Israel (and occupied Palestinian Territories) Driving and Car Hire Info
Driving In Israel (and occupied Palestinian Territories)
Before driving abroad in Israel you should check the latest security advice on your government’s website as there may be travel advisories in place for certain areas.
Israel drives on the right and you can use the photo licence of any country to drive here. If your licence doesn’t have a photo or isn’t written in Roman alphabet, an International Driving permit is recommended. Speed limits are 100-120kmh on highways, 90km on rural roads and 50kmh in urban areas. All cars must also contain a fluorescent vest for eacfh occupant and you must wear these if you have to get out of the car to make repairs, change tires, etc. If the police stop you and the vehicle doesn’t have a fluorescent vest, you will be fined , so make sure the rental car has one before you set off
Israel’s road network covers 18,000km which 450km of multi-lane routes with dividing barriers and emergency lanes which are classed as freeways. There are also a large number of high speed expressways, which are multi-lane but don’t meet freeway criteria. Israeli highways have even numbers for North-South routes, and odd numbers for East-West.
Routes classed as freeways are –
Highway 1 – Tel Aviv- Ben Gurion International Airport- Lod- Jerusalem-Jordan River
Highway 2- Tel Aviv – Herzliya- Netanya- Hadera-Haifa
Highway 5 -Tel Aviv – Ramat Hasharon-Petah Tikva- Rosh HaAyin- Ariel
Highway 9- Mikhmoret- Elyakhin- Hadera-Maor – Sde Yitzhak
Highway 20 – Gan Sorek-Rishon LeZion – Bat Yam- Holon- Tel Aviv- Giv’atayim -Ramat Gan-Herzliya
Highway 22 – Haifa -HaKrayot -Kfar Masaryk
Other major roads not classified as freeways are-
Route 4 – Erez Border Crossing (Gaza) to Rosh HaNikra
Route 6 – Kiryat Gat to Barkai
Route 40 – Lotan to Kfar Saba
Route 65 – Caesarea to Afula
Route 70 – Zichron Yaakov to Shelomi
Route 90 – Taba Border Crossing to Metulla
The only toll road is Highway 6/ The Trans-Israel highway which runs for 180km between Shoket -Rosh HaAyin -Eliakim . Tolls are collected electronically via a vehicle transponder which all rental cars should be fitted with. For vehicles with no transponder, vehicle number plates are logged and a bill is sent to the licences owner. More details on payment and how to get a transponder here.
Main routes and roads in cities are usually in very good condition. Compared to most Middle Eastern countries, driving in Israel will feel more familiar to European and US visitors. Road signs are written in Hebrew, English and Arabic so navigating isn’t difficult, though a satnav will be useful in cities. Most drivers abide by road rules but expect some to drive at high speed and be impatient at red lights and in traffic queus – expect plenty of horn sounding! Headlights must be used during all intercity travel, both day and night, during winter. Police vehicles travel with their blue lights flashing at all times- if they want you to stop they will sound their siren.
If you’re travelling through a desert area, go with others if possible, take a large supply of water and a mobile phone, and let someone know your itinerary and expected time of return.
Driving To/In Occupied Palestinian Territories
Before travelling to the OPTs, check your government’s website for the latest updates as there may be travel advisories in force covering some or all areas. You must produce a passport and immigration slip, to cross between Israel and the OPTs.
One of the main challenges of driving in Gaza, West Bank and East Jerusalem is direction finding, as apps such as Google Maps and Waze have only basic information on roads. (Though Maps.me has better coverage). Also, as there are restrictions governing where cars with Israeli and Palestinian plates can drive, navigating can be difficult. Also, the question of whether rental cars from Israel can be driven into Palestinian territories is a favourite on travel forums, with the answer changing constantly. My understanding is that only cars rented from a number of Arab owned companies in East Jerusalem can be driven into the occupied territories. Israeli vehicles can be driven in, but rental vehicles, expecially from the big multinational comapnies are restricted due to insurance complications.
Road standards aren’t as good as those in Israel and road signs are less frequent, which, coupled with the satnav /map issues mentioned above, can make navigation difficult. Old cities such as Bethlehem have a lot of narrow, busy roads in the centre. Many roads are steep and with tight corners. Driving style can be fast and unpredictable too.
Although I try and keep the information in the site updated as much as possible, in a rapidly moving world, situations can change daily. Therefore please use the site as an approximate guide, and in conjunction with other resources in order to form your view on driving conditions, roads, safety etc.
Israel Car Rental –
Sixt, Hertz, Europcar, Alamo, National, Avis, Budget, Thrifty, Dollar, all have offices in Israel.
We currently have no local car rental partners in Israel. If you are a local car rental company who would like to feature on DriverAbroad.com please check details on our Partnering page or contact us on ADriverAbroad@Outlook.com