All there is to know about relocating and living in Israel
There are a thousand and one reasons why people move to Israel; it could be for employment and economic purpose, for Israel’s cultural environment, its thriving technology sector or for religious reasons. Whatever the reason might be, immigrating to Israel offers a plethora of experiences that one should definitely look forward to.
As much as there is to experience, there is also a lot to prepare for considering the fact that you’re going into a different environment which might have a totally different culture, tradition, language, practices as well as a host of other differences that would exist.
Upon moving to Israel, whether for studies, to take on a temporary or permanent job, or just to settle down, there are a certain challenges you are bound to experience that you must be prepared for. They include; language barriers, Culture shock, unforeseen circumstance as well as general anxiety and all these factors might make settling down difficult or tasking for you.
Not to worry however, there are a lot of benefits in store for persons immigrating to Israel including support systems in place to make migration and settling down as seamless and comfortable as possible.
Drawing from experiences and stories of expatriates as well as persons involved in the system, this article contains basically the most important things new migrants need to know about migrating to Israel; the issues and challenges, as well as preparations to take cognizance of when preparing to migrate, when migrating and even after you might have arrived Israel.
Quelling your fears
We believe the first thing you might have to face while embarking on this journey is fear, or anxiety, whatever you might choose to call it. Of course migrating is a major move, much more serious than moving houses within same state or country and as such is bound to be daunting and worrisome.
There are so many things to worry about beginning from finances, if you’re going in for a job, you might be anxious about the safety of your job, fitting into the new society and the likes. Believe me, the list of worries is endless and even very absurd things will come to mind at this point.
The best way to get past all these worries and feel more confident and assured is to take away your focus from the things that seem to scare you and place them on the safe and familiar things. Considering the upsides to this move would help take your mind off the fears and anxiety. A specialist in health and mental health in Israel, Sara Jacobovici believes that refocusing your thoughts would help dispel the anxieties.
Bridging the cultural gap
First thing you should know is that Israel is filled with persons from different countries of the world and as such there would be different cultures, practices, beliefs and attitudes in the social space you will find yourself.
Israelis also have their own inherent culture, language as well as practices which might be in no way similar to yours. Israelis have been found to be very vocal and bold in their thoughts and actions so you should be prepared to see a lot of persons who you might think are rude, but are basically being who they are. As a result of all these, you might find yourself getting lost in the sea of culture but it is very important to hold your ground.
The banking and finance factor
Israel’s currency is known as the New Israeli Shekel, often abbreviated as ILS or NIS which is valued at around 3.5 – 4.0 shekels to the US dollar. As of March 2019, 1 US dollar was equivalent to 3.63 shekels.
In a case where you do not plan to travel with all your money, it is pertinent to visit your home bank and set up a means of accessing the cash after moving so that you can easily make any online transaction from Israel. You can also considering setting up a global account; such that you can have all your funds in one account and operate from wherever you are.
There are a number of large financial institutions you can choose to bank with in Israel comfortably after you arrive, some of which are First National Bank, Mercantile Bank, Bank Leumi and a few others. So when considering banks and banking, look up some of these banks and choose which you would want to make your financial institution.
Bringing kids along
A new country has a lot of implications on children; new schools, new friends, strange environment, exposure to new lifestyle, and cultural shift. You should expect all these changes to take a toll on your kids, you would have to listen to them, support them as much as possible and find ways to help them adjust as easily as possible to the new environment.
If your kids or you need professional help to better take in and accommodate the change, there are also a number of councilors, therapists and other professionals among the English speaking population that can render expert support in such case.
You would have to search schools that offer education in English; Israel has a few of them where you can register your kids. Blending in would definitely take some time and in this period you should be as supportive and possible. Apart from classroom lectures you also have options of home tutoring if you would prefer such for some reasons. For kids who want to study away from home, boarding facilities are also available so they can live amongst other kids and get the away from home experience.
Children catch on to stuffs early and in no time they would make new friends, get acclimatized and even learn the language; all in good time.
Time and timeliness in Israel
Another thing you should know about Israel is how they deal with timing and appointments. In Israel you would find that they are mostly relaxed about time and appointments. However, there are different rules of timeliness for different engagements. For example, attending a social event or party 30 minutes later the stated time is completely fine. Official appointments like job interviews and business meetings on the other hand require you to be absolutely on time. Working hours are not the regular 9am to 5pm you would expect, they are often longer with some offices opening as early as 7:30am and closing for the day as late as 6pm. Due to time zone issues, firms that work with other countries might have a bit of shift from this pattern to fit in with the markets they work with.
