SAM 2010 - Local Information
The workshop will be held at the Ma'ale Hahamisha hotel, located at Kibbutz Ma'ale Hahamisha (Hebrew for "Ascent of the Five", in memory of five of its founders who were killed in 1937 while paving the way up to the mountain). The Kibbutz is situated between Tel-Aviv and Jerusalem, about 15Km (10 miles) from Jerusalem and 65Km (40 miles) from Tel-Aviv, a 20-30 minutes' drive from Ben-Gurion International Airport.
Public transportation to / from Ben-Gurion International Airport generally includes train, bus and regulated taxi service. Convenient train service from the airport is available to the Tel-Aviv area, as well as to Haifa and the north and to Be'er-Sheva and the south. However, although train service to Jerusalem exists as well, this service is indirect, slow and inconvenient. Convenient bus service to Jerusalem, as well as to all other major cities, is available. Note, however, that there is no bus or train service to Ma'ale Hahamisha (the workshop's venue). Therefore, the only possible means of public transportation to the workshop is by taxi – either special taxi service (at a cost of approx. 150 NIS ($ 40) from the airport) or shared taxi service (at a cost of approx. 60 NIS ($ 16) from the airport). Pls be advised, that although some taxis can take credit-card payment, most taxis cannot, and it is therefore suggested to ask the driver in advance. All taxis operating from Ben-Gurion take US Dollars or Euros (but it is recommended to get Israeli Shekels in advance, because the exchange rate used by the taxi drivers may not be favorable for the passengers...).
Note further, that public transportation in the form of buses and trains is halted (in observation of the "Shabbat") from Friday afternoon at around 16:00 until Saturday evening at around 19:00. Taxis operate normally during this time, but often at a somewhat higher fare.
The official Israeli currency is the New Israeli Shekel (NIS) (generally called the "Shekel", it has been "new" since 1985), divided into 100 Agorot. The current approximate exchange rate is 3.65 NIS per 1 US Dollar and 5.00 NIS per 1 Euro. All major credit-cards are generally accepted nearly everywhere.
Reimbursement of Value-Added Tax (VAT):
All prices in Israel include 16% VAT. Tourists visiting Israel are entitled to a complete VAT refund for selected services and goods. All VAT refunds are handled by a company called "Change Place". Please see the relevant web-page for the precise eligibility conditions and procedures.
3-pin connection plug, 220V, 50 Hz.
The beginning of October usually brings somewhat unpredictable weather, usually (but not always…) sunny, nice and warm. Temperatures highs in the Jerusalem Mountains area (the conference venue) can range between a cool 160 centigrade (600F) and a hot 300 centigrade (860F). Evenings might be considerably cooler. Rain is generally unlikely, but is certainly possible.