Depending on what time of year you plan to visit Israel, you'll generally be met with sunshine and warm weather. And unlike neighboring countries, Israel, for the most part, is not quite so strict on dress code--almost anything goes in large beach cities like Tel Aviv but when heading to Jerusalem and other holy sites, plan to be much more modest, including covered knees and shoulders for women.
I recently returned from a week in Israel and here's what was in my bag (carry on of course):
Royal Robbins Jammer Roll Up Pants ($75): These light and airy pants are not only wrinkle resistant, but also quick drying, making them easy to wash on the go. Draw cords enable you to change the length from ankle to capris, while they always cover your knees for more conservative areas. I wore these pants pretty much every day in Israel, as they are not only great for touring, but for hiking and biking as well.
Tops: A brought a couple sleeveless tops from Royal Robbins--the Essential Tencel Tank ($50) and the Noe Shirt ($55). I don't do well in the heat so the sleeveless shirts worked great for walking around Tel Aviv during the day. Made from Tencel fabric, the tops are soft, cool, and absorbent. They also dry quickly, resist wrinkles, and help protect you from the sun.
Gap Fitted Boyfriend Linen Shirt ($55): At night when the weather cooled and all day when touring Jerusalem, I threw on this linen shirt. Always stylish, a linen shirt provides full coverage and sun protection without the added heat.
Royal Robbins Breeze Thru Tank Dress ($70): This cotton and polyester blend dress takes you from a day touring around the city to going out at night.
Sunday Afternoons Havana Hat ($29): A hat is a must, as the sun is intense in Israel. I wore the Havana Hat all day, every day. It's easily packable and a cord liner lets you cinch the hat down tight when riding around town on the Tel Aviv city bikes.
Sunscreen: Another must have. Bring your own if possible, as it can be expensive to buy in Israel.
Guidebook: I really like the Fodor's guidebook on Israel, as it covers everything from everyday markets and café life to sacred places and historical sites.
Swimsuit: Life in Tel Aviv revolves around the beach so expect to join in the fun--a swimsuit is also a must if you plan to visit the Dead Sea.
Comfortable shoes: I don't like bringing too many pairs of shoes, so these Astral Mary Jays ($79.95) are comfortable and versatile enough to walk around the city and beach all day, and dressy enough to wear out to dinner at night.
Sunglasses: Don't leave home without them. I love these retro 90s Smith Tioga sunglasses ($119) that are polarized to help protect your eyes in the heavy sun and on the water.
Sakroots Small Messenger ($45): A practical size to fit all the essentials--water bottle, small camera, guidebook, money, credit cards, and scarf--the small flap messenger in a pretty coated canvas pattern features two exterior pockets and easy, secure access to your credit cards, ID or transit card. The travel purse will even fit your iPad Mini for reading on the beach or those long plane journeys.