive, don’t keep enough distance, and use the horn a lot. Accidents are common, due to the gap between perceived and actual driving ability. The best advice I can give for the uninitiated is to “drive your own drive” and don’t get caught up in the madness.
There are toll roads, Road 6 which runs north to south through much of the country, and the Carmel Tunnels which ease traffic via Haifa. If hiring a car, I advise avoiding the toll roads, as car hire companies add a surcharge to the already-expensive tolls. NB A stretch of Road 6 to the south is toll-free.
Personally, my best experince hiring cars has been with Eldan אלדן. Make sure the car you’re given hasn’t passed its recommended service interval (in a sticker on the windscreen), that the tyres are in good shape, and that all scratches and dents are noted before you drive away.
Parking is forbidden next to red and white curbs. Blue and white curbs usually require payment or a local resident permit during the day, and are free at night, however this does vary widely. There are yellow signs at the start of every blue and white section, so ask a local to translate to be sure. Payment is usually made by the Pango פנגו mobile app, which is in Hebrew. Some legend wrote an English guide, but it might be easier to just use car parks.