To help you to get to know Israelis socially on your first visit, we’ve prepared a short list of useful information about Israel from the many guides and tips available online.
Communicating – Israelis are known to be direct and to the point. They don’t play word games. They tend to tell you what they feel and think. Foreigners regard this Israeli social behavior as rude and aggressive but there’s no bad intention. It’s just the way they are – also speaking quickly and loudly. If you can see the good nature behind all these strange displays, you’ll have won!
Equality – Men and women are considered equals and there are few jobs today where you don’t find both sexes. There is an equal opportunity law.
Timekeeping – While Israelis will try to keep to time in business situations, socially things are more relaxed. People don’t get upset if you miss your appointment by 20 minutes or so.
Driving – Generally Israelis are OK but their patience is short if you delay moving when you should. In other countries they will wait quietly but here they may well use their horn. Such Israeli social behavior can be annoying, but you just have to accept it. It may be one of the first things you notice on your Israel visit.
Gifts – If you’re invited to somebody’s house, it’s nice to bring a small gift like flowers, a box of chocolates or a bottle of wine.
Greeting – The universal word is ‘Shalom’ which means ‘peace’. If you find yourself in the company of Orthodox Jews, you should understand that their women don’t shake the hands of strange men. Their women don’t shake the hands of strange men.
Dress code – Israel is a relaxed society where ‘casual’ is the style – either ‘whatever-you-like’ casual for social events or ‘elegant casual’ for business events and formal events like weddings. By elegant casual, we mean jacket but no tie.
Tipping – You’ll usually leave a 10-15% tip in restaurants (but check whether a tip is included in your bill). Waiters in restaurants are often young adults making extra money. The restaurant owners don’t pay them wages so waiters have to survive on their tips. It’s a crazy, unfair system, but that’s the way it is. Food delivery people also get tipped. Taxi drivers, hotel staff and tour guides also get tips.