Dating in Israel as a Non-Native: My Unique Perspective
Moving to Israel has been a life-changing experience. I came to Israel as a married man, and now I am single. The dating world is different in Israel, and it takes a lot of effort for a non-native to get a date and even find someone to respond past the first message or two on OKCupid.
Women seem to have the advantage on dating apps, especially on OKCupid, which is the dating website I prefer.
Men are expected to send the first message. Women are 3.5 times less likely to send the first message.
And for me, it’s even harder to play number games. I have found that it takes 10 or more emails to get a response. The responses often don’t lead anywhere. There’s a high chance that the woman won’t respond to further messages.
There’s a lot going against me in this respect, and I believe it’s something every foreigner moving to Israel must experience to some extent.
The language barrier.
Hebrew is a difficult language to learn, and while I can hold a conversation, there are still hints of me not being a native speaker that comes out. I know that the language barrier is holding me back, and Israelis are more likely to respond to a Hebrew speaker than an English speaker.
Proficiency in Hebrew is something I am working towards, and it’s coming along slowly. I am definitely a lot better than I was when I first moved to Israel. How long will it take me to become proficient? This is a question I can’t answer.
Some people struggle for decades to fully master Hebrew, and others can master the language, or become highly proficient, in just 2-3 years with daily study.
I discover new words every day, but conveying this to a woman on a dating site is difficult when trying to break the ice through messages results in a 10% or less response rate.
What I’ve learned is that finding love online, or even a simple date, requires a lot of work. I am working diligently to figure it all out, and while my friends recommend OkCupid because the company’s matching algorithm is impressive, I have since branched out.
I run a Facebook group that helps me (and others) connect with singles in the area. Group members can view each other’s profiles, learn more about a person and connect on a more personal level than on some dating websites.
I’ve also found people respond differently on different platforms.
Some platforms have users that are more open than others. OkCupid’s users seem to be less inclined to respond to my messages, while Facebook users are more open.
There are also apps designed specifically for Israelis, but many of these apps also have the language barrier issues I seem to have with OkCupid. Fixx (Jfixx) and Jswipe are two apps, for example, that are for Israelis and Jews respectively.
But as my Hebrew advances, I hope that I do get more responses and can crack the code of dating in Israel.