All government offices have their stipulated working time so it would be in your best interest to always put calls across before visiting any.
Shops and markets also open as early as official businesses. You can find local shops open as early as 7am and close by 7pm with a few convenience stores open for business 24 hours a day, every day of the week. Major shopping centers and malls are usually open between the hours of 9am-9pm, so you can shop from the early hours of the day into the wee hours of the night.
Phone etiquette is yet another angle to consider in Israel. Generally, it is okay to call someone between the hours of 7am to 10pm when they are home with exception of the afternoon hours of 2pm to 4pm on non-working days. On work free days, most persons take their siesta within 2-4pm and you might be disturbing someone’s rest hour if you call by then.
During the Sabbath that is Friday evening to Saturday evening, and on Jewish holy days, some Jews do not accept phone calls so you should also note this fact.
It is also worthy of note that most Israeli schools operate a 6 days a week educational system, with a few operating 5 days a week, so your kids might have one extra school day depending on what policy their school runs.
All forms of transportation services in Israel are timed and prompt; you just might miss the train if you dally around a few minutes longer than you are supposed to.
Carrier and Mobile devices
You can choose to go along with your phone or purchase a new one; whatever the case might be you should be aware that the price of mobile devices is quite high in Israel nevertheless you can order online and get them at a cheaper rate.
Israel’s mobile carrier services are eight in number and they include orange, HOT mobule, Cellocom, Golan Telecom, 012 mobile, and pelephone. Every service provider has affordable and discounted packages that you can choose from based on your preference.
For overseas calls, most carriers offer monthly unlimited calls for around 50 shekels giving you the opportunity to stay in touch with loved ones, family and friends in different countries of the world.
Keeping your old cellphone number
You are not only able to keep your old phone (well, except a few blackberry devices that Israel’s carrier might not support), you can also keep your old cellphone number and use it away from your home country.
There is a service called Google voice that enables you to register your phone number which will be used as your Google voice number; that way you can get calls coming in on that number. To do this, you would still need a carrier service, more like a transmitting platform to help you receive all your calls directed to your existing number.
Google voice can also help you use one number for whatever number of phones you have; all calls will be coming in through one same number. Keeping your existing phone number and a whole lot of other voice services are made possible and available on Google voice, even opting for a new phone number. When opting for a number all you have to do is choose from the available Google numbers and register it as your new number on Google voice.
The global mail service of the United States offers an easy and relatively cheap way of managing all your mails while you are overseas. Upon registration you are assigned an address where all your mails and correspondents would be delivered to. You would be able to view and manage all these mails and correspondents online on your portal.
You can receive all your traditional mails online upon delivery; this is how it works; you would be given a street address box number where all your mails will be sent to. When these mails and packages are physically delivered, the boxes and envelopes will be scanned and sent to you. You can now, through your online panel request that the packages be opened so you can view the content. In the end, you get to decide what package should be sent to you, what document to be scanned, as well as those to be destroyed. All these can be done on ‘Mailbox Forwarding.com’ beginning from getting a mailing address that can be accessed online as well as every other step.
Staying in touch with family and friends
With recent worldwide expansion in communication including international communication, out of sight doesn’t have to be out of communication; there are different sustainable ways for you to stay in touch with family and friends. We have looked into how to get phones, carrier services and retain your phone number as well as available call bundles for international calls. All of these are some available means of keeping in contact.
You can also send and receive electronic mails and correspondence to countries world over.
Social media is yet another means of contacting family and friends; with the different social media platforms like Whatsapp, Facebook, Face time, Skype, Twitter, and the likes available, the world, in the words of Marshall McLuhan is indeed a global village and with a decent data plan, or even free WIFI services offered in some cafes, you can have your dear ones near regardless of the vast physical distance.
Cost of living and expatriate communities in Israel
There are a number of immigrant communities that one can live in Israel offering diverse living experiences, amongst these communities there are some that have a growing expatriate community where you can meet and live among the numbers of Americans, Chines, Indians, south Africans, Sri Lankans, and a list of others living, studying and working in Israel.
