Are you leading an Israel trip this summer? Is your shul coming on a mission to Israel? Are you taking a tour of Bar and Bat Mizvah students to see Israel? If your answer is yes to any of these questions – or you have a friend or colleague who is bringing a group to Israel – you are going to want to read this blog.

As a rabbi and leader of a trip to Israel, people will not just turn to you and ask questions related to Judaism, Israel, spirituality. Even before you’ve left on your trip to Israel, your students and congregants will expect that you know answers to all sorts of questions such as, “how much shampoo should I bring?” and “how can I find out if my cellphone from home will also work in Israel?”

In this post, we won’t be able to help you answer every random question thrown your way. Still, being that people are so attached to their cellphones, we do want to help you answer the question (that you are certain to be asked on more than one occasion) of, “how can I find out if my phone from home will also work in Israel?” You just might appreciate knowing the answer for yourself as well!

GSM and CDMA are the two most prevalent standards in the mobile world. In order to bring your phone with you to use in Israel, you would need a GSM-compliant mobile phone and the device should be unlocked. This means that it should be able to accept SIM cards of other carriers. Wikipedia has dedicated sections – see pages for the Middle East and in particular Israel – that list the standards used by various carriers of a particular country. If that carrier is on GSM, your GSM phone will work.

If you and/or your group will be renting SIM cards, this will work in any unlocked GSM world band phone. If your students and congregants want to use their smartphones while in Israel, make sure that they have their phones unlocked before leaving—or you’ll have some frustrated people on your hands, who will quickly develop a bad taste for the trip because they can’t get their phones to work. If you do not rent a SIM card you can use your phone from the States but you will incur high costs of roaming. It goes without saying that all iPhones, Android phones, Blackberrys and new smartphones that have SIM slots will work in Israel.


Hatzlacha and enjoy your trip!


One Response to “Coming to Israel this Summer? How to Determine if a Phone will Work in The Holy Land!”

  1. Bracha Poliakoff

    Thank you for the great info! I would love to republish it on my website so that girls going to seminary for the year could benefit from the research you have done. Let me know. Thank you!

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