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Israel: Doing business and staying in touch

Doing Business in Israel

Israel has an informal approach to business etiquette with smart-casual style clothing for meetings. Israelis tend to be direct and to-the-point, and plain speaking is appreciated. Business is usually fast-paced and the importance of building relationships and connections is very important in Israeli business practices. Meetings often start with catching up and even some personal chatter as Israelis like to get to know their counterparts before getting down to formal business.

English is spoken well by businesspeople and is used out of politeness if non-Israelis are present. Social interaction is important, and relaxed lunch meetings or outings may be used to develop trust.

As Hebrew is read right to left, books, leaflets or folders open in this orientation. Women should wait until a man offers his hand to shake as many religious men do not touch women.

Office Hours

Business hours are Sun-Thurs 0830-1700. On Fridays, businesses shut at 1230 or 1300 for Shabbat, which starts at sundown on Friday and continues until Saturday evening. Some are closed for the whole of Friday and Saturday.

Economy

Israel has a diverse and sophisticated manufacturing economy. High technology is the largest sector with the rest of the industrial sector concentrated on engineering, aircraft, electronics, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, textiles and food-processing. There is a labour force of about 4 million.

Agriculture is relatively small but there has been considerable investment in tourism, which is sensitive to political developments.

GDP

US$375.75 billion (2018).

Main exports

High-tech equipment, computer software, cut diamonds, agricultural products, chemicals and textiles.

Main imports

Raw materials, military equipment, rough diamonds, fuel and grain.

Main trading partners

USA, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, China and UK.

Keeping in Touch in Israel

Telephone

All hotels offer direct dial phones, but these can be pricey. Calling cards can be bought from newsagents and used in phone booths, or newsagent coin-operated phones. The international dialling code for Israel is +972.

Mobile Phone

Mobile phone connections are excellent, even in rural areas, and roaming agreements exist with most international mobile phone companies. It is possible to rent mobile phones or buy SIM cards in Tel Aviv.

Internet

Internet is widely available and Wi-Fi is commonly found in cafés and hotels.

Media

Israel has vibrant and exceptionally diverse media, produced in Hebrew, Arabic, English and Russian, expressing all viewpoints and spanning the entire political spectrum. All publications are privately owned, and there is no state interference with editorial. News in English is broadcast on radio and TV several times daily. The main daily newspapers are Ha'aretz (www.haaretzdaily.com), Ma'ariv (www.nrg.co.il) and Yedioth Aharonoth (www.ynetnews.com). The main English-language daily is the Jerusalem Post (www.jpost.com).

Post

Post office branches can be widely found throughout the country. Postal services include registered mail, express, EMS and poste restante. FEDEX and DHL are also represented. Airmail to Europe or the US takes up to one week.

Post Office hours

May vary but are generally Sun-Tues and Thurs 0800-1200 and 1530-1830, Wed 0800-1330 and Fri 0800-1200. All post offices are closed on Shabbat (Saturday) and holy days, although central telegraph offices are open throughout the year.

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