Last updated on November 19th, 2023
Even though it is very important to wear modest clothing to religious places (synagogues, neighborhoods, etc.) there is a raging secular society in Israel that is not afraid to show some body! Showing your stomach is not a big deal in cities like Haifa or Tel Aviv. Also, very few Israeli women wear shorts! Even though it is VERY hot in Israel, wear pants and get used to it. Jeans, stretch, or wide legged pants – you can buy these for basically 5 American dollars in most places in Israel. Shirts that are very “Israeli” can be anything from a tight fitting three quarter blouse or a t-shirt cut at the neck so that it hangs off your shoulders. Scarves are a nice thing to have to cover your hair. If you are going on a hike or walking in the desert you are actually better wearing thin loose pants or a wide cotton skirt than shorts just because you will appreciate the protection from the sun. And don’t depend on borrowing sun tan lotion from an Israeli friend. It is not that common. And most importantly tell your male counterparts not to bring really nice clothing. Israeli men dress VERY casually (the classic picture is the shirt open at the neck and khaki pants.)
Lize, Boston/Haifa, Israel
If you are planning on traveling alone in the cities of Israel take a light weight skirt that reaches below the knee, modest short sleeve top (loose T-shirt okay), and a large scarf (to use when needed…one that covers your arms is preferable). This outfit will get you into the religious sites and keep you from being hassled by the more traditional or religious folk.
Alexy, Hamilton, New Zealand
Although Israel is boiling hot in the summer, you must wear a long skirt and long sleeves to get into most of the religious sites.
Liana, Calgary, Canada
I live in Israel and I strongly recommend a comfortable hat for travellers – I have a packable crocheted hat. This is good for visiting religious sites AND for walking in the sun. It gets quite hot here.
Sue, Kiryat Motzkin, Israel
Travelling in the Middle East, I found my two most useful clothing choices were: a puffy, white, long-sleeved cotton blouse, and a full, calf-length, black cotton skirt. Both were cut generously enough that I was cool and comfortable, sober enough that no one could confront me, and formal enough that I could wear them to Shabbat dinner (Israel)and to mosques (Egypt) alike.
Miranda, Victoria, Canada
Shorts and miniskirts are inappropriate for visiting the sacred sites of all the religions, Jewish, Muslim and Christian. Even sleeveless tops are looked down upon by some. Otherwise, dress is casual, even in good restaurants.
Sally MacDonald, Travel Section, The Gazette
In Israel, be sure to dress nicely. Black is popular in the universities, and tight clothing is how to fit in. If you are blonde, watch it! I stuck out big time in Israel and Egypt with my blonde hair, haven’t learned exactly what to do about that one. I guess a scarf or a quick dye job?
Tracey, Tennessee, USA