• Hold down Ctrl key and select the sections you want to print. If using a Mac, hold down the Cmd key.
  • Use Ctrl + A or on Mac, Cmd + A to select all sections (if you are using the Chrome browser).
  • Click "Apply" and the site will customise your print guide in the preview below.
  • Click the "Print" button and a print pop up should appear to print to your printer of choice.

Healthcare in Israel

Healthcare in Israel is of an exceptionally high standard and is on par with many developed countries, including the USA and much of Western Europe. Most doctors and nurses in Israel are highly trained and can speak English, making it easy for expats to communicate their needs.

Israel has an extensive public healthcare system that is available for all Israeli residents, regardless of income or pre-existing conditions. There are nevertheless numerous private healthcare options for those wanting to pay extra for additional services or personalised, high-end care. The excellent quality and affordability of healthcare in Israel have made the country an increasingly popular medical tourism destination.

Public healthcare in Israel

Since the mid-1990s, Israeli residents have been legally required to join one of four non-profit health organisations which provide coverage for the Israeli public healthcare system. The universal healthcare coverage in Israel is renowned all over the world, as it benefits from the country's state-of-the-art medical technology and research facilities. 

Expat eligibility for public healthcare in Israel depends on whether they have residency and are earning a salary. Those making money in Israel are required to pay a health insurance tax, which is the country's primary source of funding for the public healthcare system.

The public healthcare system in Israel includes all basic and essential healthcare services, but additional services and treatments, such as coverage for specific surgeries, can be accessed through supplementary insurance. 

Private healthcare in Israel

Private healthcare services in Israel are known as 'Sharap'. Despite the reach and effectiveness of public healthcare in Israel, it's not uncommon for patients to wait days or weeks for non-emergency tests and surgeries. While some people simply wait for the next available appointment, many others seek private healthcare, which allows for earlier treatments or access to care at a more convenient location. On the whole, though, the overall quality of care between public and private health services is fairly equal. 

Health insurance in Israel

Expats looking to purchase private health insurance in Israel are advised to look at a variety of options before making a decision. There are numerous companies that offer private health insurance, and specialised coverage plans exist for individuals, families and groups.

Some employers in Israel provide additional private healthcare coverage on a group basis for the expat employee and their families, but this is becoming less common. 

Medical tourism in Israel

In recent years, the quality and affordability of healthcare in Israel have made the country an increasingly popular medical tourism destination. Most medical tourists come from Russia and the surrounding Arab countries, some of which do not have the same standard of medical facilities and expertise.

Many US citizens also travel to Israel for their medical procedures, as Israeli healthcare is significantly cheaper than back home.

Expats interested in travelling to Israel for a medical procedure can hire a medical tourism broker, who organises everything from travel and the logistics of the procedure to accommodation and a sightseeing itinerary. These medical brokers are usually paid by the hospital and don't charge the patient anything. 

Pharmacies in Israel

There are plenty of pharmacies in Israel, especially in the country's metropolitan areas.

While most pharmacies are open during regular business hours, some offer 24/7 services and are open during weekends. It's worth familiarising oneself with the operating hours of the local pharmacies in the area.

Health hazards in Israel

Living in Israel presents few health hazards. New arrivals who aren't used to the summer sun should avoid sunburn while also ensuring that they are adequately hydrated. In addition, a doctor should be consulted before travel in order for expats to have the appropriate vaccinations.

Pre-travel restrictions and vaccinations for Israel

Before travelling to Israel, it's essential to be aware of any entry requirements or health advisories. There are no mandatory vaccinations required for entry into Israel, but travellers are advised to ensure their routine vaccinations, such as measles, mumps, rubella, polio and influenza, are up-to-date.

Depending on the areas of Israel one plans to visit and the nature of the trip, additional vaccinations like Hepatitis A and B, typhoid and rabies might be recommended. It's always wise to consult a travel clinic or healthcare provider at least 4–6 weeks before departure to get personalised advice and any necessary vaccinations. Additionally, travellers should be aware of any ongoing health advisories or outbreaks and take necessary precautions, such as using insect repellent and practising good hygiene, to ensure a safe trip.

Emergency services in Israel

Emergency services in Israel are efficient, comprising a high-tech fleet of land, sea and air vehicles. Ambulance response times are generally fast, and some private hospitals have their own ambulance services.

Expats should make sure to memorise the necessary emergency numbers when travelling in the country, especially when in and around high-risk areas.

Emergency numbers in Israel

  • Police: 100

  • Ambulance: 101

  • Fire brigade: 102

International Schools in Israel

Israel has several excellent international schools for those expat parents wishing to educate their children outside the Israeli public school system.

International schools in Israel

Anglican International School Jerusalem

The Anglican International School Jerusalem offers a comprehensive education from pre-kindergarten to Grade 12, catering to students aged 2–18. Founded on Christian beliefs and values, AISJ is dedicated to preparing students for worldwide success, whether in schools, universities or future careers. Located on Rechov Hanevi'im in Jerusalem, the school has been fostering understanding and reconciliation since 1962, welcoming students of all faiths.

Gender: Co-educational
Curriculum: American and International Baccalaureate
Ages: 2 to 18

The Walworth Barbour American International School in Israel

Situated in a suburb of Tel Aviv and in a scenic Jerusalem neighbourhood, the Walworth Barbour American International School (WBAIS) offers a stimulating US standard-based programme. Established in 1958, WBAIS has grown significantly, now boasting two campuses in Even Yehuda and Jerusalem, and serving students from over 40 countries. The school's state-of-the-art facilities, diverse community and commitment to academic excellence make it a top choice for international education in Israel.

Gender: Co-educational
Curriculum: American
Ages: 3 to 18

Jerusalem American International School

The Jerusalem American International School, a branch campus of the WBAIS, is now enrolling students from Pre-K to Grade 8. Located in the San Simon neighbourhood in southwest Jerusalem, JAIS offers a US standard-based programme with a focus on nurturing each student for success in all life aspects. The school values its diverse community, with students from over 40 countries, and offers a variety of enrichment programmes, including a unique Jerusalem Studies programme.

Gender: Co-educational
Curriculum: American
Ages: 3 to 12

Treehouse International School

TreeHouse International School, located in Herzliya, is a culturally diverse and family-oriented institution that aims to create well-educated, internationally minded citizens. The school's mission revolves around benefiting from its diverse community and ensuring a dynamic education of a high standard. By focusing on developing intellect, creativity, and character, THIS inspires young individuals to grow into adaptable, socially responsible global citizens.

Gender: Co-educational
Curriculum: British and American
Ages: 3 to 18

Weather in Israel

Green palm tree in front of Tel Aviv skylineNew arrivals in Israel will discover a country with a delightful climate.

Israel's diverse landscape transitions from a hilly inland and mountains in the north to a Mediterranean coastline in the west and the large, arid Negev desert in the south. The weather in Israel is subject to regional variation, with the most prominent fluctuations including the increased humidity on the coast and frequent precipitation both in the north and inland.

Summers are generally warm and dry throughout the country, with average temperatures of 82°F (28°C). Winters are mild, with temperatures sitting around 54°F (12°C). Jerusalem experiences colder winters than many other regions.

Sunshine is abundant, and the heat can feel oppressive during the peak of summer. Luckily, expats living in Tel Aviv will find some respite in the cool offshore breezes. Winter yields at least six to seven hours of sunlight daily, whereas summer brings this figure to 12–13 hours a day.

Rainfall occurs primarily between October and May, although the southern desert area is continually dry.


