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Business Customs & Travel

Business Customs

Israel’s business environment has no particular business protocols; it mainly follows western US style conventions, which makes most U.S. businesspeople feel very comfortable in doing business in Israel.

American business travelers will find business dress in both the public and private sectors to be much less formal than in the U.S., however, formal dress can be seen in meetings with government officials and in high level executives companies.

Appointments can be made on fairly short notice, however, reconfirming appointments is advised, given that; most Israelis tend to have busy schedules. Israelis arrive well prepared for meetings and are very direct. It’s desired to provide your hosts with an agenda outlining your objectives in advance. Business cards exchange is common although some may be less alerted by this practice. Therefore, provide your business card early on, and politely request one in return, if not offered and important.

In terms of language, English is widely spoken in the business community and in government offices, but knowing and using a few Hebrew words, especially introductory phrases and greetings, can be useful.

Travel Advisory

U.S. travelers can refer to http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis/cis_1064.html for the most up-to-date information on Travel Warnings and Visa Requirements for Israel

Visa Requirements

U.S. Companies that require travel of foreign businesspersons to the United States should be advised that security evaluations are handled via an interagency process. Visa applicants should go to the following links.

State Department Visa Website: http://travel.state.gov/visa/

Visa is not required for Americans traveling for tourism or short term business projects. Visitors are entitled to remain in Israel up to three months from the date of their arrival, in accordance with the conditions of the visa issued to them upon their entrance to Israel.

Visitors intending to work in Israel must submit a request to the Ministry of the Interior for a special visa.

For more information please visit: http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/About+the+Ministry/Consular_affairs/Visas.htm#A/4

U.S. Companies that require travel of foreign businesspersons to the United States should be advised that security evaluations are handled via an interagency process. Visa applicants should go to the following links.

State Department Visa Website: http://travel.state.gov/visa/

http://usembassy-israel.org.il/consular/acs/index.aspx

Transportation

Israel has an extensive road network that connects the entire country and has an advanced inland and international transport facilities. Rental cars, taxis and limousines with driver are readily available for U.S. Visitors. U.S. drivers may rent cars with a valid U.S. or international drivers’ license.

One of the most notable advances in transport in Israel in recent years has been the modernization of the train system. Israel Railways has expanded and improved. Currently trains run more frequently to more destinations. Commuter trains run from Tel Aviv to most of the large cities from Nahariya in the north to Dimona in the south, including Jerusalem and Ben Gurion Airport. Extensive freight services are available and most often used between Haifa, the port in the north, and Ashdod, Israel’s primary port in the south.

Ben Gurion International Airport offers connections to several international destinations. Ben Gurion is the country’s center of air passenger and cargo operations. Several companies still provide internal flights between the major cities, most common Tel Aviv, Haifa to Eilat.

There is no public transportation on the Jewish Sabbath.

Ben Gurion International Airport
Israel Railways

Language

Hebrew and Arabic are the two official languages of Israel. English is the third and principal international language, and Russian is also prevalent. Many signs in public places are in all three languages. Most Israelis are multilingual.

Local Time, Business Hours, and Holidays

Local Time: UTC + 2 hours (7-6 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time (EST), and observes daylight savings.)

Business Hours: Sunday – Thursday from 8:00a.m – 5:00p.m. for most businesses and government Offices. Fridays are kept for private activities; however Israelis will contain business activities on Friday mornings if necessary.

The U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv is open 8:00a.m. - 4:30p.m. Monday - Friday.

2012 Israeli Holidays: All businesses in Israel are closed

Passover (1st Day)* Saturday April 7

Passover (Last Day)* Friday April 13

Israeli Independence Day Thursday April 26

Shavuot (Pentecost) Sunday May 27

Rosh Hashanah (Day 1) Monday September 17

Rosh Hashanah (Day 2) Tuesday September 18

Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) Wednesday September 26

Succot (Feast of Tabernacles)* Monday October 1

Simhat Torah (Rejoicing of the law)* Thursday October 8

*Some businesses and all government offices are closed during the week of Passover (April 7-13) and Succot (October 1 -8).

Temporary Entry of Materials and Personal Belongings

ATA Carnet is accepted by Israel. For more information please visit: http://export.gov/logistics/eg_main_018129.asp

It is advisable to contact the Embassy of Israel in Washington or one of Israel's consulates in the U.S. for specific information regarding customs requirements.

For general customs regulations please see our information at http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis/cis_1468.html. or http://ozar.mof.gov.il/customs/eng/mainpage.htm