The Uniqueness of Israel
Tips for Winter in Israel
When thinking of your gap year in Israel you probably envision a great deal of sunny weather, perhaps days on the beach, or hiking under the glorious sunshine. While there will certainly be plenty of that, it is important to remember that Israel also has proper winters. It will definitely rain if you are there between November and January, and if you are in Jerusalem then there is a good chance that you will have to deal with snow. So here are some tips to help you cope with winter in Israel.
Invest in Proper Winter Gear
The rain in Israel is often accompanied by extremely strong winds. This means that a cheap umbrella basically has no chance of surviving. It is worth spending a bit more and investing in one that can withstand strong winds. Otherwise, you will find that it has been flipped inside out and is absolutely useless after the first storm of the year.
Similarly, you should invest in some proper waterproof footwear. For some reason, the streets in Israel have very poor drainage and it is not at all uncommon to see them completely flooded. Sometimes there can be as much as 15cm of water or more cascading down a street. It is not a bad idea to have some Wellington Boots to hand for days like these.
You will need to make sure your feet are properly protected even when you are inside the house. The vast majority of Israeli floors are made from uninsulated concrete and tiles, while this is a blessing in summer, they do get very cold in the winter. Make sure you have some thick socks or slippers to prevent your feet from freezing when relaxing at home.
Remember To Turn the Boiler On
Thanks to solar panels, in the summer you will have plenty of hot water at all times. However, in the winter, when the sun is far weaker, you will probably have to rely on electric boilers. For many people this will be an alien concept, but the sooner you get used to putting the boiler on about an hour before you want to shower the better. Otherwise, you may find yourself taking far colder showers than anticipated. Many flats will have timeclocks attached to the boilers, so you can set the timer to heat the water for your morning shower.
Dress in Layers
The weather during winter in Israel can be very inconsistent. It may be cool in the morning, warm after lunch, and then freezing at night. As a result, it is a good idea to dress in layers so that you can adjust your clothing as necessary. Furthermore, you may come in from a cold street to a very overheated classroom (Israelis really don’t like the cold and tend to turn the heating up very high). Therefore, being able to take a few layers off is a good idea; it’ll stop you getting warm and sleepy during your Hebrew lessons.
Some of the above may sound a little extreme, but really there is nothing to worry about. Just make sure that you have suitable clothing and you will find that you get used to things very quickly. And remember, winter in Israel is relatively short, the sun will be shining again before you know it.