As you might already know, in the Middle East not all countries sell alcohol or even drink it. In some Middle Eastern countries it is possible to buy and drink alcohol in certain places such as hotels and restaurants but in other countries it is not possible at all. What is the situation in Palestine?
Palestinian is predominantly a Muslim country where alcohol is forbidden according to the teaching of the Quran. Regardless of this fact, Palestinian law does allow the production and sale of alcohol. However, in some cities the production or sale of alcohol is not allowed. For example, in Hebron, which is the most conservative city in all Palestine, drinking and selling of alcohol is not permitted at all.
Bethlehem City, which is only 30 minutes away from Hebron is a totally different story altogether. Christians make up less than 50% of the whole population of approximately 30,000 people. In Bethlehem you can find all kinds of alcohol in most shops, restaurants and cafés.
You might think that alcohol is allowed only in Bethlehem but this is not the case. In Ramallah you can also find alcohol in its shops, cafes and restaurants. In Birzeit, which is near Ramallah, there are long-standing traditions of excellent wine and beer production.
Am I allowed to drink in public in Ramallah or in Bethlehem?
The simple answer is no, it is not permitted to drink alcohol in public but you can drink alcohol at a restaurant, cafe and your house. To sit in a park and drink alcohol with a picnic however is not permitted.
Is there a legal age for purchase of alcohol?
In Palestine, the law does not define the legal age for the purchase of alcohol but ‘custom’ is that those who are under 18 are not allowed to buy any alcoholic products.
What about Israel? Is alcoholic allowed there?
In Israel, drinking and buying alcohol is permitted but as in Palestine, not in all regions. In Arabic communities inside of Israel, alcohol is forbidden. This includes buying, drinking or even carrying alcohol. Not only that, carrying open containers of alcohol is strictly prevented by the law in Beersheba and Jerusalem.
What about the legal age, is it the same as in Palestine?
In Israel there is a law that forbids those less than 18 years of age from buying alcohol but also ordering it at bars, nightclubs and restaurants. Therefore, it is recommended that you always carry your ID card with you when you go out. Bars in Israel have no closing times so you can buy and drink at any time.