Conference attendees can arrange to fly into the international airports at either Tel Aviv (TLV) or in Amman (AMM). Both are served by a variety of air carriers: TLV, AMM. Where you choose to arrive will affect your airfares, your visa requirements, and maybe your ability to travel in the region after the conference (read visa info at right). Currently flight costs to TLV and AMM are comparable with flights from the USA to European cities. If this changes, or if you plan to stop in Europe during your journey, you may wish to consider one of the several discount airlines with service from Tel Aviv to various European cites: Arkia, Israir, TuiFly, British Midland BMI, ThomsonAir, Corsair, Monarch. US carriers serving Tel Aviv are Continental, Delta, and United. Other major carriers serving Tel Aviv are Air France, Alitalia, KLM, and El Al. Amman is served by such carriers as Air France, British Airways, El Al, Emirates, KLM, and Royal Jordanian Airlines. One useful site to find competitive airfares is sidestep.com.

Tel Aviv airport is a 45-minute shared taxi ride from Jerusalem, costing about $13. From Amman, take a taxi to the Allenby/King Hussein Bridge (40 minutes: taxi for about $30 from the airport, $28 from Amman), cross the Jordan River, then take a shuttle bus to Jerusalem (25 minutes; $8).

 

 

 

Petra
Petra in Jordan

Participants are encouraged to arrive early or extend their stay to benefit from the wealth of cultural legacies in the various countries of a region that is the first world of civilization. In connection with the events of the conference, participants have the option of tours to the Dead Sea, Bethlehem, Jaffa, Mar Saba, Haifa, and other locations. Participants are encouraged to consider visits to Egypt, Jordan (e.g., Umm Qais, Jerash, Petra, the Rum Valley and ‘Aqaba), and to Syria and Lebanon (e.g., Damascus, Aleppo, Tadmor/Palmyra, Ras Shamra/Ugarit, Tartus, Byblos, Baalbek). Those who wish such travel should plan several days for that purpose after or before the conference and be aware of specific visa restrictions. See Visiting Jerusalem for other tourist information.

Visa Information

No advanced visas are required for most countries if you plan to travel only in Israel, or if you fly in and out of Amman and get a multiple-entry visa in the airport. However, your visa requirements will vary depending on your country of arrival and your travel plans before or after the conference. You should make sure that your passport is valid for at least six months beyond the dates of your travel.

Israel

Citizens of many countries, including the USA and EU nations, do not require a visa to enter Israel for a stay of up to 90 days.

If you plan to travel to Syria or Lebanon after the conference, you are advised to do so before the conference. Travelers are advised to request at Israeli ports of entry and crossings that their passports not be stamped [a normal request; a visa card will be stamped instead]. The presence of an Israeli stamp -- or an Jordanian entry stamp at a land crossing -- will certainly prevent any possibility of entering those countries after your time in Jerusalem.

Jordan

The advantage of flying into Amman is that it becomes easy to take side trips (e.g., to Petra or ‘Aqaba in the south, Um Qais in the north), and to travel to Syria and Lebanon before or after the conference. (If one stops first in Tel Aviv, and still intends to go to Syria and Lebanon, it will be necessary to make sure that the passport is not stamped, then fly to Jordan in order to get a visa stamp there at Amman airport.) Jordan issues visas at most international ports of entry upon arrival. The fee is the equivalent of about $14 (10 dinar) for single-entry and about $28 (20 dinar) for multiple entry.

If you plan to travel from Jerusalem to Jordan across the King Hussein/Allenby Bridge, U.S. citizens (and maybe others) must already have a visa for Jordan in their passports. However, if you begin in Jordan with a multiple-entry visa and cross into Israel at the King Hussein/Allenby bridge, you will be able to return to Jordan the same way for your return flight.

If you arrive from Tel Aviv airport without a Jordanian visa, you can still travel to Jordan. However, you cannot make the easier and less expensive crossing to Jordan from Allenby; you would need to go to the North Bridge, the internationally-recognized crossing between Israel and Jordan. That is much more expensive in terms of car transportation (about $100 or more).

Syria

Syria in particular has many layers of civilizations and historical depth, and has the most reasonably priced handicrafts and carpets, as well as experiences that many travelers report break all the common stereotypes. If you plan to travel to Syria -- and a journey to Damascus is an unforgettable experience -- you need to be aware of special visa concerns.

It is advisable for most nationalities to obtain a Syrian visa from the embassy in your home country since a visa to Syria at border crossings for non-Arab citizens is difficult if not impossible, and could take many hours of waiting, unless there is no Syrian embassy or consulate in the country of origin. A visa application from the Syrian Consulate within the United States requires two photos and costs $131. While this cost is high, the bounties of visiting Syria are well worth it!

Please note that if you plan to travel to Syria, or to Algeria, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, UAE or Yemen, the presence of an Israel stamp in your passport, or an entry stamp from the Egyptian or Jordanian border crossing with Israel, may stop you from entering.

If you decide to fly to Tel Aviv, you would need to fly to Amman instead of crossing overland (a short and inexpensive flight) and thus have a Jordanian visa from the airport showing on your passport, in order to later enter Syria.

Lebanon

If you wish to visit Lebanon is also possible to do so in conjunction with the conference. A three-month, single-entry Lebanese visa is obtainable at Beirut airport for $35. If you already have a visa for Syria, service taxis can take you over the border to Damascus, and you can then make your way by land or air to Amman. It is also possible to fly from Beirut to Amman (but not to Israel).

Egypt

Citizens of many countries may obtain a visa for a fee ($15-$40 depending on your nationality) on arrival at major points of entry. Visitors entering Egypt at the overland border post of Taba (on the Red Sea near the Israeli city of Eilat) or at Sharm el Sheikh airport are exempted from a visa and granted a free fourteen day residence permit to visit the Aqaba coast of the Sinai peninsula, including Sharm el Sheikh, Dahab and St. Catherine's Monastery. If you wish to proceed across the Sinai Desert to Cairo, you should either arrange a visa in advance, or acquire one at the Egyptian consulate in Eilat.