Important information sent by email on December 5, 2019:

 

Contact
Oana Matei
Oana@sparkconferences.com
416-844-1615 (phone or text)
While in Israel, please feel free to contact me on Whats App as well, if it’s more cost effective depending on your phone plans.

 

Have you checked your outside Canada health insurance status?
It is a good idea to call your insurance carrier and ensure you are covered to your satisfaction for the duration of your trip.

 

Extra guestrooms pre or post-event:
If you are arriving prior to the night of January 4 or staying after the event (the night of January 12 and onward), here is a link where you can book the extra guestrooms at the conference hotel. The prices are in CAD.

 

Hotel information:
The following hotel nights are included in your registration:

Check-in: January 4, 2020 – Check out: Thursday, January 9, 2020
Dan Panorama Tel Aviv
10 Kaufmann Street, Tel Aviv
https://www.danhotels.com/TelAvivHotels/DanPanoramaTelAvivHotel

Check-in: Thursday, January 9, 2020 – Check out: Sunday, January 12, 2020
Leonardo Boutique Hotel Jerusalem

Monbaz St 3, Jerusalem
https://www.leonardo-hotels.com/leonardo-boutique-jerusalem-hotel

 

Arrival at the airport in Tel Aviv:
Upon arrival to Israel, the passport control authorities will no longer be issuing a tourist visa stamp in passports. Passengers will receive a small paper slip with the entry date stamped on it.  Please treat this slip as you would your passport and maintain it with you when you travel.

 

Ground transportation from the airport to the hotel in Tel Aviv:
We have arranged for one group pick up for all arriving in Tel Aviv at 10:15 AM on January 4 on Air Canada Flight AC80. Once you exit Security, before you pick up your bag, please look for an Airport Representative holding a sign with the CEEP logo.

The Airport Representative will be waiting for the group for two hours from the time the flight landed: e.g. if the flight is on time, the guide will be there until 12:15 PM; if the flight is one hour late, the guide will be there until 01:30 PM. If by any chance you are not out of Security or don’t find the Airport Representative by this set time, please make your way to the taxi stand outside the arrival hall and take a taxi to the Dan Panorama Tel Aviv hotel.

 

Taxis:
From Ben Gurion Airport, proceed to the taxi stand outside the arrival hall. DO NOT take taxis from people soliciting inside the terminal. All licensed taxi drivers use white cars with a yellow ‘taxi sign’ and have their names and license number inside the car.

Taxis are very similar in rates to taxis in Canada. Generally speaking, cabs do not take credit cards but there are bank machines in the arrivals area (also see “Currency” section below).

If taking taxis anywhere be sure to ask the driver to use the meter and provide a receipt (they should do this routinely). The receipt usually has in it the cab ID so if you lost something it may help retrieve it.

Please have the hotel name and address handy with you when you arrive in Israel. It is the “Dan Panorama Tel Aviv” on 10 Kaufmann Street, Tel Aviv. The Hotel Telephone is +972-3-5190190 or, when dialing in Israel, simply dial 03-5190190.

There is no Uber in Israel; if you use the app it might send you to another app or just do nothing. The local app for summoning a cab is Gettaxi and you can download it at https://gett.com/il/services/taxi/

 

Check-in:
For those of you arriving on January 3, check-in on this date is 03:00 PM. The hotel will try to have your guestroom ready when you arrive; however, if the room is not available, you can leave your luggage with the hotel and explore the city on your own until the guestroom is available.

For those of you arriving on January 4, check-in on this date is 07:30 PM. This is a late check in due to Shabbat in Israel, which ends one hour after sunset on Saturday evening; therefore check-in starts when Shabbat ends. If you wish to have an early check-in guaranteed, there is a fee equivalent to 50% of the room rate and it can be arranged with the hotel now. Please let me know as soon as possible if you wish to have an early check-in guaranteed; this will be accommodated on first come first served basis. Otherwise, you can leave your luggage with the hotel and explore the city on your own until 05:30 PM when we meet for the official start of the event.

 

Shabbat – the Sabbath (Saturday) in Israel:
Shabbat starts approximately 40 minutes before Sunset on Friday afternoon and ends one hour after sunset on Saturday evening. The Sabbath is a day of rest and all public offices in Israel are closed on Shabbat, as are most private businesses. Public transportation (trains and buses in most cites) do not operate, and in more observant places, it is not easy to find an open restaurant. In religious neighborhoods (including large sections of Jerusalem), the religious character of Shabbat as a holy day is observed to its fullest. Many streets are closed to traffic and alternative bypass routes must be found to travel from one place to another.

In areas where most of the population is secular, such as Tel Aviv and most of its surrounding towns, Shabbat is expressed mainly in minimal business activity and transportation. Many secular families leave the cities on Shabbat, for relaxation and recreation in natural surroundings.

