• Yoni Levy

Three cultural rules you should have in mind before meeting Israelis

1. Israelis are very direct

Israelis say what they think in a very direct way without any filters. Moreover, Israelis expect everyone to be direct with them in return and do not understand indirect clues nor pay attention to body language. Thus, if you have something to say or you need to ask for something, it is expected that you will do so clearly and unequivocally. When you hang out with Israelis, don't beat around the bush and try not to get offended from their directness.

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2. Israelis tend to raise their voice and even shout

Israelis speak loudly, but that doesn't mean they are angry or nervous. Israelis raise their voice around the Shabbat table when talking with family, in normal conversations between friends, and two random people on the street can be shouting at each other during a regular conversation. They do it in order to prove a point, maybe to make sure the other side can hear, and sometimes it comes as a result of enthusiasm and joy.

If you happen to hear a conversation between two Israelis and think they are in the middle of a fight, try to look at the expression on their face. It is not enough to listen to intonation to know whether the Israelis are angry or just talking.

3. Israelis love negotiations

Photo by Renate Vanaga on Unsplash

In many shops in Israel, you are expected to bargain for the price, but Israelis do not like negotiation only in the context of buying and selling. Israelis like to make counter offers and bargain at every level of life. It's all about business, everything has a price, and we are down to negotiate. I will give you X but you will have to do Y. If you happen to spend time with Israelis you will see they are always open to suggestions and negotiation. They will often bring the need for negotiation to the table and explain that this is simply a way of life.

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About the writer, Yoni Levy:

4 years experience in the Israeli tourism field, focusing on Jerusalem. Co-founder of a local NGO in Jerusalem named Lissan.

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