Israel Shopping and nightlife
Shopping in Israel
There is a wide choice for shoppers in Israel. High quality shopping malls, designer boutiques, traditional markets, antique shops and high street shops all have a home in the country. Contrary to a widespread belief among visitors, bargaining is not common in Israel outside of markets. That being said, a trip to one of these very animated markets (shuks) full of tremendous cultural diversity, notably the Carmel Market in Tel Aviv or Mahane Yehuda Market in Jerusalem, are an absolute must.
Dead Sea products are one of the country's most famous exports and it is therefore unsurprising that many tourists enjoy shopping for them at hugely lowered costs. All big pharmacies sell Dead Sea products, and there are specialised shops in most cities and amidst the spa hotels along the Dead Sea. Gold and silver jewellery, Judaica, Christian religious items, and arts and crafts are also popular keep-sakes and are sold in specialist shops mainly in the old cities or craft markets such as the Nachalat Binyamin Market in Tel Aviv. Tourists benefit from a zero rate of VAT on many goods and services. In addition, when buying from souvenir and specialist shops displaying a Ministry of Tourism sign, especially jewellers and luxury goods stores, it is possible to obtain a VAT refund. When making your purchase simply ask for a Tax Refund Invoice and then, while at the airport or port of departure, take the invoice to the tax refund desk at the airport or port for the refund.
Sun-Fri 0800-1900, although many Jewish-run shops will close mid-afternoon on Friday in preparation for Shabbat, while Arabic stores are closed on Fridays.
Nightlife in Israel
Israelis love to let their hair down and as such bars and nightclubs can be found in most cities. Tel Aviv's club scene draws many DJs from the USA and Europe, though you'll find rock, jazz, folk, and pop music clubs in all the main cities and resorts. Israeli folklore and dance shows can also be seen in big cities. Nightlife in Jerusalem is a little more muted but there are still good clubs, including the legendary Haoman 17 (www.haoman17tlv.co.il).
Classical music, ballet, operate and theatre are also prominent and mainly based in Tel Aviv. The city is home to nearly half of Israel's performing arts centres, including the mainstream Habima Theatre (www.habima.co.il) and the contemporary Suzanne Dellal Centre (www.suzannedellal.org.il). The New Israel Opera (www.israel-opera.co.il) performs at the Tel Aviv Performing Arts Center. The Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra (www.ipo.co.il) performs primarily at the Charles R Bronfman Auditorium.
Cinema is extremely popular in Israel and many cinemas screen three daily shows of international and local films.