Embassy Contacts for Israel

Israeli embassies

  • Israeli Embassy, Washington, DC, United States: +1 202 364 5500

  • Israeli Embassy, London, United Kingdom: +44 20 7957 9500

  • Israeli Embassy, Ottawa, Canada: +1 613 750 7500

  • Israeli Embassy, Canberra, Australia: +61 2 6215 4500

  • Israeli Embassy, Pretoria, South Africa: +27 12 470 3500

  • Israeli Embassy, Dublin, Ireland: +353 1 230 9400

  • Consulate of Israel, Wellington, New Zealand: +64 4 439 9514

Foreign embassies in Israel

  • United States Embassy, Jerusalem: +972 2 630 4000

  • British Embassy, Tel Aviv: +972 3 725 1222

  • Canadian Embassy, Tel Aviv: +972 3 636 3300

  • Australian Embassy, Tel Aviv: +972 3 693 5000

  • South African Embassy, Tel Aviv: +972 3 525 2566

  • Irish Embassy, Tel Aviv: +972 3 696 4166

  • New Zealand Embassy, Ankara, Turkey (also responsible for Israel): +90 312 446 3333

Cost of Living in Israel

The cost of living in Israel varies depending on where in the country an expat decides to settle and what type of lifestyle they aspire to. Urban centres are pricier than desert outposts or mountain towns. Tel Aviv, Israel's most cosmopolitan destination, was ranked 8th in Mercer's Cost of Living Survey for 2023. With three Swiss cities claiming slots three through five and Hong Kong taking the top spot, it's clear that very few countries outdo Israel regarding the cost of living.

Wages in Israel tend to be low despite the government offering numerous incentives and salary subsidies to new immigrants following the process of aliyah (the right of return). Additionally, many expats feel that taxes in Israel are exorbitantly high, with both import and excise taxes leaving buyers bearing the brunt of costs. 

Cost of accommodation in Israel

The cost of accommodation in Israel varies depending on location but is certain to be an expat's largest expense.

As in many bustling urban centres worldwide, in cities like Tel Aviv, the demand for housing often outpaces the available supply. The lack of an adequate transport system also means that people want to live close to the city centre and to work. Expats who live in Tel Aviv's centre will pay dearly for their accommodation.

That said, for the wallet-weary, house-sharing is still a popular option and a great way to save money for those who don't mind living with strangers. 

Cost of transport in Israel

Maintaining a car in Israel is highly expensive. The Israeli government does offer benefits to new expats who decide to buy a car, but there are stipulations relating to the number of years the car must be owned and the number of people who can drive it. Petrol is becoming prohibitively expensive, and Israel has some of the highest taxes on buying vehicles. 

Most locals and expats use public transport to get around in Israel, primarily consisting of trains and buses. Fares vary depending on distance and the route travelled. Individual inter-city taxis can be expensive but can be a good option for getting around in a large group. 

Cost of groceries in Israel

Groceries in Israel are costly and are among the most expensive in the world. Items like fruit, milk, bread, cheese and nappies are among the costliest. Expats can reduce their costs by purchasing in bulk and buying seasonal produce. Visiting one of Israel's many markets is also a sure-fire way to get fresh produce at low prices.

Some of the most affordable supermarkets in Israel include Rami Levy and Victory. Expats with a few bucks to spend can visit Shufersal or Mega for speciality goods at a premium. 

Cost of entertainment and eating out in Israel

The cost of food in Israel is reasonable if eating in but expensive if dining out. Thankfully, Israeli shopping culture supports haggling, so bargains can be found at markets. Evening entertainment, including going out for dinner or indulging in one or two after-work drinks, can be costly. Tickets for the cinema, music concerts or other entertainment avenues are similarly pricey. 

Cost of education in Israel

While Israel offers free primary and secondary education for all children, most expat parents enrol their children in international schools. This is because the language of instruction in Israel's schools is Hebrew, which may be difficult for older expat children. Those with young children who are planning to stay in Israel long-term should consider enrolling their children in public schools, as they are likely to learn the language faster. 

International schools are a great alternative for non-Hebrew-speaking children since they offer programmes in languages such as English, French and German. The cost of international schools is fairly high, but these institutions tend to offer globally recognised curricula and a wide range of extracurricular activities, which make them worth the cost. Parents moving with children are encouraged to negotiate an education allowance as part of their relocation contract to help offset some of the costs. 

Cost of healthcare in Israel

Expats who are earning a salary and have residency in Israel will have access to high-quality healthcare in the country. Those working in the country pay a health insurance tax to contribute to the public healthcare system, which covers all basic treatments. It's recommended that expats secure additional private health insurance to cover elective surgeries and other procedures not covered by the system. The cost of health insurance will vary based on individual lifestyle habits, age and coverage level. Generally, the more comprehensive a policy is, the pricier it will be.

Cost of living chart for Israel

Note that prices may vary depending on product and service provider, and the list below shows average prices for Tel Aviv in September 2023.

Accommodation (monthly rent)

Three-bedroom apartment in the city centre

ILS 10,900

Three-bedroom apartment outside the city centre

ILS 7,800

One-bedroom apartment in the city centre

ILS 6,300

One-bedroom apartment outside the city centre

ILS 4,600

Food and drink

Dozen eggs

ILS 17

Milk (1 litre)


Rice (1kg)

ILS 10.58

Loaf of white bread

ILS 10.05

Chicken breasts (1kg)

ILS 21

Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro)

ILS 34

Eating out

Three-course meal for two at a mid-range restaurant

ILS 350

Big Mac meal

ILS 51

Coca-Cola (330ml)

ILS 10.52


ILS 14.63

Bottle of beer (local)

ILS 11


Mobile call rate (per minute – mobile to mobile)

ILS 0.15

Internet (uncapped ADSL or cable – average per month)

ILS 104

Basic utilities (average per month for a standard household)

ILS 820


Taxi rate/km


City-centre public transport fare

ILS 5.65

Gasoline (per litre)


Visas for Israel

There are numerous visas available for expats moving to Israel, whether they're relocating for tourism, business, work or residency. Those planning to settle in Israel must be organised and patient because getting a visa or work permit can be complicated.

Bureaucratic delays are expected, and the duration for visa processing can vary based on the visa type and individual circumstances. Typically, tourist and business visas have a faster turnaround, while residence and work visas can take several months. It's always recommended to start the application process well in advance.

Tourist and business visas for Israel

Israel is a popular tourist destination. Many visitors do not require a pre-arranged visa to enter Israel, and they'll usually be granted permission upon arrival to stay for up to 90 days. But it's worth noting that the border police reserve the right to reduce this period or add restrictions, such as limiting travel within the West Bank, a part of the Palestinian territories.

Holders of normal passports from around 100 jurisdictions, including Australia, Canada, the EU, New Zealand, South Africa, the United Kingdom and the United States of America do not need a visa to enter Israel for a maximum stay of three months of tourism.

Before travelling, foreigners must ensure that their passport is valid for at least six months beyond the date of travel, and they must have space for an entry stamp. It is also worth checking country-specific visa requirements with the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Many travellers are concerned about receiving an Israeli stamp on their passports, and Israel provides a small entry card upon arrival instead of stamping passports directly. This practice acknowledges concerns about travel to certain countries afterwards.

It may also be possible to extend one's stay in Israel beyond three months. To do so, expats should apply at a branch of the Ministry of Interior in Israel.

It is a common belief that visitors with stamps from Arab countries will be refused entry to Israel on this basis. Although travellers may be subjected to additional questioning from the Border Police, many visitors enter Israel from Arab countries without difficulty.

Student visas for Israel (A/2 visa)

Those wishing to study in Israel should apply for an A/2 visa, valid for multiple entries and exits for up to one year before it must be renewed. The visa must be received before entering the country and may be applied for at the Israeli Embassy in the applicant's home country.

