I want to briefly address what it was like to drive in Israel, just in case you are visiting and considering it. In short, it was generally easy.
My Driving Experience In Israel
The process was tedious, but no different than most U.S. rental car counters (it’s why I love Emerald Aisle from National). The office was about a mile away from the garage, which required taking a shuttle and then going down several levels. The car seat for my three-year-old looked about 20 years old, but I wasn’t going to cancel the journey north because of a questionable car seat…I drove carefully (especially with all the traffic cameras conveniently placed along major highways). The car was beat up and I just cannot stand Hyundai, but that was the best they had in automatics…
On that note, just don’t speed in Israel. There are cameras everywhere!
If you’re renting a car, you’ll also probably want to avoid Highway 6, also known a the Trans-Israel Highway. The toll is less than 30NIS (about $9) which is not bad at all, but your rental car company will hit you up with an administrative fee that more than doubles that amount and you actually don’t save that much time.
We took the costal highway up to Nazareth and the Sea of Galilee, which was very picturesque. Traffic was not bad until we reached Nazareth.
Driving in Nazareth was extremely difficult; I don’t recall ever driving in a more difficult city, including in Manhattan. The streets were narrow and crowded and street signs are few and far between. Google Maps did well overall, but failed me a couple times. Finding streets parking in front of my guest house was a miracle…
When we returned to Tel Aviv to spend our last night at The Jaffa, I did find street parking outside the hotel, but I couldn’t read the street signs (Hebrew only) or the meter, so I just had the hotel valet it.
The drive to the airport was painless on a Sunday morning.
With the exception of Nazareth, driving was easy in Israel. I briefly considered taking the car into the West Bank Zone B/C (to visit Jehrico), but (wisely) decided not to risk it. Doing so would have invalidated the insurance on the car. You can drive through the Israeli-controlled Zone A without insurance fears. If you are exploring Israel on your own, a car is a must: don’t be daunted by driving. Even in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv it was very manageable.