Common among such communities are the Filipino community and the Bahai community which is a home to persons of such culture, customs, traditions and habits that create a blended and unique society to live in. such communities offer you the opportunity to blend, socialize with persons from different backgrounds and learn about different cultures and practices.
Cost of living in Israel
Israel is ranked the 10th most expensive country out of 115 countries sampled in a survey; this goes to say a lot about the cost of living there.
Aside from general assessment, the cost of living in Israel is dependent on the area one chooses to settle; cost of living in some areas is less than others while in some others are higher. The cost of acquiring properties as well as rentals is quite on the high side especially in areas that offer high quality education and technological advancements as well as job opportunities. An example of such is Raanana, a small- sized town in Tel Aviv; it is constituted by an English speaking majority, high standard schools, and a vibrant economy. This city actually costs more than most large communities including Haifa- the third biggest city in Israel. Regardless of the high cost of living, wages in Israel are lower than average with the minimum waging.
In 2018, the national minimum wage in Israel remained fixed at 5,145.76 Israeli New Shekel per month, which is 61,749.10 Israeli New Shekel per year, taking into account 12 payments per year which is an equivalent of 1,418.33dollars per month and 17,017.46 United States Dollar yearly. This is just the minimum wage however as more technical and high class jobs pay more than that. It is good to bear all these in mind before applying for jobs and taking up employment.
Shopping and spending in Israel
If you love shopping, you might be in for a roller coaster ride as Israelis love the thrill of shopping themselves and engage in the activity often. Israel offers various ranges of local and imported goods in their malls and shops so you have a wide plethora of brands, products and accessories to choose from; you might even get pulled into the thrill of shopping and spending excessively if you do not put a rein on it. Israelis also thrive on negotiating for discount on purchases whether big or small; from markets to malls, negotiations and bargaining are done to reduce the cost of regular goods and services; gaining such negotiation technique would totally help you reduce your expenses and get better deals while shopping. Learning the Hebrew language would also go a long way to help as often times sellers deal higher prices to foreigners simply because they do not understand the language and negotiation techniques.
There are a few concepts you need to master before you hit Israel’s markets and malls as well as the Israeli words for them.
Discount: like earlier said discount shopping would save you a lot of cash so you should always request for discount on purchase. It is called a ‘Hanacha’ in Israel.
Installments: Israel offers monthly payments sans interest on some purchases and most stores subscribe to this method of payment. It is called ‘Tashloomim’ you should ask if this service is available when you go to make payments in order to save upfront cost and pay at your convenience.
Credit: Making credit purchases, especially with credit card is another form of paying in installment, although with interest rates this time. When making ‘Kre’dit’ or credit purchases, ensure that you are in agreement with the vendor and also your credit card company on what of interest you would have to pay on purchases.
Being a fryer: lastly and strangely enough, a fryer is one who is not strong on bargaining and purchase business. A fryer would not question outrageous prices, but a smart buyer would.
The fun side of Israel
One thing the large English community settlements liked Tel Aviv and Jerusalem can boast of is a wide range of social and cultural events. World class universities also have a number of social activities for on campus and off campus students. You can stay abreast of all these social activities by following social media pages and sites.
Newspapers like Ha’aretz and the Jerusalem post are a good source of information on activities going on within Israel; such events are usually featured on their English weekend editions. Note that in the world of employment weekends mostly span Sundays to Thursdays while Fridays and Saturdays are weekends. All your adventures and exploration would have to take place on Fridays and Saturdays except your employment contract states otherwise. Two days are actually enough to do all of your sightseeing as you can travel round the city in a short time because of its size.
You can also make a plan on what adventure you would indulge in every weekend and in no time, you would have gone through all and had wonderful experiences.
There are also some season specific activities that you could get the best of when the time is right; for example it is best to go for walks, explorations, cycling, hiking and other outdoor activities when during autumn and spring because it offers the perfect weather condition for such activities.
You could explore the northern parts of Israel after the first rains in autumn when the weather is not too hot, you would be blessed with a view of blooming flowers and beautiful waterfalls.
If you are big on hiking, you might get a thrill out of hiking the Israel National Trail from the north to the south of the country. There are beautiful sights to experience like mountains, depths of forests, deserts and even views of some urban areas across this range. If you are not big on hiking, that is fine too; there are nature reserves and parks that offer equally beautiful experiences. You can register with the authorities in charge of nature and parks so you can visit these centers at discounted rates at will.
