Project Description

We asked several locals what most tourists and newcomers don’t know about Israeli culture before they arrive. Here’s how they responded:

1. You don’t need to tip the taxi drivers.

Photo by Adrien Ledoux on Unsplash

2. In fact, tipping a taxi driver would make you a freier

… which, in Israeli culture, is basically the Worst. Thing. Ever.

3. You should, however, tip servers and bartenders …

Photo by Artem Pochepetsky on Unsplash

… because most of them only make money from tips, not minimum wage and tips. It’s technically against the law, but Israelis don’t always love to play by the rules (more on that below).

4. Personal space is optional.

Photo by Manki Kim on Unsplash

5. But being helpful isn’t.

6. When taking a taxi, you should tell the driver to use Waze …

Photo by Rob Bye on Unsplash

… unless you want an expensive tour of the city.

7. Israelis eat a lot of hummus because it’s healthy …

Photo by Paul Goyette / Wikipedia

… but mostly because it’s cheap.

8. Personal questions about your salary, rent and mortgage are legitimate topics for discussion …

Photo by Justin Schüler on Unsplash

… even among strangers.

9. Cynical remarks usually mean we feel comfortable with you.


They’re less of an insult, and more of a friendly gesture.

10. A good amount of everyday spoken Hebrew comes from other languages …

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… like Russian, German, English and Arabic >>

11. Israelis generally don’t understand why non-Israelis want to live in Israel.

12. Israelis love their “wombos” (word combinations).

photo credit: Michal Shmulovich/Times of Israel

Here are fifteen of the most common ones >>

13. Israelis have a sound for everything.

14. There’s no such thing as a “school night” in Israel.

Photo by @shriber_guy_wedding_photograph

You can go out on any night.

15. Israelis don’t always love to play by the rules.