The Uniqueness of Israel
Blending In On Israeli Beaches
If you are going to spend a gap year in Israel then there is a good chance that you will be looking forward to spending some time on the beach. You will soon realise that Israel has its very own beach culture, just like all other countries, but there are some things you can do that will help you survive and even blend in.
We all know how annoying tourists can be, so to start with you should pretend not to be one. Israelis love to feel superior to those around them, and while you should obviously not give tourists any hassle, making sure you behave as if you belong will go a long way towards helping you blend in.
Something that is fairly unique to Israel is the fact that it is quite normal to leave valuables unattended on the beach. Once again, it is not a good idea to leave your wallet or telephone alone on the sand, but it is perfectly normal to ask your neighbours on the beach to keep an eye on things for you.
If you don’t yet know what matkot is you will after just a few minutes on any Israeli beach. The game is a bit like tennis or ping-pong, but without a net. It is played with two paddles and a ball and you will hear the telltale click click sound as soon as you arrive at the beach. If there are matkot players near you, there are two sensible options. If you are worried about being hit just ask them to move further away, otherwise it is probably a better idea to ask them to teach you how to play. That way you will quickly make some new local friends.
Israelis love to eat and days at the beach are no exception to this. It is common to see people bringing huge amounts of food with them and it is a great idea to do the same. There is only one thing to be careful off, keep your food off the sand, as you will find that it does nothing to improve the texture of hummus.
Like most places in Israel, Israeli beaches are not quiet. You may head to the beach hoping for some quiet time relaxing in the sun, but the chances of that happening are minimal. You will find music being blasted from all directions, despite the fact that it is actually forbidden on some beaches. You can of course bring your own speakers to the beach, or you could go for the more subtle approach of headphones.
On most beaches, there will be a place to hire beach chairs. However, hardly any Israelis will be willing to pay for them; instead they bring blankets or sheets, or just sit directly on the sand. If you don’t want to stand out as a tourist, then it is probably best you do the same.
Of course, you don’t have to follow any of the above tips and whatever you do you are sure to have a great time. One of the best things about living in Israel is how accessible the beaches are, so be sure to make the most of it!