Etiquette in Israel

Israel, the world’s only Jewish-majority state, has a population of just over 8 million people.

Israel is a parliamentary democracy and is led by a president and prime minister.

Hebrew and Arabic are the official languages, although English, French, Yiddish, and Russian are frequently heard.

Israeli Jews make up the majority of the population with affiliations of traditional, secular, Zionist, Haredi, ultra-Orthodox and Haredim. Muslims constitute about 16% of the populations.

The currency is the New shekel (₪‎).

Avoid giving any gifts until you know something about the person you are giving it to. A gift needs to reflect the interests of the recipient. For Orthodox Jews and Muslim Arabs, a gift must not violate any restrictions of their belief system.

If you are invited to someone’s home, bring a gift of flowers or food. If the family is Orthodox, ensure that any food that you bring is kosher. If you know that children will be present, acknowledging them with a small gift is appreciated.

Receive gifts with either the right hand or both hands, never with just the left hand.

Dining etiquette is Continental.

You should presume that your host and hostess keep kosher, meaning that pork and shellfish aren’t served.

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