Israeli drivers dont have a great reputation, but renting a car is a convenient and (generally) easy way to get around Israel.
Israel is served by major international car rental firms including Avis, Budget, Hertz, and Sixt whilst there are many local firms, the largest of which is Eldan. These firms all have desks at Ben Gurion Airport, as well as in towns and cities across Israel. To make your trip easier, it is also possible to rent a GPS system.
Rental cars from these (and most firms) are all up-to-date models although arent generally replaced as often as in Europe and the USA. The standard rental cars (and we emphasize standard) are (increasing in size):
- Fiat Punto
- Mazda 2/Hyundai Getz – supermini
- Mazda 3 – hatchback size
- Mazda 6 – sedan/saloon
- Mazda 5 – small mpv
- Kia Carnival – mpv/small minivan
- Hyundai H1 – van with seats
Driving in Israel
Okay so we need to tackle the issue of the Israeli driver. Whilst the roads in Israel are pretty good, often the people using them aren’t so good, often distracted or impatient!
Roads in Israel are signed in English as well as Hebrew and Arabic and it is possible to buy English language roadmaps to the country. Israel’s road network is generally good, highways operate between cities, whilst local roads are of a good standard.
Highways in Israel
Israeli highways are numbered even for north-south, and odd for east-west. The major highways in Israel are:
Route 1 – Tel Aviv to Jordan River
Route 2 – Tel Aviv to Haifa
Route 4 – Erez Border Crossing (Gaza) to Rosh HaNikra
Route 6 – Kiryat Gat to Barkai
Route 20 – Rishon LeZion to Herzliya
Route 40 – Lotan to Kfar Saba
Route 65 – Caesarea to Afula
Route 70 – Zichron Yaakov to Shelomi
Route 90 – Taba Border Crossing to Metulla
So you have the car, but where can you park…? Here’s the deal.
At red and white markings, parking is generally not allowed (but in some places you can park on them at night).
Red and yellow markings show spaces reserved for specific vehicles such as bus stops – so you cant park on these at any time.
Blue and white markings allow parking if you buy a parking permit. Often you can get these from machines at machines at the side of the road, but in other places you’ll have to buy them from kiosks.
Also, never park over at the side of the road, in a handicapped bay, or over a driveway. These regulations are pretty general, and different municipalities use them in different ways, so pay attention to signs and if in doubt try to ask!