11 Major Differences Between Locals and Tourists in Israel

2 min read
Yonatan Engler
Yonatan Engler

Israeli culture is certainly different than other cultures around the world. And, if you want to integrate in Israel, here are 11 ways to ensure the locals know you’re one of them.

1. Only speak Hebrew to vendors at the market.

Speak like a local and you’ll get a local price.

Keywords: אֲנִי לֹא תַּיָּר (male), אֲנִי לֹא תַּיָּרת (female)

Transliteration: ah-nee lo tai-yar (m), ah-nee lo tai-yeret (f)

Translation: I’m not a tourist.

2. Always ask for the meter when taking a taxi.

Don’t let taxi drivers settle the bill when it comes to getting around Tel Aviv. Meters are always a fair price. If you need more ideas for what to say, here are 9 things you should always say to a taxi driver.

Keywords: מוֹנֶה (moh-neh)

Translation: taxi meter

3. Don’t let anyone cut you off when driving.

Driving in Tel Aviv is like being in the middle of a stampede. You must stand your ground.

Keywords: לַעֲקֹוף (lah-ah-kof)

Translation: to cut someone

4. Always bargain for a better price.

Remember in Israel, everything’s negotiable. Here’s how to understand the Israeli mentality in negotiations, so you can come out on top.

Keywords: לְהִתְמַקֵּחַ (leh-heet-mah-keh-ach)

Translation: to bargain / haggle

5. Don’t buy anything at the Duty Free.

Don’t be fooled by the tax-exempt shopping at the airport. If you’re flying anywhere outside of Israel, chances are everything you need is cheaper abroad.

Keywords: חוּץ לָאָרֶץ (chootz lah-aretz) or חוּ”ל (chool) for short

Translation: abroad

6. When you find a parking space, take it.

In Tel Aviv, the rule is: doesn’t matter how many back-and-forths it takes … If it fits, park it!

Keywords: חֲנָיָה נוֹרָאִית (chah-nai-yah no-rah-eet)

Translation: horrible parking

7. Don’t pay top price for an apartment the size of a closet.

We all know Tel Aviv’s housing situation is near-desperate, but don’t get stuck in a closet-sized apartment.

Keywords: דִּירָה פִּצִּית (dee-rah pee-tzeet)

Translation: tiny apartment

8. Make deals win-win, not win-lose.

Make the other person feel like they’re getting the better hand, and remember to use your poker face.

Keywords: הֶסכֵּם (hes-kem)

Translation: agreement

9. Take your fair share.

As the saying goes …

Keywords: אִם לֹא לָקַחַתָּ, שָׁכַחְתָּ (eem lo lah-kach-tah, shah-chach-tah)

Translation: If you didn’t take, you forgot.

10. Don’t wait in line if you don’t need to.

When you see an opening, take it. No one has time for waiting.

Keywords: סַבְלָנוּת (sahv-lah-noot)

Translation: patience

11. Don’t play by the rules.

In this jungle, you make the rules.

Keywords: אֵין חֻוקִּים (ein choo-keem)

Translation: There aren’t any rules.

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