Expats in Israel on a student visa are not permitted to work during their studies. Applicants should provide proof of enrolment and financial support during their studies. After completing their studies, they might be eligible for a work permit.

Residence visas for Israel

Relocating to Israel can be a challenging and complex process, primarily due to the highly bureaucratic nature of the country. There are three situations in which foreigners may be eligible to gain residency in Israel:

  • A/1 visas are for people with Jewish roots living abroad who wish to move to and live in Israel. (making Aliyah)

  • A/5 Temporary Residency Visa is for those contemplating immigration or making Aliyah.

  • B/1 visas for those in a genuine relationship with an Israeli citizen can apply after proving their relationship status.

  • B/1 visas are also for expats who have a job offer in Israel and whose employer is acting as a sponsor

Once residency is granted, new residents usually receive a Biometric Residency Card. This card contains personal details, a photo and fingerprints, serving as an official ID during their stay in Israel.

When an individual receives a visa or residency, it's essential to check provisions or processes for children or other family members, especially in mixed-nationality families. Some visa types might have streamlined processes for immediate family members.

Making Aliyah in Israel (A/1 visa)

The Law of Return states that all Jewish people have the right to settle in Israel. The process is conducted by the Jewish Agency and should be completed in the applicant's home country.

Those making Aliyah, especially younger individuals, should be aware that Israel has obligatory military service requirements. It's essential to understand how this might impact residency plans.

Spousal/Dependant visas for Israel (B/1 visa)

According to Israeli law, those in a genuine and monogamous relationship with an Israeli national may remain and work in Israel on this basis. This visa is also available for minor children of A/2 or A/3 visa holders.

Most expat spouses enter Israel on regular B/2 tourist visas and then apply for B/1 work and residence visas once they are in Israel. As this process usually lasts longer than the entry period granted by tourist visas, expat spouses can stay in Israel until their B/1 visa is either granted or denied. 

Once in Israel, expat spouses should contact the local Ministry of the Interior to book an initial appointment to submit their documents to apply for a B/1 visa. Both the expat and Israeli partner must be present at this meeting.

To substantiate a genuine relationship with an Israeli citizen for the B/1 visa, applicants often need to provide various evidence. This can include photographs together, correspondence, joint bills or shared travel histories.

After an initial meeting with the Ministry of Interior (approximately three months later), the expat and their partner will be summoned for separate interviews to establish the veracity of their relationship. 

Spouses granted a B/1 visa can then work and reside in Israel for one year. The visa must be renewed annually, and renewal applications must provide evidence to show the ongoing relationship.

Some visa or residency paths may have Hebrew language requirements. For spousal visas, there might be expectations for the Israeli partner to demonstrate Hebrew proficiency.

Work visas for Israel (B/1 visa)

Expats can gain residency in Israel if they receive sponsorship from an employer through a firm job offer.

Obtaining a work visa for Israel can be a long and complicated process. There are two different types of Israeli work permits that a foreign worker may receive, although they both fall under the category of the B/1 work visa.

The first is an open work permit, primarily granted to those of Jewish descent or expats in a genuine relationship with an Israeli citizen. The second is a restricted work permit, which limits a foreigner to working for a particular employer who must act as a sponsor.

*Visa regulations are subject to change at short notice, and expats should contact their respective embassy or consulate for the latest details.

Doing Business in Israel

Business culture in Israel is diverse, with surprising contrasts between warm hospitality, a direct and no-nonsense business approach, aggressive negotiations and slow-paced meetings. Expats doing business in Israel should feel at ease in the casual culture but should nevertheless be prepared to be flexible and patient.

Important industries in Israel include technology and communications, agriculture, manufacturing, transport and tourism.

Fast facts

Business hours

Typical office hours are 8.30am to 5pm from Sunday to Thursday, while many businesses also operate on Friday mornings until noon.

Business language

International business is conducted in English, while local business is more often conducted in Hebrew. Arabic is also an official language, although it will more likely see use between Arab-run businesses.


Business casual is common in most jobs, although women should avoid wearing revealing clothing, especially if they work with religious colleagues.


Business associates usually greet each other by shaking hands. Expats should note that religious associates don't typically shake hands with members of the opposite gender. Business cards may be exchanged for convenience, typically at the end of an introductory meeting. It's appropriate to have them printed in English.


Companies typically send gifts to their customers at holiday times. The holidays include Passover in the early spring and Rosh Hashanah in early autumn. Those with Muslim or Christian colleagues might consider giving gifts during holidays like Eid or Christmas. Champagne or flowers may be appropriate after closing a large deal.

Gender equality

Israeli business culture is generally egalitarian, and women are treated as equals. Despite this, Israel has a high gender wage gap, and women tend to earn less than their male counterparts.

Business culture in Israel

Israel as a modern state is a young country with few natural resources, and it frequently faces adverse conditions. These factors play into its business environment. Known as the 'Start-Up Nation', Israeli business is pervaded by technology and innovation. Israelis prize intelligence and creativity and show respect for experts and prominent specialists in their field.


Many Israelis have a direct, assertive and persistent approach. Business can feel both informal and fast-paced, and it is often conducted with an inherent urgency. At the same time, personal connections are of the utmost importance. Colleagues and business partners take time to get to know one another, socialise and drink coffee together.

Egalitarian work structure

The management style in Israel is often collaborative, and hierarchy isn't always strongly enforced. Israelis are interested in solutions and results, and everyone is given the opportunity to voice their opinion. The culture places an enormous emphasis on hospitality, and Israelis will make an effort to be accommodating to other cultures.

Cultural sensitivities

When working with Jewish religious colleagues, it's important to be aware that they will not be available on the Sabbath (sundown on Friday until Saturday evening). It is customary to ask if there are special requirements when serving food or drink, as some Israelis observe the dietary laws of Kashrut.

Dos and don'ts of doing business in Israel

  • Do offer drinks when hosting a meeting, and prepare snacks when hosting long meetings

  • Do respect diversity and individual opinions. Avoid politics in general conversation and vocalising generalisations about Israel's culture and people.

  • Do be prepared for everything to be negotiable and be assertive

  • Don't offer to shake hands with a religious person of the opposite sex

  • Don't be surprised by sudden changes in plans

  • Do make polite conversation and be friendly, flexible and accommodating

Accommodation in Israel

Housing prices have risen sharply in Israel in recent years. Locals were moving out of city centres due to high property costs before this when the housing market was stagnant, and the continually increasing prices now are therefore bound to cause an even greater stir. 

To decrease their housing costs, most expats and locals living in Israeli cities rent their accommodation and often live with housemates. Those who immigrate to Israel due to their Jewish heritage are usually entitled to a housing and council tax discount.

Types of accommodation in Israel

Apartments are by far the most common property type in Israel, although houses outside the city are a feasible alternative.


Property standards vary considerably in Israel. Many low-end apartments have not been refurbished since they were first built in the 1970s or 1980s, while new developments frequently offer a shared garden, fitness room, and sometimes even a swimming pool.


More extensive properties suitable for families tend to be found in suburban areas. Most of these are modern properties, many of which are custom-built to meet the owner’s specifications. 

Furnished or unfurnished

Furnished apartments are not as common as unfurnished ones. If renting a furnished home, expats should not expect it to contain as many facilities and furnishings as are expected in other countries. Most homes are unfurnished and come completely bare. Expats should be prepared to pay for an oven, fridge, washing machine and sometimes even an air conditioning unit.

Short lets

For those not looking for a long-term commitment or only planning to stay in Israel for a short period, short-term rentals are an ideal option. These accommodations are often furnished, equipped with essential amenities, and strategically located in urban centres or tourist hotspots. Prices for these rentals can vary depending on the location and the duration of the lease. Some might come with added perks like housekeeping services or access to communal facilities.

