Driving in Israel

Driving in Israel

autor iconBy Loren Minsky , August 31, 2023

Driving in Israel is on the right-hand side of the road. Roads in Jerusalem are well-maintained and road signs are generally in Hebrew, English and Arabic. The English and Arabic are usually transliterations of the Hebrew - for example, Jerusalem will be written "Yerushalayim." Visitors to Israel from western countries might find Israeli drivers to be more hasty than what they're used to - they often drive more quickly and make more sudden movements. As a result, it is advised to pay close attention to your surroundings, in particular when changing lanes or getting on and off highways. Certain parts of Jerusalem can be quite congested at times, especially the roads around (and in) the Old City, in the city center and Agripas and other streets around Mahane Yehuda Market. Within the city, it is sometimes preferable to use public transport - either the light rail or the bus - when going to very central areas such as the city center, in order to avoid the hassle of looking for parking. All in all, though, it can be lots of fun exploring Israel by car - it is a small country with excellent intercity highways and inner city roads. You'll have the freedom to go where you want, when you want, stopping at every viewpoint, town or attraction that you feel like.

Navigating Jerusalem

Jerusalem is about as far as a city can get from a grid. It is very hilly (which means lots of beautiful views) and many of the roads built on old infrastructure, creating winding ways that can be difficult to navigate. If you have an international data plan, we recommend trying out Waze, the community-based traffic and navigation app. Waze happens to be a proud Israeli product and it works very well in Israel. It will help you figure out the best way to get from A to B within Jerusalem and beyond. You can download Waze here.

Municipal street parking

Here are some rules, laws and tips regarding parking on the streets in Jerusalem. Many of these rules stand for parking throughout Israel as well. - Red and white painted curbs signify illegal parking. - A blue and white curb signifies legal, paid parking. - To buy a ticket, find a nearby machine and then display the ticket on your car dashboard. In some cases there will be a designated parking meter for each parking spot. - The other convenient way to pay are using Pango - Yellow signs near the blue and white curbs will state at what hours one must pay for parking by a blue and white curb, when it is free (usually after 6:00 or 8:00 pm until around 8:00 am) and the maximum number of hours allowed (usually two to three hours). This information is also available on the front screen of the payment machines. Parking is usually free in the evenings - check the parking signs for details. - Be sure not to pay during the hours that it is not required. - Where the curb is gray with no signs indicating that parking is forbidden or that payment is required, parking is free.

Parking lots and garages

Busy areas such as the city center, Mahane Yehuda and industrial areas, like the neighborhood of Talpiot, have plenty of blue and white parking along the streets. But because they are so busy, it is sometimes difficult finding parking, in which case, you can try one of the many private parking lots or garages. Parking lots around the city center include: Gan Haatzma’ut (Independence Park), Hillel Street, behind King George Street on Mordechai Eliash Street, Safra Square (entrance from Shivtei Yisrael Street), or in the parking lots near Mamilla Mall (more on those below).

Old City parking

The Old City and Alrov Mamilla Mall have a number of parking options for those coming by car. 

Parking near Jaffa Gate Mamilla Parking Address: 1 Kariv Street (Just outside Jaffa Gate) The Old City is closest on foot via Alrov Mamilla Mall and the Jaffa Gate entrance. 

  • Entrance: from 6:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m 
  • Cost: first hour of parking - NIS 6 (NIS 4 for each additional fifteen minutes); From the fourth hour onwards / daily parking - NIS 48

 Karta Parking Address: 1 Kariv Street (Just outside Jaffa Gate, next to Mamilla Parking) Opening hours: from 7:00 a.m. to 1:00 a.m Cost: hourly parking - 16 NIS, daily parking - 65 NIS (Jerusalem card holders are entitled to a 50% discount) 

Safra Parking - Jerusalem Municipality Address: 7  Shivtei Yisrael Street Opening hours: 24 hours a day besides Shabbat Cost: 14 ILS per hour; 84 ILS per day; discounted price from 4:05 pm to 6:00 am Parking on Saturday night after Shabbat ends is free of charge Phone: +972-2-625-0894 

Parking near the Western Wall Mount Zion Parking Just outside the Old City Walls behind Zion Gate. To access this parking lot, drive outside the walls until reaching Mount Zion. 

Park and Ride Parking Lots

For drivers who wish to use the light rail, there are park-and-ride facilities near Mount Herzl, with a multi-story car park and a first-line terminal on its roof at the street level of Herzl Boulevard, a parking lot next to the Ammunition Hill stop and at Pisgat Ze’ev. Parking is free upon presentation of a public transportation ticket.