No vacation in Israel is complete without hitting the beach, if only to guarantee that light tan that will make your sun-deprived colleagues back home even paler with envy.
But going to the beach here is not without its unique traditions and particularities, and could potentially leave you feeling like a fish out of water. The surest way to blend in on an Israeli beach is not to be glaringly pale, or worse, deep purple from a beach day gone horribly wrong.
So how are all your sunbathing neighbors sporting that golden tan? The secret lies in military-grade planning that involves hitting the beach all the way back on that freakishly hot day in March, which was completely dedicated to skipping school or work and getting started on summer skin.
A favorite Israeli beach side pastime involves feeling immensely superior to everyone else see above for thoughts on sunburned tourists or, alternatively, dedicating yourself entirely to hitting on foreign female beach goers.
In slight contradiction to the above point, your intimidating Israeli neighbors will, at some point throughout the day, ask you to watch out for their valuables while they go for a dip in the sea.
Matkot is a sport that unfortunately ranks as the No. This game of beach paddle ball resembles ping-pong minus the table and net and involves less-than-amazing players shooting off balls in all directions, most usually your head. Our second tip: Ask if they can teach you how to play. Not only will the chances of a ball hitting you immediately drop, but you might make some new local friends.
No occasion in Israel is complete without consuming too much food, and a day at the beach is no exception. To be fair, the salty air is an appetite stimulant, but the obscene amounts of food consumed while wearing minimal clothing really is something special.
In the not-so-distant past, Israeli beaches at the height of summer very much resembled landfills, full of trash left behind by families and individuals alike. Recent years have seen improvement, but many local beaches are still not as clean as could be. The usual suspects? Cigarette butts, snack wrappers see Bamba from above point and plastic bottles.
You head to the beach, full of hopes for a blissful, relaxing day. And no, their music is never good. If you find yourself greatly disturbed, ask for the volume to be turned down. Or even better, wait for a fellow beach-goer with better Hebrew to do so first.
No Israeli would ever pay an extortionate amount for the pleasure of sitting on a sticky, sweaty plastic chair, and neither should you. Instead, lounge around like a true local: Bring a large sheet, spread it over the sand and sit picnic-style together with family and friends.
Wondering why the lifeguard is repeatedly bellowing out on his deafening sound system? The famous Israeli self-confidence unfortunately also extends to the sea, with many beach goers sure they know best and have everything under control. At no point of the day is this more prominent than the early evening, when beach-goers make their way back into the city, crossing the streets still clad only in their swimwear.
There are some rules to be followed here, though. It is generally acceptable to keep flashing some skin on the beach side promenade and the street or two adjacent to it. Farther into the city, however, most people put their clothes back on.
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Israeli drones help Florida power plant spot storm damage. Pet therapy works wonders in Israeli special-needs yeshiva. A spot of sunbathing on Ashkelon Beach. Photo by Shutterstock. Come already tanned The surest way to blend in on an Israeli beach is not to be glaringly pale, or worse, deep purple from a beach day gone horribly wrong. Leave your valuables unattended Leave your valuables behind. Photo by Linneah Anders.
Watch out for matkot balls hitting your head. Photo on a beach in Ashkelon by Shutterstock. Anyone for a picnic? Photo of Tel Aviv beach by Shutterstock. Try and keep the beach as clean as you can. Photo by Kfir Sivan. Photo by Shaina Gluckman. Lifeguards on Metzitzim Beach, Tel Aviv. Photo by Ido Biran.
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