It’s also not uncommon for expats and tourists to opt for serviced apartments or Airbnb rentals, which offer flexibility and often a more personalised touch to the stay.

Finding accommodation in Israel

Most new arrivals find a home in Israel through online property portals. Finding a home through a real estate agency is possible, but many Israelis have traditionally avoided this route, as agency fees are usually equivalent to a full month’s rent. That said, if a landlord hires a real estate agent, the agent fees for most rental agreements are paid by the landlord, not prospective tenants.  

When looking for an apartment in Israel, expats should note that ‘one room’ means just that: a studio apartment. ‘Two rooms’ means a living room and a bedroom. Apartments are often advertised as having ‘one and a half’ rooms, which usually means that there is some kind of partition inside the room.

Useful links

  • Expats can visit property rental websites like Yad2, a popular Israeli classifieds platform for real estate.
  • For those preferring serviced apartments or short-term stays, platforms like Airbnb have a plethora of listings across the country.

Renting accommodation in Israel

Expats will most likely be dealing with a private landlord when signing a contract for an apartment in Israel. It is imperative for tenants to understand their contracts. Expats who don’t speak Hebrew are strongly advised to bring a native speaker along to assist.

Application process

Once a suitable property has been identified, expats must complete a rental application, typically requiring details about their employment, references and sometimes a credit check. They may also need to provide proof of income to assure the landlord that they can cover the rent. Some landlords may request a guarantor, especially if the potential tenant is new to the country or doesn’t have a steady income.

Once the application is approved, expats will need to negotiate and sign a rental agreement. Negotiations can centre around rent, maintenance fees, lease duration, and any potential renovations or modifications to the property.


Most rental agreements are for one year, although landlords usually have no problem with tenants who leave sooner, provided they find a new tenant to replace them. Expats should always check this with their landlord if there is any chance they may wish to leave before their lease expires.  

Before signing a lease, expats should consider the following:

  • The expected condition that the apartment should be left in when moving out – some landlords may demand that the tenant repaint the apartment before their departure.
  • The maintenance fee (vad ba’it), which includes general building maintenance, will be higher if access to a fitness suite or gym is included.
  • The price increase at the end of the year – typically included in the contract.


Expats will be expected to pay the first month’s rent upfront and the equivalent of at least another month’s rent as a security deposit. The deposit is returned at the end of the tenancy once the home has been inspected and any damages have been accounted for.

Terminating the lease

If an expat needs to terminate their lease earlier than the agreed period, it is essential to give the landlord written notice, usually 30 days in advance. Some leases might have a penalty for early termination, so it’s crucial to understand this aspect before signing the agreement. If the tenant can find a replacement renter to take over the lease, the landlord might be more accommodating with waiving penalties.

It’s also worth noting that some landlords might offer a month-to-month lease after the initial lease term, providing both parties with more flexibility.

Utilities in Israel

Expats renting property in Israel should note that, in most instances, they’ll be expected to cover the cost of utilities such as gas, electricity, water and refuse collection. In Israel, gas, electricity and water can be expensive, and expats should watch their usage to avoid high bills. They are usually paid every two months.


Electricity in Israel is supplied by the Israel Electric Corporation (IEC). The voltage in Israel is 230V, and the frequency is 50Hz; it’s worth noting that the type of plugs and sockets used are Type H and Type C. Expats should ensure that their electronic devices are compatible or have the necessary adaptors.

Electric bills are usually issued bi-monthly, and renters should set up a direct debit to ensure timely payments.


Gas for cooking and heating is commonly used in Israel. Most urban areas have a centralised gas system, while in some suburban and rural areas, households might rely on individual gas cylinders. It’s crucial to check the gas connections and safety features when moving into a new home.


Water is a precious resource in Israel due to its desert climate. As a result, water prices can be relatively high. Bills are issued every two months and can be paid online or at local post offices. It’s also encouraged to use water-saving techniques, such as shorter showers and using water-efficient appliances.

Bins and recycling

Waste disposal and recycling in Israel are managed at the municipal level. Most neighbourhoods will have designated areas for waste collection, with separate bins for recyclables, organic waste, and general rubbish. There’s been a push towards increasing recycling efforts in recent years, and expats are encouraged to familiarise themselves with local recycling guidelines.

For larger waste items, arranging for a special collection or dropping them off at designated disposal sites might be necessary.

Useful links

Transport and Driving in Israel

Public transport in Israel is efficient, consisting of buses, trains and taxis, but it is quite expensive when compared to Western European prices. Due to Israel's small size, it's relatively quick and easy to get around the country.

Public transport in Israel

Israel has a comprehensive public transport system, and expats will find that cars are quite unnecessary in the major cities. Buses, trains and taxis are available and can be used to travel countrywide.

Using public transport is also easier than ever with the Rav Kav payment system. Paper tickets and cash are no longer used; instead, a Rav Kav card can be purchased and topped up for use on all forms of transport. They can be topped up on the Rav Kav app or at machines in stations. Several apps, such as the Moovit App, can be used to pay for tickets. Some tickets can only be purchased with a physical Rav Kav card, such as multi-day passes. 


Buses are the primary form of public transport in Israel and can be used for both local and intercity travel. Buses in Israel are safe and air-conditioned, and run frequent and reliable services. Expats should note that bus services are minimal on Shabbat and Jewish holidays.

Egged is the largest bus company in Israel, and it runs most of the main routes throughout the country. The quickest way to travel between cities is by bus. There are frequent buses between Jerusalem, Haifa and Tel Aviv. 

Arab-run bus companies provide bus services in Nazareth, East Jerusalem and the West Bank, although the vehicles are usually older and less comfortable.


The national train operator in Israel is Israel Railways. Trains are inexpensive and run from Tel Aviv to most other large cities. There are also services to Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv. Israel has four main railway lines: Tel Aviv to Haifa and Nahariya, Tel Aviv to Ben Gurion Airport, Tel Aviv to Be'er Sheva and Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The coastal lines are faster and more frequent than the Be'er Sheva and Jerusalem lines.

The only problem expats might face when using the train system in Israel is that all signs and announcements are in Hebrew, with no route maps on the trains. It might be helpful for expats to learn a few Hebrew phrases before travelling by train.


Jerusalem has a light rail system that runs for a distance of eight miles (13km) through the city. Tel Aviv's light rail system is under development, with the Red Line completed in 2023 and the Purple and Green Lines still under construction.

Haifa has a subway system called Carmelit, which is the world's smallest subway system, with four cars (as two two-car trains), six stations and a 1.1-mile (1.8km) single tunnel.


Sheruts are shared taxis that run along bus routes and stop at designated stops. These yellow minivans are not engaged privately and only leave their stop once they are full. Sheruts are an excellent way to travel between Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Haifa. Fares are similar to bus fares, but they are faster than buses and run seven days a week, although fares are slightly higher on Shabbat.

    Useful links

    Taxis in Israel

    Israel's large cities have taxi services, which can even be used for intercity travel. Taxis within cities have meters, and intercity taxis charge standard fees that are set by the Ministry of Transportation.

    Taxis in Israel can be hailed off the street, ordered via telephone or booked with ride-hailing apps such as Gett and Uber. Many expats prefer using these apps as they allow for automatic card billing and greater control over their route.

    Useful links

    • For a comprehensive guide on using taxis and ride-hailing apps in Israel, the Tourist Israel website is a valuable resource.
    • For those looking to understand the regulations and standards for taxis, the National Public Transport Authority provides official guidelines.

    Air travel in Israel

    There are several domestic airlines in Israel that provide flights between Israel's major cities. Israel's major airports are Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv, Teyman Airport in Be'er Sheva and Haifa Airport in Haifa.

