How to get to Israel?
July 21, 2006 4:11 PM   Subscribe

How can I get from Turkey to Israel via boat given the current open border crossings? Does anyone know of specific companies that make this trip? If it is not possible to go direct, can I go through Cyprus or Egypt?
posted by christy to Travel & Transportation around Israel (4 answers total)
I don't know, but going through a non-Arab country like Greece might help.
posted by caddis at 5:31 PM on July 21, 2006

there are pretty regular israel-cyprus ferries, but you'd be sailing into haifa, and that may or may not be such a good idea right now.
posted by judith at 6:21 PM on July 21, 2006

Right now those waters are militarily contested, what with Israel sailing gunboats around and Hizbollah firing anti-ship missiles at them. After a noncombatant Egyptian ship got hit, I'd be very surprised if there is any commercial shipping running through those waters.

I think your best bet would be to fly, probably via Cyprus, but as mentioned above possibly through Athens.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 10:25 PM on July 21, 2006

Um, according to this thread on the Lonely Planet ThornTree from today, it's impossible to go by boat from Turkey or Cyprus to Egypt or Israel, even in peacetime - the services just don't exist. The last ferry was operated in 2001 by Salamis Ferries, and their website doesn't even list Haifa as a destination. Sorry.

However -

You can go overland from Turkey to Syria to Jordan to Israel, and then "out" of Israel from Egypt or Jordan, or via air. Info about trains from Istanbul to Damascus here, info about trains all the way to Amman here. Note that Syria won't let you in on the return journey if you've got an Israeli passport stamp or any other evidence that you've been there.

Or, if you just want to get there, you can fly from Istanbul to Tel Aviv on Turkish Airlines and El Al, no Cyprus/Greece stop required: Israel and Turkey (seemingly) get along fine. Arkia offers charter flights from Antalya to Tel Aviv, though I can't figure out how to book on their website.

If you're already in Turkey, I'd go to a travel agent and let them set this up as they might have more access to deals/charters/what-have-you.

Have a safe trip!
posted by mdonley at 5:15 AM on July 22, 2006

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