The Israel Nature & Parks Authority also runs a number of budget friendly campsites. You can enjoy sleeping under the open skies between June and August when the weather is warm and you don’t have to be scared about catching a chill. Star gazers can find pleasure near Mitzpe Ramon and also enjoy a serene deserts view.
Water sports and beautiful aquariums are also available in Eilat as well as underwater observatory. Although quite a distance away from some towns, a few hours of car ride can get you there or an even shorter flight time. Beer Sheva boasts of an air force museum located in the Bedouin area where you can explore at will.
There are also weekend tours that head out to Cyprus on Thursday evenings and return on Sunday mornings. Embarking on one of these tours would expose you to a weekend full of thrilling activities like pool parties, hangouts, casinos and all the fun activities that Cyprus offers.
Israel is fun and can even be more fun once you know where to go and what activities to participate in.
Maintaining safe nutrition in Israel
If you plan to eat at restaurants or side stalls in Israel, there are some health tips to be aware about. Food vendors are the first area of consideration. Israel’s road side shops offer different types of foods like bread, cheese, coffee and other cooked meals which you can stop over to eat. Since you cannot be sure whether the foods will be fresh or not, especially the cooked ones, you should be mindful while buying and eating them
Fast foods on to the hand might offer a more hygienic environment in light of the fact that they provide you with facilities to wash your hands before and after eating. However in the course of service you might have something to worry about as most of the servers in restaurants do not wear gloves and as such your food might be unhygienic. For first time visits to eateries or restaurants one way to know if they offer good enough meals or at least good customer service is by observing if they have customers waiting or eating; if the shops are packed full it means something, if it is empty too, there is also something to pick up.
For healthy eaters, you have a wide range of healthy food products often found in special health food stores and supermarkets around you. These shops offer a lot of low calorie, low cholesterol gluten-free foods, even vegan recipes.
Israel boasts of mostly potable water, although it does not hurt to filter or purify them yourselves. It is remotely safe to drink water from taps as they are quite pure even though they are not totally tasteless. Bottle water us available in supermarkets and convenience shops but they are quite expensive; this might be the reason why some persons use filters to purify their water.
Working and traveling permits
If you are entering Israel for work, the first point of call is to apply for work permit at the ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor in your city. After that you head to the Ministry of interior where you would fill a visa application form. You would be issued a short term visa B-1 with which you would enter Israel.
After you have gotten in, you need to visit the Ministry of interior in Israel to apply for a visa extension. You will be then be issued a visa for the period of your work stay in Israel.
Healthcare and insurance
Once you have decided on your relocation and settled in, waste no time before setting up your health insurance scheme. Look out for the best and most suitable health plan from a trustworthy insurance company. Insuring your health is not to be taken lightly.
In Israel, legislations guarding healthcare and insurance are different for residents and non-residents. Students, workers, foreigners, tourists, contract employees and the likes who do not have permanent residency must have private health insurance to cover the length of their stay in the country.
It is very important to cover every angle of your health when getting insured. Don’t only insure yourself against future medical conditions but cover all existing health conditions as well. Find health plans and insurance agencies that cover existing
Purchasing and renting houses in Israel
As an expatriate in Israel you have a few options when it comes to housing and apartments. If you are coming for a job, your employer might already have your accommodation sorted out either temporarily or permanently, in such case you have little or nothing to worry about as you can take your time to search for your own accommodation.
Often times, you can get agents to help in your search for an apartment because they know the area as well as the kinds of apartment that would suit your preferences as well as pricing options. If you are not employing the duties of an agent or housing agency i.e. if you are looking for houses yourself, you have a lot of things to familiarize yourself with such as housing costs, best living areas, rental agreements, and utility payments. In the following sections we would enlighten you on some of these things you should know.
When seeking apartments, the most convenient option would be to opt for already serviced apartments as they would have all you need saving you from stress.
If you’re trying to save cost, you have an option of getting shared accommodation with a friend, school mate or a colleague. You would be able to share rent, electricity and other utility bills, thereby saving yourself some expenses.
As an expatriate you do qualify for mortgages. With your income earnings, the cash you have in your bank accounts and investments you can qualify for mortgages when trying to get yourself a house. Basically there are some rules guiding mortgage allocation as well as a number of mortgage banks where you can be assessed and informed of what mortgage you qualify for.