    Useful links

    • The Israel Airports Authority provides comprehensive details on air travel and airports in Israel.
    • For those interested in the major airline of Israel, El Al Israel Airlines offers insights into flight schedules, destinations, and services.

    Driving in Israel

    Expats living in one of Israel's main cities, such as Jerusalem, Tel Aviv or Haifa, will find it unnecessary to own a car. Traffic congestion is a constant problem, parking is difficult, and Israeli driving tends to be aggressive. With comprehensive transport options available, it's easy to get around these cities using public transport exclusively.

    Israel has a comprehensive road network, and the highways between Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Haifa are well-maintained. There are clear road signs in most places, which are generally in Hebrew but with some in English as well. Driving in Israel is on the right side of the road.

    Israel's intercity roads are marked by numbers. Even-numbered routes run north to south, whereas odd-numbered roads run east to west.

    Driving licences

    Expats can legally drive in Israel using their foreign driving licence for up to one year. After one year, they will need to apply for an Israeli driving licence.

    An Israeli driving licence can be applied for at the Bureau of Motor Vehicles (Misrad HaRishui). Expats do not have to take a driving test if they have had a valid driving licence for at least five years.

    Useful links

    Working in Israel

    Israel has a fairly resilient economy with a particularly strong technology sector. Much of this progress is due to Israel's innovative abilities in the fields of applied sciences and technology, as well as its highly educated workforce. Many Israeli graduates become specialists in telecommunications, software development and IT. 

    Thanks to its rapidly growing GDP, Israel has become a popular expat destination for those seeking career progression and businesses looking for investment opportunities. This influx of expats, combined with Israel's diverse population of Jewish, Arab, Druze and other groups, means Israel is a tapestry of cultures, with many ways of living and working.

    Job market in Israel

    Within Israel, a considerable proportion of the workforce is employed in technical professions. Israeli companies have staked a major claim in worldwide high-tech and telecommunications markets due to their specialisations and ability to excel in diverse technological applications.

    Key fields of technological innovation and expat employment are communications, computer hardware and software, information systems, finance, medicine, law and marketing. Many foreigners also find employment teaching English.

    Finding a job in Israel

    Most expats move to Israel with a job in hand. Foreigners intending to occupy a position in Israel must obtain a work permit. Jewish expats who intend to immigrate ('making Aliyah') may find the process easier, as there are Aliyah organisations that can offer advice.

    Israel produces large numbers of qualified professionals each year, so expats will need to stand out from the crowd if they want to secure a job in the country. It's best to begin the search for a job three to four months before moving to Israel. Most employers don't hire people more than four months in advance as they want people to start almost immediately, which can be problematic for some expats. 

    Jobs can be found through online job portals, through listings in local newspapers and by directly contacting recruitment agencies. Investing time in learning Hebrew can be beneficial, as many job listings won't be in English. In Arab-owned businesses, prevalent in the north and areas like Nazareth, learning Arabic would be a boon. Learning the local languages will not only be useful in the workplace but in social situations too.

    Networking is also crucial in Israel, as most jobs are not actually advertised publicly. It is worth speaking to colleagues and other contacts about potential job opportunities, as a personal recommendation can go a long way there.

    Useful links

    • For high-tech and startup positions, expats can check out Secret Tel Aviv's Job Board.
    • Expats with expertise in IT and engineering might find AllJobs a valuable resource for job listings.

    Work culture in Israel

    Tel Aviv is the business capital of Israel, although there are also significant industries and tech parks in Haifa, Jerusalem and Beersheba. For the most part, work dress in Israel is generally less formal than in North America and Europe, but meetings require formal dress. Both men and women are advised to dress conservatively when in religious areas or interacting with religious communities, whether they're Jewish, Muslim or Christian. Business cards are common, but there is no formality involved in exchanging them. Socialising is an important part of meetings, and they often run overtime or begin late.

    Business hours in Israel are usually from 8.30am to 5pm. The working week is Sunday to Thursday, as well as Friday mornings in some industries. These hours may vary, especially in predominantly Muslim areas, where Friday is a significant day of rest. Employees work eight to nine hours per day, including an hour for lunch, and according to Israeli law, working hours may not exceed 42 hours per week.

    Keeping in Touch in Israel

    Israel is a highly developed country with an advanced communication infrastructure. New arrivals in Israel will find that all services required for keeping in touch, both domestically and abroad, are readily available at reasonable prices.

    Internet in Israel

    The internet in Israel is usually both fast and reliable. There are many public Wi-Fi areas, such as coffee shops and hotels, as well as some buses, petrol stations and malls.

    Expats in Israel won't need landlines for internet access. Nevertheless, home internet connections are typically something a tenant will have to organise themselves, and they are not automatically included in the rent.

    Social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are widely used with no restrictions.

    Landline telephones in Israel

    Communication by landline is efficient and inexpensive, but its popularity has been in decline due to the rise of mobile phones and internet-based communication. Prices vary according to different packages and the length of the phone call.

    Most of the same companies that provide internet services also offer packages for international calling. Prices vary slightly from company to company; however, prices are generally reasonable due to competition.

    Mobile phones in Israel

    Mobile phones are the preferred form of communication in Israel, and many Israeli individuals own more than one device. Many residents only use their mobile phones and do not have landlines.

    Leading companies providing mobile phone services in Israel include Cellcom, HOT, Pelephone and Golan Telecom. Each company offers its own packages and deals, and expats shouldn't struggle to find one that suits their needs.

    There are also pay-as-you-go options, whereby one can load credit onto a SIM card without committing to a contract.

    Postal services in Israel

    The Israeli postal service is both efficient and reliable, with many branches throughout the country. While the service is generally reliable, there can be occasional delays during peak times and holidays. The post office provides a wide variety of services in addition to mailing letters and packages. Post offices in Israel provide services that include banking, currency exchange and Western Union transfers.

    English-language media

    While Hebrew and Arabic are the two official languages in Israel, English is widely used. All service providers have an option for English communication, and all large businesses and services have an option for English on their websites.


    There are several providers of cable television in Israel, each providing different types of packages. Many series and films on Israeli television are in English. They usually have Hebrew subtitles but aren't dubbed, so English-speaking viewers can see them in their original form.

    Many international channels are also available, as are streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime.


    The most convenient access to news is through the internet. News is broadcast in English on the radio and television at specific times of the day. The main public radio station, KAN Reshet Bet (95.5 FM in central Israel) offers news updates in English at specific times, as does IDF Radio (Galatz).


    Two English newspapers are published in Israel, The Jerusalem Post and Haaretz, both of which are available online and in print. There are also online Israeli news options in English, including Times of Israel, Israel National News and Ynetnews.

    Banking, Money and Taxes in Israel

    Expats should have little difficulty managing their money in Israel, as the country has a highly developed banking system that is both accessible and reliable.

    Money in Israel

    The official currency of Israel is the Israeli New Shekel, abbreviated as ILS but also abbreviated locally as NIS. The shekel is subdivided into 100 agorot.

    • Notes: ILS 20, 50, 100 and 200 

    • Coins: ILS 1, 2, 5 and 10, along with 1, 5, 10 and 50 agorot

    Banking in Israel

    Israel's biggest banks are Bank Hapoalim, Bank Leumi, Bank of Israel and Israel Discount Bank. All major banks have branches throughout the country. Urban branches usually offer more extensive services, whereas rural branches may have limited services and hours of operation. Most banks offer telephone or internet banking, with many of these services available in English. 

    Banks are generally open on Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8.30am to 4pm. On Monday and Wednesday, banks open from 8.30am to 2pm before closing for two hours and then reopening from 4pm to 6pm, while all banks are closed on Saturday for Shabbat. 

