Israel is unlike any other travel destination in the world. Besides being the birthplace of three major religions – Judaism, Christianity, and Islam – it’s a country that’s governed by Jewish law. You’ll notice that the State almost comes to a standstill on Saturday – most shops, businesses, and government offices are closed, and public transportation is shut down. Even though a great number of Israelis are secular, the country’s institutions usually abide by and follow most of the religious rules. This also holds true for the hotel industry, as most hotels in Israel cater to the special needs of the observant.
When you’re staying at one of the hotels in the country, you might notice that there’s a synagogue on the premises. You won’t find this anywhere outside of Israel, unless you’re staying at one of the predominately Jewish neighborhoods in parts of New York or London. During Jewish holidays, the synagogues in the hotels in Israel are almost booked to capacity. Tourists from around the world want the convenience of praying in a hotel; they usually don’t feel comfortable searching for synagogues in the area. In addition, since a large number of tourists are Anglo, they share many of the same customs in the prayer service.
Many of the larger hotels in Israel have separate meat and dairy restaurants, an amenity you’ll usually not find anywhere else in the world. This is due to the Jewish dietary laws that state that meat and dairy foods can’t be eaten together. You also won’t be able to order any pork products or shellfish, unless you’re staying in the non-Jewish areas, like in East Jerusalem or Nazareth. Hotel restaurants won’t usually even allow you to bring in your own food because they don’t want to jeopardize their kashrut (kosher) certificate. The restaurants receive a kashrut (kosher) certificate from the State after they’ve complied with the dietary laws. An authorized person from the government conducts weekly spot checks to ensure ongoing compliance.
Hotels in Israel offer all of the other usual amenities as well, such as swimming pools, saunas, Jacuzzis, and fitness centers. With hotels ranging from exclusive five-star hotels to moderately priced, family oriented places, you’re sure to find the hotel that suits your needs.