10 Things to Leave Behind When Heading to Palestine : Before you come to Palestine you’ll likely spend a considerable amount of time packing. Many will wonder what they should bring and what they should leave behind. To help you with this task we’ve compiled a list of ten things you shouldn’t pack before traveling to Hebron.
- Crop Tops and Shorts
This goes for both men and women. Hebron, Palestine is a culturally conservative city. You’ll find that women particularly dress more modestly than those in the West. While the hijab certainly isn’t required of you, dressing more modestly will help you avoid dirty looks and fit in more easily. Crop tops, short shorts, halter tops, miniskirts, and anything too tight should probably be left at home. Many female volunteers wear jeans and a cardigan over their top. While men don’t have to think about dressing modestly as much as women, they should still leave their shorts behind and they aren’t traditionally worn and may garner some stares. Flask and Shot Glass
Islam traditionally forbids the consumption of alcohol. As a predominately Muslim and fairly conservative city the shops in Hebron do not sell alcohol. Stores sell various “0% alcohol” malt beverages but volunteers report that they don’t taste like the real thing. This doesn’t mean your time in Palestine will be entirely dry, Bethlehem and Ramallah are a short drive away and have bars and restaurants that serve alcohol. Just remember that drinking alcohol is culturally taboo and over-drinking in a foreign country can put you at risk.
3. High Heels
At times while walking down the street in Hebron you may have to walk on the road, on gravel or dirt, or avoid rubbish or construction. As such, high heels and any uncomfortable footwear can be a hassle. Men and women should pack comfortable sneakers to walk around the city.
With kanafeh, baklava, shawarma, falafel, and mansef galore you’ll be eating a lot in Palestine. There are ways to eat healthy, but if you’re not so inclined you also have plenty of options.
By all means, bring your Bible, Torah, Quran, Vedas, Tripitaka, or Dianetics for personal spiritual guidance. Don’t go waving it in people’s faces or shoving it down other’s throats though. People take their religion very serious in Hebron as such it’s unwise to try to convince them that they are wrong on religious matters. No one will try to convert you to Islam while you’re in Hebron, return the favor and don’t try to convert them to your religion.
6. Bad Attitude
Travelling overseas can be difficult, especially when the culture of your destination varies from your own. It will require patience, an open mind, and good humor. Leave your frown behind and try to keep a good attitude while in Palestine no matter what life throws at you.
- Picket Signs, Gas Mask, Stones
The Excellence Center is an apolitical organization. We’ll teach you about the everyday lives of most Palestine, which includes the hardships brought on conflict with the Israelis. However, if your goal is to be provocative, join a protest, throw stones at soldiers, or do anything risky, you may want to choose another group to volunteer with.
You may want to pack a few days’ worth of shampoo, toothpaste, and soap for while you are traveling and getting settled. But Hebron has numerous pharmacies and stores stocked with just as many grooming necessities as any other country. Save some room in your suitcase by skimming on these items.
As of now 3G and 4G connections are not available in the Palestinian Territories. Israel has, for stated security reasons, forbid the services from reaching Palestinians. An agreement was reached in April of this year to allow 3G services in the West Bank but this has yet to materialize. Sim cards are available in both Israel and Palestine for phone service. Volunteers report their Israeli sim cards working near Jewish settlements in the West Bank. Wi-Fi is also available at the center and the men’s dormitory so feel free to bring your smart phones knowing you’ll be able to access the Internet there.
We hope this gives you a better idea of what to pack. Feel free to contact us if you have any further questions.