    Opening a bank account

    Expat workers are able to open a bank account in Israel. Opening a bank account is usually fairly straightforward and typically requires a passport or residence permit. Expats are advised to prepare recent bank statements from other accounts in order to expedite the process. It's also possible to open a bank account with the Postal Bank (any post office) without making an initial deposit. 

    Credit cards and ATMs

    Expats applying for a credit card in Israel will need to make an initial deposit, the amount of which will be specified by the bank. International credit cards are widely accepted in Israel. Israeli credit cards that allow for purchases in Israel, in local currency only, are available, as well as international credit cards that can be used worldwide. ATMs in Israel's urban centres are widespread and accessible 24 hours a day, but they are less common in rural areas. 


    Money transfers in all forms (cheques, cash and money orders) are accepted in most banks in Israel. As an alternative to opening a bank account in Israel, clients working or living in Israel have the option to open an international bank account before moving to Israel. This allows access to a variety of services, including offshore bank accounts and banking in other currencies. Banks such as HSBC, BNP, Barclays and Citibank operate in the country. 

    Taxes in Israel

    Israel has rather high tax rates, and all sources of income for an Israeli resident are taxed in the country.

    Income tax is calculated on a sliding scale depending on how much one earns. Expats living in Israel for less than 183 days in any 12-month period are only liable for tax on their locally earned income. That said, expats in Israel for 183 days or more in any 12-month period are considered tax residents, meaning that they will be liable to pay tax on their worldwide income.

    Social security and medical insurance

    Each employee in Israel must pay social security and health insurance in the form of a salary deduction based on their individual income. Both the employee and the employer are required to pay social security.

    A non-resident employee in Israel must retain private health insurance for their entire length of stay. Non-residents are entitled to limited services and social security benefits. The social security rate deducted from their salary every month will be the minimum applicable fee.

    Safety in Israel

    Safety in Israel is a common concern for travellers in the region, but dangers in most of the country often appear more prevalent due to focused media coverage on specific conflict areas, overshadowing the relative safety in many parts of Israel. While there is a risk of terrorism, this is closely monitored by the Israeli military, and tourists are unlikely to visit dangerous areas.

    Crime rates in Israel are relatively low compared to the US and most Western European countries, with minimal gun violence and a low risk of mugging. Expats in Israel who take the necessary precautions and avoid problematic areas will find the country as pleasant and safe as many other popular expat destinations.

    While this article highlights safety from an expat's viewpoint, it's essential to acknowledge the daily experiences of local populations, especially those living in the mentioned conflict areas. Their lived experiences offer profound insights into the broader dynamics of safety and socio-political conditions in Israel and the surrounding regions.

    Terrorism in Israel

    There have been several terrorist attacks in Israel over the years, and it remains a threat although the number of deaths from terrorist incidents is the lowest it has been in a decade.

    Sustained tension between the country and its neighbours has done little to diminish the threat of terrorist attacks, which comes from various sources.

    That said, the risk of terrorist attacks is substantially reduced by the measures taken by Israeli national security, which is among the most developed in the world. The Israeli Defense Forces are highly trained and effective, and care is taken in securing heavily populated and tourist-favoured areas. The Palestinian National Authority has also made efforts to counter terrorism in the West Bank.

    Threat of rocket attacks in Israel

    There have been recent instances of rockets being fired from Gaza into Israel, usually targeting large metropolitan areas. The chance of this occurring largely depends on tensions between Gaza and Israel.

    Expats should stay informed about the current state of affairs at all times. It's also wise to follow the safety advice of one's national government. The current state of tensions between Gaza and Israel is high, with periodic escalations leading to exchanges of airstrikes and rocket attacks.

    Israel has invested heavily in countering rocket attacks, evident in the Iron Dome rocket interception defence system which has an extremely high success rate. A smartphone app that warns of potential incoming missiles has also developed, providing its users with time to seek shelter. Expats in Israel should take heed of warning sirens and make sure they know the location of the nearest bomb shelter.

    General safety in Israel

    Expats in Israel will find that life in cities such as Tel Aviv is relatively peaceful and free from the threats usually associated with the country. Violent crime is low within Israel, and locals generally treat visitors well.

    Expats should nevertheless keep an eye on their valuables when in public places, such as beaches or parks, as petty theft and opportunistic crimes have been known to occur.

    Expat women should be aware that interactions with locals can be direct, and some Israeli men may be forthright in their approach, especially to foreigners. Communicating boundaries clearly can help resolve unfamiliar social situations.

    Conflict areas around Israel

    The volatility in Israel primarily has to do with several key regions, which many expats avoid. Problematic areas around Israel include:


    The Gaza region, on the Egyptian border, has seen considerable unrest. Gaza is governed by the Hamas, which often has political disagreements with the Palestinian National Authority and with Israel. These complexities can further contribute to the tensions.

    The current situation is tense, with periodic outbreaks of violence between Israeli forces and Palestinian militants. The Israeli state and most foreign travel advisories strongly advise against travel to Gaza, including to the waters off the coast of the region.

    West Bank

    The West Bank holds significant historical and religious importance. Over the decades, changes in governance and ongoing territorial disputes, many of which trace back to deep-seated historical disagreements, have shaped the region. Expats can travel to the West Bank, although they will need to pass through Israeli military checkpoints. 

    Changes in legislation related to settlements and displacement in the West Bank have heightened ongoing tensions. The Jordan Valley, in particular, has seen Israeli settlement expansion, displacing the Palestinian residents and creating a charged environment. Hebron frequently witnesses clashes between Israeli settlers and displaced Palestinians.

    Expats travelling to Jerusalem should note that the city's eastern half is in the West Bank. Some governments have advised their citizens to stay alert when in East Jerusalem and the Old City, as protests and religious demonstrations are common.

    Golan Heights

    The Golan Heights came under Israeli control during the Six-Day War in 1967. Its strategic significance and water resources have made it a contested territory since then. While it remains under Israeli control, its history with Syria marks its current volatile nature.

    There have been cases of shelling across the border, and the region is potentially unsafe for both foreigners and locals. The situation remains unpredictable, and travel advisories for the area recommend caution.

    Road safety in Israel

    Regarding road safety, Israel ranks poorly compared to other countries, with a recent report ranking Israel last among regional countries in reducing traffic deaths. The situation is a systemic problem, with a lack of resources and neglect from the government contributing to the issue.

    Given the dangerous driving conditions, it is often best for those unfamiliar with the roads to rely on public transport instead. Expats driving in Israel should take out appropriate insurance, especially if driving through conflict zones or more rural areas.

    Those driving into the desert should take plenty of water and a mobile phone, inform others of their intended route before leaving, and stay on marked roads. Before departure, expats should ensure their vehicle is in good condition. They should also check weather and road conditions before travelling, as the rainy season brings a risk of flash floods.

    *The security situation in Israel is highly complex and can change suddenly. Expats travelling in and around Israel must keep up to date with the latest news, travel alerts and warnings from the Israeli government.

    Moving to Israel

    Expats moving to Israel do so for various reasons. Many are attracted by the culture or faith, while others are drawn to the vibrant economy and thriving technology sector.

    Even though its landmass is actually smaller than the US state of New Jersey, there are around 8.8 million people living in Israel. It is the world's only official Jewish state, and a considerable proportion of the population is Jewish. Arab Israelis comprise a significant minority, comprising about 20 percent of the population. Due to a continuous influx of immigrants over the years, the population is highly diverse, with American, European, Russian, Asian and African nationalities represented. The official languages in Israel are Hebrew and Arabic. English is spoken widely, especially in urban areas and in businesses, and is the country's unofficial third language.

