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Time to Play Dreidel: Get Your Shekel On

Posted by Gil Travel on Dec 15, 2008 2:29:04 PM



Unlimited sums of local and foreign money may be brought into Israel as cash, travelers’ checks, credit cards or State of Israel bonds*.  Most American tourists who are in travel groups have prepaid their arrangements and have little need to exchange funds.  Dollars are widely accepted in Israel; nevertheless, storeowners and service providers are not required to accept foreign currency and are permitted to give change in shekels even if payment was made in foreign currency.

1 Israeli shekel = $0.25 U.S. dollars

shekel  Money can be exchanged at any of the street exchange bureaux, ATMs or any of Israel’s major banks (i.e.- Hapoalim, Leumi, Discount bank, FIBI and Hamizrahi).   You may change dollars into shekels legally by going to a bank, or by patronizing a money changer located throughout the main shopping areas of the large cities. Another convenient option: you can withdraw up to 1,000 shekel a day from the ATM's (in Israel they are outside most major bank branches throughout the country) with a credit card or ATM card. It's a good idea to have some cash on hand before you arrive -- we suggest about $100 worth, depending on the cost of transportation and how soon you think you'll be able to reach an ATM. You can either bring U.S. dollars to use at the airport's exchange bureau, or change your money before you even leave home.

Change Place provides a variety of financial services all over Israel, including Ben Gurion Airport and in all other border crossings. Services provided by the company include conversion of any foreign currency, ordering of foreign currency online, VAT refunds for tourists, payment of fees for passage of border crossings, and more.

There is 18% value added tax on most goods and services in Israel. At retail stores, this tax is always already included in the price. Upon making a purchase of $ 50.00 or more at a gift store that has an agreement with the VAT authorities, you should fill out a form at the store and have it s tamped there. You will be eligible, upon presenting the form and the item, for a 17% refund at the airport prior to departure. Tourist services, such as hotel accommodations and meals taken in hotels, paid with foreign currency are exempt from V.A.T tax.

Topics: Israel Travel