Israel, a small country of 8 million people, established in 1948, with a rich history as the cradle of the world’s monotheistic religions, has witnessed, in the last couple of decades, an unprecedented technological innovation revolution---to the extent that it is now called “The Startup Nation”. Driven by its entrepreneurship culture, government investments, and waves of educated immigrants, Israel has become a technology and innovation pioneer. In 2015, Israel was ranked 5th in the world in the Bloomberg Innovation Index, ahead of the United States and the United Kingdom, with Tel Aviv ranked 2nd in the top 20 entrepreneurial hot spots in the world after the Silicon Valley. Israel has the highest number of startups per capita, and is number 2 in the world in total number of startup companies. In 2015, Israel attracted almost $5B worth of investment in high tech spread over 708 companies and its high tech exits totaled $9B, the highest in Europe. Most leading global companies such as Facebook, Google, Intel, and Microsoft have established innovation centers in Israel.
Some Practical Information
The currency in Israel is the "New Israeli Shekel" (NIS) or “Shekel” for short. The representative rate as of writing this information is 3.80 NIS for 1 U.S. Dollar. A more up-to-date rate can be obtained by typing "1 USD in NIS" into Google's search engine. Similar exchange rates can be found for other currencies, e.g. "1 euro in NIS".
All major credit cards are accepted in stores, restaurants and the like. Credit cards are not always accepted by taxi drivers and are not accepted on public transportation (except at the train station).
The electric current in Israel is 220 volts AC, 50 Hz.
Most Israeli sockets are of the three-pronged variety (Type H). In most cases, it can accept the European two-pronged plugs (Type C), but does not accept the US Type A. See http://www.worldstandards.eu/electricity/plugs-and-sockets/
You have will free Internet access at the conference hotel, both in the guest rooms and at the conference.
There is no need to rent a car for the conference. The transportation from the airport to Tel Aviv is very reliable. Of course, if you would like to strike out on your own, a rental car can be a good option.
When you get into a taxi, always tell the driver to use his meter. He is required by law to put it on. If he offers you a fixed price, the chances are he is not losing out. The exception is coming from the airport where there are set prices. Speaking of which—use only authorized taxis (as opposed to gypsy taxis) when coming from the airport, if you decide to travel by taxi. Get Taxi works in Israel. Uber does not.
Weather information can be obtained from Google's search engine by typing "weather in Tel Aviv Israel". Please note that rain and cool weather are headline news at the end of June (i.e., rare). Come prepared for hot weather. With this said, if you are going to be outside in the evening, you may want to bring a light jacket.
Dress in Israel is casual. Jackets and ties are rarely worn at weddings and never at conferences. With this said, if you wear a tie, we will still let you attend the conference.