    Living in Israel as an expat

    Israel’s modern and diverse market economy is built on several industries, including biotechnology, electronics, information technology, manufacturing, telecommunications and tourism. Expats working in Israel mostly work in these sectors. Israel’s technology industry, in particular, has attracted massive foreign investment. With this influx of capital, ample opportunities for talented and qualified expats have subsequently arisen.

    Although accommodation prices are rather high, expats should be able to find an apartment to rent in the city of their choice or, if they prefer something larger and more suited for a family, houses are predominantly found in the outer suburbs of cities. Transport is abundant and affordable in Israel. So, if choosing to live outside the city centre, expats will be able to commute to work without the use of a car and without breaking the bank. 

    Safety can be a concern in certain areas of the country, but expats in Israel can avoid troubled areas fairly easily in cities such as Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Haifa and Be'er-Sheva.

    Cost of living in Israel

    High accommodation prices and low salaries compared to other developed countries mean that the cost of living in Israel can be high. In 2023, Tel Aviv was ranked eighth-most expensive out of 227 expat destinations. That said, expats can earn lucrative salaries in Israel and costs are largely dependent on where in the country they decide to live, as well as their lifestyle.

    Expat families and children

    Despite Israeli public schools being both free and of a generally high standard, many expats send their children to international schools, as the language of instruction in public schools is Hebrew. Tuition for international schools is high, but children will be able to continue with a familiar curriculum and language of instruction while also receiving an excellent education. 

    Families will also discover that Israel is an incredibly child-friendly country. All cities accommodate children's needs, with plenty of activities and attractions to keep them busy outside of school. Zoos, beaches, museums and parks abound in Israel, and parents will therefore never be short of something to do with the little ones.

    Climate in Israel

    Although the weather in Israel varies from region to region, with mountains, a desert and a Mediterranean coastline, summers are warm and dry throughout the country. Winters are typically mild, but Jerusalem can get particularly cold. Rainfall generally occurs during the colder months, although the desert region is dry all year round. 

    Israel is recognised for its innovations and its multicultural fabric. Expats who can adapt to Israel's unique, and often tense, political landscape will be able to experience a life which is both varied and full of flavour. 

    Fast facts

    Official name: State of Israel

    Population: Over 8.8 million

    Capital city: Jerusalem 

    Neighbouring countries: Israel shares its borders with several countries and territories. To the south, it is bordered by Egypt's Sinai Peninsula. Jordan lies to the east, Lebanon to the north, and Syria to the northeast. In addition, Israel is adjacent to the Palestinian territories: the West Bank lies to its east, and the Gaza Strip to its southwest. The country's western boundary is defined by its coastline along the Mediterranean Sea.

    Geography: Israel possesses a diverse geographical landscape within a compact area. The Mediterranean Sea lines its western coast, providing a fertile coastal plain. As one moves eastward, the terrain transitions through a series of valleys, extending from the hilly northern regions to the arid desert landscapes of the south. It's important to note that some geographical regions within and around Israel are subjects of international discussions and varied recognitions.

    Political system: Parliamentary democracy

    Major religions: Israel is the world’s only official Jewish state, with Judaism being the dominant religion among its population. A substantial portion of its citizens are Muslims and Christians.

    Main languages: The official languages of Israel are Hebrew and Arabic, but English is prominent in tourist and business centres.

    Money: The currency in Israel is the Israeli Shekel (ILS), which is divided into 100 agorot (the singular is agora). It is fairly easy for expats working in Israel to open a bank account, and there are numerous ATMs in and around the country’s urban centres.

    Time: GMT +2 (GMT +3 from the last Sunday in March to the last Sunday in October)

    Electricity: 230 volts, 50Hz. Round three-pin 'M-type' plugs, European 'C-type' two-pin plugs and Israel-specific 'H-type' three-pin plugs are common.

    International dialling code: +972

    Internet domain: .il

    Emergency numbers: 100 (police), 101 (ambulance), 102 (fire)

    Transport and driving: Israel has a highly developed public transport system, so expats shouldn't experience much difficulty getting around the country. Cars in Israel drive on the right side of the road.

    Articles about Israel

    Work Permits for Israel

    A foreign national who has been assigned to work in Israel must obtain a work permit and an appropriate entry visa before arriving in Israel. The B/1 visa category is the preeminent work permit in Israel.

    Applying for a B/1 work permit for Israel

    Applicants generally must have a concrete job offer in Israel and provide evidence such as their employment contract, financial support and other required documentation. There are four steps to getting a B/1 visa:

    • Submitting an initial work permit application to the Ministry of Interior (MOI)

    • Filing of a subsequent visa application with the MOI

    • Issuing of a short-term B/1 visa, before entry into Israel

    • Extension of the B/1 visa at the MOI after arrival in Israel, and being granted a multiple-entry visa for the entire B/1 approval period

    In particular cases, the assignee may also be regarded as an "Approved Specialist", enjoying substantial tax benefits. 

    Work permit application

    An Israeli employer (or a well-known global/foreign company) must be the official sponsor of a work permit application. While there is no provision for a traditional self-employment working permit in Israel, alternatives include Israel's Innovation visa (also known as the Start-Up visa) and the Expert visa for foreign specialists.

    A work permit application must contain a detailed description of the job offered and provide all the information relating to the prospective employee, including educational background, professional experience and proposed salary in Israel. Processing times for work permit applications are from four to eight weeks. 

    If the application is approved, the relevant MOI branch will submit a B-1 recommendation letter to the MOI head office.There are associated fees for both the work permit and visa applications.

    Upon receiving the recommendation letter, expats must file a subsequent B/1 visa application at the Israeli consulate in their own country. 

    Applicants for a B/1 visa may be required to undergo health and security checks as part of the visa application process. It's important for applicants to ensure that they have no medical or security issues that might lead to visa denial.

    Consular processing

    After a processing period lasting two to four weeks, expats will be issued with a single-entry B/1 visa that is valid for 30 days. 

    Visa extension in Israel

    Following entry into Israel, expats must apply for an extended B/1 visa, which is valid for up to one year and allows for multiple entries into Israel.

    Any departure from Israel before the extended visa is provided will invalidate the applicant's 30-day B/1 visa. Expats will then need to repeat the second step in the B/1 application process, which involves applying through the Israeli consulate in their home country.  

    B/1 visas can be renewed after their initial period. The renewal process typically requires a review of the ongoing employment need, and some documentation might need to be re-submitted or updated for the renewal.

    Applying for a B/1 STEP work permit for Israel

    B/1 STEP (Short Term Expedited Process) visas are a special type of B/1 visa offered to foreign workers seeking to enter Israel for up to 90 days to perform specialist work. B/1 STEP work permit applications are not subject to the normal prevailing wage obligations and also enjoy expedited processing. The wage obligations for the B/1 STEP visa can vary depending on individual circumstances and specific requirements set by the Ministry of Interior.

    The B/1 STEP visa, designed for short-term work, cannot be extended beyond its 90-day duration. Workers who wish to stay longer will need to apply for a traditional B/1 work permit.

    The specific qualifications for 'unique knowledge and expertise' for the B/1 STEP visa may differ depending on individual circumstances and the requirements of the Ministry of Interior. Workers applying for the B/1 STEP visa must follow the same steps as outlined for the B/1 work permit above. 

    Both foreign and Israeli companies can sponsor a foreign national under the STEP process. To take advantage of the B/1 STEP permit, foreign workers must possess unique knowledge and expertise that are relevant to their proposed work activities.

    Culture Shock in Israel

    From historical sites in Jerusalem to the bustling business hub of Tel Aviv, traditional Arab villages, communal kibbutzim and coastal resorts, Israel boasts a diverse landscape.

    Expats may experience varying degrees of culture shock in Israel as the local culture reflects its varied population, including the Jewish diaspora, Europeans, North and South Americans and inhabitants from the Arab world and various African countries.