For cleaning and maintenance of your home, often time you might have to carry that burden yourself as your landlord might not get cleaners and workers that you would be able to give you the kind of service you need. It is better for you to contact our directories yourself to connect with cleaners, repairers and workers that would satisfy you.
Building social networks in Israel
The best way to settle into Israel smoothly is actually by getting connected to people who can offer assistance and directions in the strange new environment you have found yourself. Often times support groups exists within communities that can help you settle in and give you directives. You can also connect with other expatriates and share experiences together. You can also connect with clubs and organizations where you would get to meet similar minded people who would offer you a sense of belonging and mutual relativity.
On social media, you could also connect with friends and communities on platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn; there are forums for expatriates to Israel where you can meet people, get advice and connections.
Learning the language
Whether you are making purchases, looking at houses, starting up at your place of work or just exploring, your ability to understand and speak the Hebrew language goes a long way to make things smooth and easy for you. Of course you can survive on English language, especially living in expatriate communities, but a lot of good lies in understanding the language and culture in Israel.
Hebrew language is wide and complicated and difficult to learn. Although with words in its vocabulary; about 60,000 words and a few other words being added in modern times bringing it up to about 150,000 words. Hebrew alphabets are different from the English alphabets and could be really difficult to learn. Reading the Hebrew language is just as difficult as it contains some sounds and pronunciation that might be totally unfamiliar to foreigners.
Writing the language is also unique; you write from right to left rather than left to write. Hebrew words are also gender specific much similar to German language; there are specific forms of writing and also speaking for either male or female. Tenses, verbs and nouns are also a bit complex and interesting as they are written and spoken differently in past, present and future tense.
The Hebrew language is also rich in slangs, symbolisms and idioms that are very interesting when you understand the deep meanings behind them. You can’t do this without understanding the language.
You do not necessarily need to understand the language totally because that would take time, you would find that half of Israel’s population speak little of the language or much as the case might be, but only about 50 percent are well grounded as that number is usually made up by native Hebrews in the country. So start from somewhere, learn a little and go up from there.
Counting down to relocation: a checklist
A month before the move
One month is the perfect time to start packing up your stuff, especially if you have lots of them. At this point you should go through your belongings and decide what you would be taking along, what you would be leaving behind, giving out to loved ones, donating to shelters or putting up for sale as the case may be.
Consider your furniture; do you want to move them or leave them behind and get new furniture in Israel or are you looking to move into an already furnished house? As for your home appliances, you can choose to move them or get a new set in Israel; you would find they have good appliances with warranty.
Once you have decided what stuff you are moving and what you would be leaving behind, make a list of those you are moving to ensure you leave nothing behind in due time. Return whatever you might have borrowed from the local library or friends; collect the stuff you lent to persons as well, you might forget to do that later.
Look into your registrations, memberships or fellowships you belong to and inform them you would be pulling out. Pay outstanding debt or get refunds for advance payments. Sort out your rentals with your realtors as well.
Inform persons who work for you especially home service, milk delivery, newspaper delivery, cleaning agencies and general services of your approaching move.
If you have insurance policies, ensure that you arrange for them to be paid in your absence. Work on creating contact after the move. It is also important to see your local post office or mail providers to forward your mails to your new address.
Check with your bank to make sure everything is in place for your trip and sort out any outstanding issues.
Relocating with kids? Ensure you have all necessary documents from their previous schools as well as all the requirements of the new school they would be attending in order.
Work on your shipping arrangements with the company; find out all you need to know and finalize your plans and timing for your shipment. While on this, look into existing shipping regulations to know what you can and cannot move into the country based. If you have a pet, you also have to arrange shipment for it.
Moving your pet
For most persons, our pets are a part of us it is impossible to go anywhere without our pet and we would totally hate to leave them behind. Kids would definitely despise the idea of relocating without their dear pet and it just might make the movement more stressful and painful for them. When moving to Israel you don’t have to worry about leaving your pet behind, there are shipments available for your pet so register them for the move as well.
Two weeks before the move
By now you should be aware of all the details of your departure and can now make further preparations. First of all, you should inform your service providers in advance about the date for termination of service.
Make sure you have all your papers and documents both for the trip and those you would need. For safety purpose, make copies, scan and upload them on your computer, Google drive or your mobile devices. Don’t forget to do same with your medical records, they are of utmost importance.
