Israel Do’s and Dont’s

If you are planning to go to Israel, follow the dos and don’ts in the country. This is one way you can earn respect from its citizens. By learning its dos and don’ts, you are also allowing yourself to learn Israel’s culture, laws, and acceptable behavior. The first thing to do when you plan on going outside your home country is to check whether there will be big changes once you move there. As an expat, you should be managing your expectations early. Not all countries are the same. There will be changes as to their culture, tradition, practices, etiquettes, and more.

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Before you travel abroad, you need to remember that each country is unique. For example, there might be unique things about the Philippines that Israel doesn’t have. There might be something in Israel that the Philippines doesn’t have. Learning the dos and don’ts will gear you up in your journey to Israel. So, even without prior experience visiting the country, you already know a couple of things about its culture.

In this blog, we will help you learn the basics. Whether it’s about dressing or eating, we sum up the basic things here so as to guide you before entering Israel. We hope to help you through this guide.

do's and dont's in israel

How to Behave when you are in Israel

This is a common question among expats. You can’t master all the things Israeli do in their country but you can learn the basic ones. You will also learn other things by experience and observation once you are there. So, to behave in Israel, know the dos and don’ts first.

Dos in Israel

These “dos” are basically the common things you will see people in Israel do every day. When they walk on the street, when they worship, when they eat, you will likely observe something new, which is normal for new expats. Here are the dos in Israel.

  • Do leave a tip. If some countries are not accustomed to giving tips, Israel is a bit different. If you are going to eat out, it’s customary in Israel to leave tips to Israeli and Tel Aviv waiters. Even if you are not satisfied with the service, you can leave less than a 10% tip. When the service is good, you can give less than 15%. That’s how they do it in Israel.
  • Do enjoy a heavy breakfast. Breakfasts in Israel are never light. Once you are in the country, expect that breakfast will be different than your usual coffee and bread. Do enjoy a heavy breakfast in the country and try as much local food as you can.
  • Do stop when you hear the Memorial Day siren. Israel has two days in a year when they commemorate Memorial Day and Holocaust Remembrance Day. When you hear the siren of Memorial Day, which is usually held in the spring, do stop and show your respect. You will only need to stay still and not keep walking for a minute. You will also see Israeli and other expats do this.
  • Do cross the streets using pedestrian lanes. When you are in Israel, you have to follow the street rules. Jaywalking is a big no in this country. Driving in Israel is a bit crazy since people are always in a rush. So, even if drivers are required to stop, they won’t pay any attention if you are not in the right place. To be safe, do cross the streets using the right lanes.

Don’ts in Israel

The dos and don’ts are pretty straightforward. Now, let’s summarize the things to avoid when you are in Israel.

  • Don’t talk about politics. Israelis are sensitive when topics about politics are involved. They always get heated when there’s politics in the conversation. Per the country’s history, politics has always been an issue. So, it’s better to talk about other things than politics in the country.
  • Don’t look for burgers in Kosher restaurants. Pork and shellfish are not served in this type of restaurant. So, if you want to eat burgers and other dishes with pork, you better find another place which is non-Kosher. Pay respect to the culture of Israel especially those who still uphold Kosher.
  • Don’t touch an Orthodox person. According to Orthodox Jewish laws, physical contact is restricted with a member of the opposite sex. You can only touch an orthodox person if it’s your spouse or a close member of the family.
  • Don’t be afraid of soldiers who are scattered anywhere. If you see soldiers anywhere, don’t be afraid of them. The army is mandatory in this country. Once a girl or a boy reaches 18 years old, they will undergo the training. You might not be used to seeing soldiers in restaurants, down the street, or cafés but once you are in Israel, you will be accustomed to it.
  • Don’t hitchhike. Hitchhiking is not practiced in Israel. Although there is no law allowing or disallowing this practice, it’s not a common practice in the country. Most likely, you will never find someone who is ready to help you when you try to hitchhike. You will be avoided in that case.
  • Don’t drive during Yom Kippur. Yom Kippur is considered a holy day in Israel. This is known as the Day of Atonement. Traditionally, people spend 25 hours to fast during Yom Kippur. You won’t see anyone driving on the road. As an advice, avoid driving during this holy day and respect Israel’s tradition.

Final Thoughts

The dos and don’ts in Israel might be new to you. But, this doesn’t mean that you can’t fit well in the country. Many tourists and new expats have survived because they searched about the dos and don’ts even before visiting the country. If you are planning to work here, you will need to remember each of the things listed in this blog. More often than not, this practice will not change. You might need to add some things after a couple of years of staying in Israel. For sure, there is a lot to observe.

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