    It's fitting that the phrase 'chutzpah' originates from Hebrew, and newcomers may take some time to adapt to Israel's unique cultural traits. Everything from dating behaviours to treatment of customers or queuing – or rarity thereof – are informed by the country's cultural context of straightforwardness, and can take some getting used to. Conversely, the straightforwardness of Israelis can be strangely refreshing, and there is something exhilarating about bartering at a local market.

    Expats may hear of Israelis described as sabra, or prickly pears – tough on the outside but sweet on the inside. On the surface, Israelis may come across as rude, pushy and inflexible, but new arrivals are often surprised by how willing people can be to break the rules in their favour and how helpful people are in moments of crisis.

    That said, bureaucracy is a crucial cause of frustration for expats living in Israel, as completing the most straightforward administrative processes can easily stretch into weeks or even months.

    Dress in Israel

    Unless expats are in areas such as Jerusalem's old city, Tsfat, or Palestinian territories like the West Bank, dress in urban areas like Tel Aviv can be compared to Western cities in Europe and North America. During summer, expats in Tel Aviv will see women in short dresses and men in nothing more than their swimming shorts.

    New arrivals are advised to dress appropriately in more religious or conservative areas. Both men and women are expected to keep their arms and legs fully covered. Men should also cover their heads at Jewish religious sites and should be aware of modest dress expectations at Islamic religious sites as well.

    Alcohol in Israel

    Although not usually consumed in significant quantities, alcohol is a part of everyday life in Israel and is served in bars and cafés across the country.

    That said, the presence of drunken youths in the streets of Israel is a lot less common than in countries like the UK. Perhaps an explanation for this is the price of alcoholic beverages. They are fairly expensive in Israel.

    Women in Israel

    Despite the many laws passed to promote equality and rights for women, Israeli culture has a reputation for being patriarchal. That said, Israel also has a strong history of women in leadership roles (like Golda Meir, former Prime Minister).

    Expat women, like in many other places in the world, sometimes report receiving unwanted attention. It's always advised to approach such situations with caution and awareness. That said, Israel is largely a safe place for expat women compared to many other destinations. Many women feel safe to walk alone through most areas at night.

    Language in Israel

    While speaking English, Arabic or Russian can be beneficial in Israel, understanding and speaking Hebrew is nearly indispensable and can greatly enhance an expat's experience in various situations. Arabic also holds official status, and many Arab Israelis speak it as their first language.

    Expats may question whether it's truly necessary to learn Hebrew. Often, simple processes, such as sending a parcel or buying a bus pass, can quickly become a nightmare if both parties cannot communicate successfully. Speaking even the smallest amount of Hebrew would help tremendously in such situations. Having some knowledge of Hebrew will also give expats an advantage in the workplace.

    Public Holidays in Israel




    First Day of Passover

    6 April

    22 April

    Last Day of Passover

    12 April

    28 April

    Independence Day

    26 April

    13 May


    26 May

    11 June

    Rosh Hashanah

    16–17 September

    2–4 October

    Yom Kippur

    25 September

    11 October


    30 September

    16 October

    Simchat Torah

    7 October

    23 October

    Education and Schools in Israel

    The Israeli education system is strongly underpinned by the goals of teaching students to become responsible members of a democratic, pluralistic society in which people from different ethnic, religious, cultural and political backgrounds coexist, and to impart a high level of knowledge, with an emphasis on scientific and technological skills essential for the country's continued development.

    The curriculum emphasises Jewish values, love for the land, principles of liberty and tolerance, and scientific and analytic skills while aiming to reflect Israel's diverse population, which includes Jews, Arabs, Druzes and others.

    Schools in Israel are generally more informal compared to those in America and the UK, and teachers and principals are addressed by their first names. The curriculum tends to be broader than that found in North American schools and emphasises mathematics, science and foreign language learning.

    Kindergarten and elementary schools follow a progressive model, valuing experience and social exchange, as well as creativity, play and emotional development.

    While Hebrew is the primary language of instruction in institutions of higher education, many programmes and courses are also offered in English. There are also schools where Arabic is the primary language of instruction.

    The academic year in Israel runs from September to July. The Israeli school week runs from Sunday to Friday, with Friday being a shorter day, but schools don't operate on Saturdays (Shabbat)

      Public education in Israel

      Israel provides free and compulsory education for all children from the age of three years to 16 years. While tuition is free, textbooks and school supplies usually need to be purchased. Other fees are generally required for extra-curricular activities, such as school trips.

      Although the public education system is of a generally high standard, many expats don't enrol their children in public schools as the language of instruction is in Hebrew or Arabic.

      Private education in Israel

      Private schools in Israel follow the basic curriculum as set by the state, however, they follow different teaching standards and philosophies. As such, there are some English-language private schools in Israel, which might be an attractive option for expat children who aren't fluent in Arabic or Hebrew.

      Private schools can be extremely expensive for those earning a local salary, but the quality of education tends to be better than that of a public school. Those earning expat salaries will find that private education in Israel is considerably less expensive than in their home country.

        Applying to a private school in Israel

        Private schools can be highly competitive and many require rigorous testing before admitting a student. Applications usually require proof of academic record and any extracurricular activities. Students typically undergo verbal reasoning and English proficiency tests, a maths test and, in some cases, a science test. The head teacher may also interview prospective students.

        Useful links

        International schools in Israel

        There are also a number of international schools in Israel that expat parents can send their children to. The benefit of international schools is that they provide a high quality of education while also allowing for academic continuity, as many expat students are given the opportunity to continue with the curriculum of their home country. International schools in Israel also offer an extremely diverse cultural setting, as expat children will be classmates with students from all over the world.

        A drawback of international schools is their school fees, which are considerably higher than that of both public and private Israeli schools. Most international schools in Israel are in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Haifa, and provide the English, US or French curricula.

        Read more about International Schools in Israel.

        Colleges and universities in Israel

        Israel has a total of 10 universities, most of which are based in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Haifa. Courses are generally taught in Hebrew but some English courses are taught, and accelerated Hebrew language learning programmes are offered which cater to foreign students who want to study in Israel.

        Foreign applicants who wish to study in Israel must submit their high school diplomas to the institute that they are applying to. The strength of the diploma will then be weighed against the Israeli bagrut, the matriculation examination used in the university admissinos process.

        By law, the minimum length of study for a bachelor's degree is three years. Exceptions are nursing, engineering, architecture and law degrees, where degrees are granted after four years of study.

        Useful links

        Special-needs education in Israel 

        Israel has a law of inclusion in place for children with special needs. Parents are able to choose whether they wish for their children to attend mainstream schools where they will be included in regular classes, a special-education class in a mainstream school or a special-needs school. Some schools also have a system in which children spend their school day partly in regular classes and partly in special-education classes. The aim of this is to decrease the number of students in special-education classes for the purpose of inclusion. 

        While schools are expected to have all the facilities and professionals available to assist all children with their educational needs, budget shortfalls have prohibited this in some cases. Parents should therefore do their research into what their chosen schools can accommodate before making a decision between mainstream and special-needs schools. 

        Useful links

        Tutors in Israel

        Tutoring is a rather large industry in Israel, with many parents hiring private tutors for their children. These tutors can be useful in helping expat children adapt to their new curriculum and school environment, assisting them with learning Hebrew or Arabic, as well as with school support in any subjects the child may be struggling. 

        Online tutors and in-person private tutors are available throughout Israel. Expat parents can look for a tutor on one of the many tutoring websites, such as Janglo or Tutoroo, or they can ask their child's school or fellow parents for recommendations. 

        Useful links

        • To find a variety of tutors in Israel, visit Janglo, a popular community platform.
        • Connect with both online and in-person tutors using the Tutoroo platform.