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It’s always a good idea to take out a travel insurance policy before leaving home. In addition to the usual coverage for sickness (visiting an emergency room/casualty ward can be expensive) and theft, make sure that your coverage is appropriate for your specific needs. For instance, if you plan to scuba dive, skydive or ski, make sure your policy covers these activities. Almost all policies exclude liabilities caused by 'acts of war'.

Worldwide travellers’ coverage is available online at www.lonelyplanet.com/travel-insurance.

Even as a tourist, it's possible to get pretty complete medical coverage at reasonable rates through one of Israel's excellent HMOs provided you’ll be staying for at least three to six months. For details, drop by one of the offices of these organisations:

Maccabi Healthcare Services (www.maccabi4u.co.il) Look for details on its Well-Come program.

Me’uchedet (www.meuhedet.co.il) Provides coverage under its Foreign Members Plan.