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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.

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 will also open in reverse. 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 with real growth rate at 4.7%. High technology is the largest sector with the rest of the industrial sector concentrated on engineering, aircraft, electronics, chemicals, biotechnology, textiles and food-processing.

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

 

There is a labour force of about 4 million and unemployment stands at 4%. Israel's per capita income of US$37,400 (2016) places it within the top 30 highest-earning nations.

 

GDP

US$319 billion (2016).

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 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 SIM cards in the Tel Aviv airport.

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).

Most Israeli households subscribe to cable or satellite TV, with a big package of foreign news networks, including Sky, BBC World, CNN and Al-Jazeera. The Israel Broadcasting Authority operates public TV Channel 1, and there are several commercial terrestrial channels.

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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