what is the best rout to drive from Tel Aviv to Masada and how long does it take approx.?
I would suggest via HW #1 east to RT # 90 south.
On a regular traffic one can reach Masada in about 2 hours (157 KM)
You have to take in account, depending on the time, traffic congestion getting out of Tel Aviv and / or crossing Jerusalem (even when staying on HW #1)
While driving through Jerusalem may be the most obvious way I would drive through Arad in morning traffic. The trip via Jerusalem is bit more than 2.5 hours without traffic and a little less via Arad. Take road 4 south to 40 and turn left onto 31(there are signs to Dead Sea). You can either visit Masada from the west, 15 minute walk or continue driving down to the east and take the cable car or snake path. Less traffic this way. You can always drive back through Jerusalem.
The times Giora gives are ideal, no traffic driving times - in reality I would allot at leats 2 and a half hours for this drive - probably even a bit more - you never know - but it's straightforward and the easiest way to get from Tel Aviv to Masada.
Going down from Masada is a very difficult road with over 120 sharp curves, which is a challenge. (I was doing it for two years)
Giora, the road has been widened and is not difficult at all to drive on down with it's fantastic views of the landscape including the Dead Sea, as well as the desert itself.
I highly recommend going this way (on route 31) to avoid sitting in traffic which could extend the trip by quite a bit of time if going through Jerusalem.
I am with Giora and Oreet here. Driving routes 1&9 is easy going east all the time. The views coming from Arad are fabulous but it is longer and the roads are not as good as 1&90.
Is it permitted to take a rental car via 90? The agreement says not into PA controlled areas, but I don't know if that means all of the West Bank or what. I know not Jericho, but not sure how wide of a berth we are supposed to give it. Thanks!
The PA-controlled areas are the Palestinian cities only. Highway 1 and Route 90 are outside those areas and totally under Israeli security control -- no problem.
And, yes, these are the routes to take. Listen to that advice and avoid the Arad route.
There is no extra distance necessary. You can not not go into PA territories. The areas themselves, i.e. Jericho, Bethlehem, Ramallah, Tull Karem, Jenin, Nabulus etc. you can not enter. You can drive right up to the checkpoint if you had nothing better to do.
So to answer simply, YES, you can take a rental car on 90. ( btw, rather than wait for an answer, you could have searched for forum. This question is frequently asked. )
Thank you very much for your specific answers. I did in fact search the forum, and did not find a recent answer. I drove all over the West Bank in an Israeli rental car in 1991, including Jericho, but timing matters in places where political situations are more dynamic. I also picked up hitchhiking soldiers then, too, which I understand now is not permitted.Edited: 28 December 2013, 21:19