If you are new in Israel or just visiting for a couple of days or weeks, there are a few apps you can’t survive without. Apps that will help you navigate whether it’s by bus or by car, apps that will help you order food and the app for ordering a taxi. Let’s have an inside look at the Israeli lifestyle through the most common apps, and trust me, you’ll be surprised how influential they are!
WhatsApp is the most popular app in Israel, one that has completely monopolized texting. It’s the first app downloaded to our phones and we use it to talk to everyone, whether it’s our mom, colleague, friend, or our boss! It even has its own noun in Hebrew: A WhatsApp message in Hebrew is וואטסאפ, and a couple of messages are וואטסאפים (wahts-ah-peem). We simply looove WhatsApp groups, it’s the fastest way to communicate with friends, colleagues, family – and extended family (mine is called Dear Family משפחה יקרה (meesh-pah-chah yeh-kah-rah). We even open temporary groups for one-time events like birthday parties, bachelorette parties or a weekend in Greece. It’s a known fact that the juiciest WhatsApp group is the one with all the kids’ parents, gossiping about teachers and planning a coup together.
An Israeli invention, Waze is a satellite navigation software that helps you navigate by car אוטו (oh-toh). It can give you the estimated arrival time to your destination according to different variables, such as traffic jams פקקים (pkah-keem) and blocked roads. It’s mainly used in Israel but you can also use it all around the world, including your choice of route (you can choose a route without toll roads for example). Because we are so dependent on Waze our personal navigation skills have deteriorated as a nation (איזה באסה), but if you are renting a car in Israel you HAVE to use it. It’s especially important in Tel Aviv because it will help you avoid the “public transportations lanes”, and avoid paying a big painful fine.
Hungry? Wolt is the most popular delivery platform for food. It’s connected to most of the restaurants מסעדות (mees-ah-doht) in Tel Aviv, and to some of the restaurants in the surrounding cities like Jaffa, Givatayim and Ramat Gan. During the Covid pandemic Wolt couriers were the most essential workers in Israel (well, except for doctors and nurses), roaming the streets like knights in blue armor on shiny motorcycles. There are other delivery apps like 10bis and משלוחה, and some restaurants offer their own delivery service. The takeout scene is pretty big in Israel, so next time you’re here – give it a try 😁.
If you want to know how to get somewhere in the city, Moovit is the app you’d want to download. Just text your destination יעד (yah-ahd) and open your current location on your smartphone, and Moovit will show you the fastest way there. It calculates the distance by foot, the exact buses or trains you need to take, and shows you the estimated arrival time. You can also pay on the bus using this app, or download the “HopOn Rav Pass” app and scan the QR code on the bus.
You went out until late at night and now you need to get back home to your hostel or airbnb. If you don’t want to get ripped off by local taxi drivers or walk for 40 minutes, you might want to have one of these two apps on your phone. The taxi מונית (moh-neet) usually comes within a few minutes (in the city center) and you’d want to pay by the meter no matter what! Always always תמיד (tah-meed) ask the driver to turn on the meter and use waze for navigation. Taxi drivers (like all over the world probably) love to make conversation, so it would be nice and appropriate to engage in conversation with your driver, even late at night.
That’s it for now! Hopefully you’ll find these apps useful when you’re in Israel, and if you don’t plan on visiting soon, at least you had a peek into our daily lives – through the apps we use. 😉