Living in Israel Without Speaking Hebrew in 2020

Living in Israel Without Speaking Hebrew in 2020

This article is going to be helpful for you if you are considering moving to Israel from any part of the world… or if you already live in Israel and you need some advice. I am going to be talking about what it is like living in Israel without speaking Hebrew in 2020.

Now me? I have been living in Israel for about 12 years, and my Hebrew is decent. I understand and speak about 80 percent of the language, but my reading and writing skills are utterly pitiful.

How am I able to survive???

Well, I am thriving! 🙂

It is completely possible to thrive in Israel with a mediocre level of Hebrew.


Well, lucky for me (and you) most Israelis speak English. However, I want you to know where most of these Israelis are. It’s in the center of the country, and in the major cities.

For example: Tel Aviv and Jerusalem are the two cities that you will find the most people speaking English.

Note: If you are outside of the center of Israel, the percentages are going to go down on the number of people around you that know how to speak English, however the lowest they go is the 40% range.

And certainly, you are going to deal with government offices. Let’s talk about how that’s going to look for you.

One of the offices that you are going to need to deal with is Misrad Hapnim.

M-i-s-r-a-d and H-a-p-n-i-m. Translated, The Ministry of Interior. Meaning, the immigration offices where you will handle getting a Visa, Israeli ID or Israeli Passport.

It’s an experience going in there, to say the least. You will want to be prepared with all the required documents. And I want you to know that inside of these offices they may or may not speak Hebrew.

So, how are you going to figure it out???

You will need to pre-meditate your plan.

My recommendation is to learn some valuable phrases that you are going to use with:

– Government Offices
– Doctors Offices
– Internet Companies
– Electric Companies
– Water Companies
– Etc.

You are going to be living in Israel without speaking Hebrew, but at least put the effort to know a few valuable phrases… You will be delighted you did.

Good News! There are many many jobs in Israel that you can find that do not require you to speak Hebrew. You do not need to speak Hebrew to find a job in Israel… this is my assurance.

And I want you to know that you can even find a job even if your skills are distinctly limited. You can find a job in a kitchen, or as security, or any laborious jobs. Or, you could contemplate owning and operating your own business like I do.

Side Note: One language that will benefit you to speak in Israel, represents the language of coders. JavaScript, C++, etc. Israel is the high-tech startup capital of the world.

Living in Israel Without Speaking Hebrew 2020

As a career counselor to recent immigrants to Israel, I find that many of my clients are surprised to see that many many people over here are not native Israelis. If so, they are second generation, and first generation immigrants. They have immigrated here from other countries, just like you want to!

All of the above being said, I want to set you up for success and tell you a little about how and where to acquire the Hebrew language.

  • If you are NOT in Israel and Don’t Speak Hebrew:

There’s a great few YouTube channels where you can learn how to communicate in Hebrew… if you want to. It’s free! Here is a link to the best i have found so far: 

Studying Hebrew before you move to Israel will benefit you immensely. With the craziness going on in the world right now, you have no option but to pursue an online education. That being said, you can start learning Hebrew before you arrive here. You can start your education today. Right???

  • If you ARE in Israel and Don’t Speak Hebrew:

When I initially moved to Israel, I enjoyed the luxury of having a bit of money saved up. Therefore, upon arriving in Israel, I was able to sign up and go to a language school for learning Hebrew. And I went to what is called “Ulpan” It was not terribly expensive, and it was incredibly valuable.

Very Important!

Keep in mind that you will absorb a majority of the language outside of any sort of formal education environment… but rather around the streets of Israel. Nonetheless, reading and writing are crucial for your longevity so if you have money saved, sign up and go to school to learn the Hebrew language!

A Few Extra Tips for You:

  • Use Google Translate

If you search for anything about living in Israel or moving to Israel on the internet, most of the search results will come back in Hebrew (with a VERY limited amount of information in English). Moreover, you probably want to avoid depending on anybody to help you understand things online… so depend on Google.

Install the Google Chrome Language Translate extension to make your life easier. You will need to use it often if you don’t speak Hebrew.

  • Don’t Stress Out!

Once you start learning Hebrew, you will want to employ it.

What you will discover is that many Israelis will switch into English when they perceive you struggling in Hebrew. This happens in order to make life easier for everyone in the conversation, and to move faster along. Don’t stress out about it, but try not to speak English when this happens!

Continue to practice your skills and inform the other person in the conversation that you are trying to learn Hebrew. Keep pushing along until the Hebrew language becomes easier for you.

Last Words…

In conclusion, I am certain it is possible for you to fulfill your dreams while living in Israel without speaking Hebrew in 2020! In addition, you should never be afraid to follow your goals and dreams.

-Claude Massey

About the Author
A Los Angeles native who made Aliyah 10 years ago, Claude Lee Massey is a Life Coach and Career Consultant with a focus on helping new immigrants in Israel. Mr. Massey is also a “how-to” blogger, video content creator, and the author of “Sell, I Dare You!” available on Amazon.
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