 

Welcome, Geopolitical and Security Overview:
Please check the hotel board for the name of the room where we meet on January 4, 2020, at 05:30 PM.

 

Currency:
The local currency is Shekels (NIS). The shekels have the following denominations:

  • NIS 200 / NIS 100 / NIS 50 / NIS 20 banknotes
  • 10 shekel / 5 shekel / 2 shekel / 1 Shekel / ½ shekel / 10 agurot coins

There are multiple bank machines in the arrivals area, both before and after customs. You can withdraw from your North American accounts at most machines but some banks are on different networks so if one does not accept your card use another.

If you prefer to travel with cash, money can be changed at post offices, banks, change places or hotels.

Shekels are needed for small purchases in local stores and taxis. Restaurants (though not always fast food restaurants), hotels, stores and entertainment centers accept payment by credit cards (Visa, MasterCard, and in most locations Diners and American Express). We suggest that you contact your credit card carrier to inform them of your travel dates to Israel and any other countries you may be traveling to.

 

Buses/trains:
All public transportation (except taxis) stop operating an hour before sunset on Friday and resume one hour after sunset on Saturday.

 

Tap water:
Tap water is safe to drink throughout Israel.

 

Meals included in the registration package:
Breakfast is included each day. Lunch and dinners are not provided unless specified in the program.

 

Allergies and other special requirements – Action Required:
If you have any important dietary (allergy) restrictions or require strict kosher or vegan food please let me know. If there are any other requirements that we need to be made aware of as organizers, please let us know.

 

Food:
Almost every restaurant in Israel has menus in English. Please feel free to research restaurants on line ahead of the conference.

Reservations are a must at the top restaurants, particularly in Tel Aviv. Israelis tip 15% in restaurants and cafes. Often this is added to the bill, but if service was not satisfactory you can ask to have it removed. When tips are not included on the bill they must be left in cash, either shekel or dollars. You cannot add a tip on a credit card.

 

Weather:
January is a winter month in Israel. Temperatures are between 5°-18° C in Tel Aviv. It may get colder around Jerusalem especially at night.

 

Clothing:
Casual clothes recommended for touring and good walking shoes. Religious sites require modest dress i.e. shoulders need to be covered and clothing should reach elbows and knees; some churches require the men to wear long pants. A shawl or scarf is needed for women (for wrapping bare-arms/legs and head covering around in holy sites and/or for additional warmth). In religious sites women should not wear pants.

On day 5, delegates are participating in a light urban search and rescue exercise. Regular hiking boots or good sports shoes are required to participate in this exercise.

On day 8, we will be going to the Dead Sea. If you wish to swim or slather on mud, please don’t forget to pack a bathing suit. Note that the high salt concentration can fade some swimsuits.

 

Electrical sockets:
Electrical sockets (outlets) in Israel supply electricity at between 220 and 240 volts AC and use a two or three round prong Type-C “Euro” plug. If you’re plugging in an appliance that was built for 220-240 volt electrical input, or an appliance that is compatible with multiple voltages, then an adapter is all you need. If your appliance is not compatible with 220-240 electrical output, a voltage converter will be necessary. You can buy one from Amazon or Best Buy or other stores.

Time:
Israeli standard time is 7 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time (Toronto time).

 

Internet:
Internet is widely available and Wi-Fi is commonly found in cafes and hotels and tourist buses.

 

Mobile phone:
Mobile phone connections are excellent, even in rural areas, and roaming agreements exist with most international mobile phone companies. Please check your agreements and adjust them if necessary before using your mobile phones in Israel (for example, Rogers, has a “roam like home” plan).

 

Whats App groups:
We have created 2 Whats App groups for networking and communication purposes while in Israel:

  1. One for all Delegates: Israel Conf. Delegates
  2. One for all Tourists: Israel Conference Tourism

It’s a good idea to download the Whats App application on your phone, if you don’t have it already.

 

Registration list and Program at a Glance
Please click here (and contact us at info@sparkconferences.com to get the passcode) to see the registration list.

 

Departing Israel:
For delegates leaving on January 12 with the Air Canada flight AC 81, departing at 11:55 AM there will be a bus to the airport leaving the hotel in Jerusalem at 07:45 AM.

For international flights, we require to be at the airport for the security check 3 hours prior to departure. Tourists flying business class or first class – 2 hours prior to departure.

 

Passport Information – Action Required: 
The hotel has requested a list of all delegates’ passport information. Would you be so kind to email me back with your passport number at your earliest convenience? You can reply to this email or call me at 416-844-1615. Now is a good time to also check your passport expiry date to ensure it’s valid for at least 6 more months after the event.