Me and a mate are going to Israel for 8 days in March, and cause we're going for such a short tme I'm trying to plan ahead. Can anyone recommend a good place to spend Shabbat (sabbath)? I think I'd really like to spend it in Jerusalem, but I'm worried everything will totally shut down? Can anyone advise?
Shalom Charlee - glad to hear you are coming to Israel!
Not everything closes in Jerusalem over Shabbat - only shops in the "new" city (new since the mid-19th century) and kosher restaurants. But there are lots of non-kosher restaurants open and of course, 3/4s of the Old City ARE open - with much to see and do. As well, both the Israel Museum with the Model of 2nd Temple Period Jerusalem and the Shrine of the Book (the repository of the Dead Sea Scrolls) as well as the Museum of Jerusalem in the Tower of David (just inside the Old City near Jaffa Gate) are open 10-4).
If you haven't yet made reservations somewhere, get to it, as tourists seem to be flocking to Jerusalem these days and hotels are filling up.
By the way, you didn't say WHEN in March you are planning to visit - note that Christian Holy Week begins Sunday the 28th and the first night of Passover is Monday the 29th... so the earlier in the month you plan to come, the better - otherwise, you'll find hotels unable to take your reservation and the streets and shops and restaurants quite full!
Have a GREAT visit!
8 days is short-term visit, so, ur right, trying to plan.
About Shabbat - it's all depends you:
IF you religious Jew and wish to spend Shabbat by traditional way - you should try to be invited to spend time with religious family (it's not difficult to manage). In this case Jerusalem can be good idea, or Bnei Brak or Raanana as well.
IF you are not religious - you'd better stay in Tel Aviv, that alive 24/7.
Jerusalem became very orthodox last years - I would not going there in shabbat
Shabbat (From Friday afternoon to Saturday late evening) shut down - it is what you need to keep in mind.
It's NO public transport in all the country.
Offices and most of public places will be closed too (even supermarkets).
Part of museums would be opened, restaurants and fast-food opened in Tel Aviv and various not-Jewish places. Taxi or rented car can pass almost everywhere exsept of religious neighbourhoods (parts of Jerusalem, Bnei Brak etc) which are closed for traffic. Most of tourist attractions would be opened everywhere, just keep in mind transportation problem.
March is very good weather, flowers and greenery everywhere.
Hope you'll enjoy your visit!