In a case where you are undergoing treatment for an ailment, endeavor to get enough doses of medication from your doctor that could last you a few months while you are settling in and before you get to meet a doctor who you can continue treatments with. There are many doctors in Israel specializing in different areas of health and most of them speak English so communication would not be a problem.
A week before the move
The D day is near, anticipations must be high, feelings too. All last minute preparations should be done at this point. Make sure your chargers, plugs, wires, computers and its cables and like materials are all packed up and ready to go. If you are going with kids, help them pack up a few of their favorite books, playthings, snacks and other stuff they would need for the trip in a small luggage. You can also indulge them in making a scrapbook or photo album with their favorite photographs, pictures of friends and family you are living behind, favorite places and memories they would want to carry with them.
The day before the Move
All your belongings should be packed a day before. Ensure you direct the packing crew to pack up everything the way you want. Pack and label the important things yourself and oversee everything.
Bid your farewells at this point; inform your neighbors, friends and neighborhood security that you would be moving out. Clean out the rooms in your house, look up and place all the necessary keys together for your agent or the person moving in after you.
D- Day of the Move
Go around the house to make sure you cleaned out completely and that you are not leaving anything behind. Lock every door and window, turn of electricity completely, check for running tap heads and shut them off before you leave.
Take note of everything the moving agents will be loading up and cross-check your list with theirs. Ensure proper documentation by both parties to prevent your properties from getting missing or mixed up somehow.
Ensure that at least one of the shipping agents bringing your shipments to your new home speaks English or have a translator in their midst that you could communicate with and confirm your belongings.
Settling in- First week
Explore your neighborhood; find out how everything works and where you can find the things you need. Locate convenience shops, supermarkets, bus stops, train stations, parks and the likes close to your hours.
Introduce yourself to your neighbors be friendly with them, they are actually in the best place to help you with directions or even show you around at their free time.
Get every form of identification and license you would need in your new location; identity cards, driver’s license and the likes. You can visit the hospitals at this time and register with a health service provider. Your previous medical documents would be important in this line.
Seek legal advice on how to go about transferring, submitting, translating and authenticating your papers and other documents. Ensure you cover all the legal aspects of your move.
We would include a local business directory at the end of this article to help you find contacts and information easier.
Getting around Israel
Israel is big on public transportation; buses, trains and taxis alike. Transportation services are very reliable, affordable and readily available to suit the large population of Israelis who make use of public transport. Bus services span through the country while a few train services exist in the south at Beer Sheva and in the north at Nahariya. The east boasts of an airport service.
In January 2016 the Israel Transport Tariff Reform came into effect, making it possible for you to register for the services of any form of public transport of your choice daily, weekly or monthly at an inexpensive rate.
Available forms of public transportation
Israel offers an underground cable railway service called the ‘Carmelit’. It connects downtown Haifa with the heart of Hadar as well as the surburbs of the Carmel. This cable train goes round these destinations in a little above 5 minutes
The Light Train is the best option for avoiding heavy traffic especially in the busy hours of the day in Jerusalem; the capital city. The Jerusalem light train has its own lane in the road so movement is always swift.
Tel Aviv would soon join Jerusalem with its own light train which is still in its construction phase.
Commuting between Krayot and the commercial heart of Hadar, as well as the technological center of MATAM, is made possible with a light train service called ‘the Metronit’ which provides rail services connecting these areas.
Away from the rail services, there are available shared taxis, locally called ‘sherut’ consisting 10 passengers at a fairly affordable price, almost the same amount as the regular bus fare.
Private taxis are also available and can be paid for based on metered rate or a stated price for the distance.
There are a number of transport apps that can help you access transportation easier. Some include Gettaxi, Moovit, Waze and a list of others. You can check your app store for some of these applications and download them to your phone. Some apps even have GPS services, making it easy to make your way around the cities in Israel.
Available broadcast stations in Israel
NEWS: Sky news, British Broadcasting Corporation, Fox news and France 24 are the major English news channels in Israel.
DOCUMENTRIES: Reality TV shows like Master Chef, Survivor, Amazing race, have been re-enacted into local versions that you might like. There are a number of educative shows, nutrition shows both local and international alike. National Geographic channels, Discovery channels, CBS Reality are a few.
MOVIES: There are a plethora of English movie channels of all genres available in Israel. There are local entertainment channels in Hebrew as well as in English. Russian and Arabic channels are also available.
