Updated: Jan 6, 2020
The business culture in Israel, like its overall culture, is diverse with an occasionally surprising contrast between warm hospitality and direct no-nonsense business attitude. If you are about to start working in an Israeli environment, this is the article for you.
Typical office hours are 9am to 6pm from Sunday to Thursday, but some business is conducted around the clock, or according to international office hours, depends on the nature of business.
International business is conducted in English. Internal business is conducted in Hebrew.
Usually the dress code will be Business Casual, but it’s always a good idea to ask your employer what is the office’s dress code.
Business associates usually greet with a handshake. Some particularly religious associates do not shake hands with members of the opposite sex. Business cards may be exchanged for convenience, often at the end of an introductory meeting. It is appropriate to have them printed in English.
Known as the Start-Up Nation, Israeli business is pervaded by technology and innovation. Israelis praise intelligence and creativity, showing respect for experts and prominent specialists in their field.
Business culture in Israel is casual and informal. Israelis are direct, assertive and persistent. Business is fast-paced Colleagues and business partners take time to get to know one another, socialize and drink coffee together.
The management style in Israel is often collaborative, and the concept of hierarchy is nothing like what you’re used to. Israelis are interested in solutions and results, and everyone is given the opportunity to voice their opinion. The culture places an enormous emphasis on hospitality and Israelis will make an effort to be accommodating to other cultures.
Business etiquette in Israel is relaxed. Most colleagues will not be available during Friday and Saturday as these are official rest days in Israel. It is customary to ask if there are special requirements when serving food or drink, as some Israelis observe the dietary laws of Kashrut.
Dos and Don’ts of working in Israel
Do respect diversity and individual opinions. Avoid politics in general conversation, as well as vocalizing generalizations about the culture and people.
Do be prepared for everything to be negotiable and be assertive.
Don't be surprised by sudden changes in plans.
Do make polite conversation and be friendly, flexible and accommodating.