Israeli Business Etiquette

To meet with success in the Israeli market depends on how you and your business are perceived by your partners. Although very strongly present in Western markets, Israeli business culture differs greatly from what Europeans are used to. It’s our job to help you succeed. Go over the tips that will help you prepare better for your Israeli colleagues.

  1. Forget formal dress – Israel is a hot country with temperatures of well over 30°C for most of the year. It is difficult to stay comfortable in a suit all the time. Feel free to leave your jacket at home or to wear a nice polo shirt. Women usually wear dresses or slacks and a blouse. To stay safe, dress for the first meeting as you usually do. You never can know if your counterpart has read similar tips.

  2. Use first names – Using first names instead of titles helps Israelis to break the ice quicker and get to what is really important. Stay with surnames at the initial meeting, however.

  3. Religion plays an important role – Israel is a land where people of several religions live next to each other. You should take this into account when dressing for a meeting with your Orthodox or Arab partner. In these cases stay rather conservative.

  4. Provide an agenda – It is useful to provide an agenda of what you want to talk about before the meeting starts. This will help you to achieve your goal better.

  5. Let’s talk together – Don’t hesitate when asked questions about yourself. Israeli businessmen like to know who you are and who they are about to do business with.

  6. Be direct – Israelis prefer a direct and straightforward answer, even if it is of a negative nature. Forget the “maybe”, “we will see”, etc.

  7. Working Sunday – Sunday is a working day in Israel unlike Saturday, the Jewish Sabbath. Don’t expect Israelis to be fully responsive on Friday either, although officially it is a working day.

  8. You might get interrupted – Israelis are very informal. Sometimes, it can happen that they interrupt your speech to bring a new idea into discussion. Do not get offended by that as they don’t consider it rude. Sometimes, the conversation can turn very vivid. Israelis are of a lively nature so don’t get surprised.

  9. Avoid certain topics – Unless your partner begins to talk about it on his/her own, don’t start a conversation on topics such as the Holocaust or the Arab-Israeli conflict. These events are still sensitive to Israelis.

Israel is small but a very diverse and interesting country. And so are its people! Be open-minded and let Israelis surprise you with their exciting mix of cultures, traditions, beliefs and ideas.

Do you want to develop your business in the Czech Republic or Israel? We are here to help you. Our consultants have wide experience from both countries. Contact us for more information.