CABLE TV: There are 2 major cable TV companies in Israel. HOT T.Vand YES T.V. these cable companies offer many interesting TV channels and services like ‘movies demand’ and ‘start over’ that can be gotten once you subscribe monthly. LOCAL CHANNELS: The three most popular local channels in Israel are Channel 10, Channel 22 and Israel TV – Channel 1. Channel 10 and channel 22 are commercial channels.
ONLINE MOVIES: You can watch movies online on the different online movie platforms available in Israel. YouTube and Netflix are a few available platforms.
Ensuring your personal security
Generally, the streets of Israel are safe and secure and you have no worries when moving about whether in the day or at night. Persons of all ages can walk alone in the streets without looking over their shoulders. Your kids can walk to school either alone or in the company of friends safely. Late night hangouts are also safe especially on warm nights. There are night-lines and public transport facilities if you want to move at night for any reason.
Public institutions and businesses are usually guarded by security agents who conduct body scans and luggage check at the entrances to these places. Even public bus and train stations have security agents attached to them to ensure criminal operations do not go on then. Major buildings have full body scanners while some only make use of hand scanners.
The presence of these security measures does not guarantee the total absence of crime however. In the street and in markets you should be mindful of petty thieves and pickpockets. Ensure your bags are properly zipped shut, your money, phones or any other important stuff is not in your back pocket. Also try to be as conscious as possible when moving in crowded places or moving alone at night. Your safety is very important so take care of yourself.
Some communities mostly the religious ones have strict codes of conduct especially when it comes to dressing so ensure that you do not break any of these codes or offend religious sects by flouting dress codes or acceptable practices.
Israel’s National security
Since Israel’s independence there has been a constant security threat over the country; most often threats of terrorism or war.
As sad as it is to say, a number of terrorist activities have taken place in Israel and there are threats of more to come. It is important to always follow the news and look out for situations that seem threatening in order to act fast and save yourself from being a victim. The Home Front Command bears the responsibility of informing the public in an emergency situation so they can take precautionary measures.
Sometimes it is possible to make away from the country when you hear about some threats but other times it is not possible to fly out to safety. During full blown crisis or wars most institutions would shut down including schools and some institutions of labor. Some other organizations would still not close down even in such crisis situations and if you are under the employ of one of those, you would have to go in for work. In such cases you would need to engage caregivers to take care of your kids at home and ensure that they are safe indoors.
In an aim to better equip the citizens and the security agencies within the nation, natives of Israel are required to undertake a period of army service with the Israel Defense force.
When traveling outside Israel, always follow all directives and warnings from your embassy and be mindful of the countries you are going into. There are some regulations guiding traveling to places like Gaza, the United Arab emirates and the West-Bank.
Simple tips for fitting in
See your relocation experience as an opportunity to gain new experiences. This positivity would help you overcome whatever difficulty you might face when trying to fit into your new community
Try to always work towards your reason for relocating; whether education, employment or new environment. It would help you work towards making the achievements you have in mind.
Embrace the differences in your new environment, blend as much as you can, learn and make new experiences.
Prepare to make compromise; there are some foods, products and services you are used to back at home that you might not find in Israel. Be ready to leave some habits and learn some new ones.
Some helpful tips from expatriates in Israel
I am from America. From experience, when traveling wherever the country, you should know where you are going and study the distance before you move. Google maps can be very much helpful.
I have lived in a few countries before relocating to Israel. Everywhere I have lived, the locals have been very helpful when it comes to settling in; be friendly with them and you would find it easy settling in.
Plan properly before you travel; pack everything you need on time so you don’t get in unprepared and leave things behind.
Positivity would help you settle in especially when you don’t find yourself in a familiar situation; be open minded and try to blend in, you will enjoy it in no time.
Share your experiences
You can also share your experiences in the course of migrating and settling into Israel so you can help others when they are trying to make their decisions as well. You can leave your comments under this post or on any of our social media platforms. You can talk about, employment, getting visa and work permits, finding houses, schooling and education, lifestyle, healthcare, cost of living as well as any other experience you gain in the course of your migration.
Expect to go through challenges in the course of your relocation; often times no matter how much you plan, things might take a turn in the other direction. Keep calm, be open-minded, learn as much as you can, move on from disappointments once they come. Contact a support group that would offer assistance especially with the initial settling in.
Embrace the differences, build on the similarities, learn the language, embrace the culture, enjoy the new life you have found and make the best of it.