It is the site of most religious stories you've ever heard... Abraham and Isaac, The Crucifixion, Mohammad Riding the Buraq... but I was most inspired by the people that come to Jerusalem. Their poignant, palpable faith is inspiring and gives the city a magnetic energy.
1. Take Long Walking Tours
Skip the hour-long free tour... there is far too much history here! The best way to see it is to on-foot with a guide who can explain the significance across many religions because so many sites have shared meaning across Judaism, Catholicism and Islam. We loved the Sandeman's "Holy City Tour" which did just that and then takes you up to Temple Mount / Dome of the Rock. Grab some pomegranate juice and get out there on foot!
2. Dress in Lightweight Modest Clothing
Wear long sleeves and long pants, otherwise at the entrance to Muslim sites like Dome of the Rock you'll be asked to wear a skirt or shall when you enter. Oops! It is hot, so keep it breathable.
3. Consider a Sherut from Ben Gurion Airport
These shared taxis are commonplace and unless you are renting a car to drive to the dead sea, make it much easier and cheaper.
4. You Will See Armed Forces and Increased Security
The military presence is noticeable, but do not let that scare or detract from your experience... just bake in extra time for security outside sites like The Western Wall and Dome of the Rock, as well as leave at least 3 hours for the airport. Flights both into and out of Israel have increased screening, including security at your departure gate in your origin country.
5. Consider A Sabbath Dinner
Local cooks and even hostel guides invite tourists for a Sabbath dinner, a great way to meet people and experience the culture.
6. "Sababa" and "Yala!"
In Hebrew "Sababa" means "Yeah, ok, cool" and "Yala!" means "Let's Go!". You'll hear those expressions frequently, especially in tour groups.