The do’s and don’ts of doing business in Israel

Israel is known for being a favorable player in business dealings for many businesses across the world. Their profitable business opportunities and good returns on investment make the Middle Eastern country a lucrative place to conduct business.

Making the most of these business opportunities in Israel can be somewhat overwhelming, even for some of the top professionals. It is highly important that before diving headfirst into business in Israel, that you understand and show respect for their forward-thinking entrepreneurs, their exceptional innovation and technically driven minds.

Let’s discuss some of the dos and don’ts when it comes to doing business in Israel:

Dos for Business in Israel

  1.  Do expect an informal business environment

The culture of business in Israel is generally quite informal and casual. However, the locals are persistent, assertive and direct in their conduct since business can be fast-paced and treated with urgency.

Most business interactions involve getting to know associates on a personal level, socializing to build up strong, personal relationships.

  1.  Do your homework on Israeli culture

Israel is known as the “Start-up Nation” because they don’t have too many natural resources and have seen many periods of adversity.

As a result, they are driven by innovation and technology and respect the creativity and intelligence that developed them. Business is heavily influenced by this. In terms of culture, Israel is incredibly complex and learning about the culture before engaging in business.

  1.  Do embrace new technology

Since Israeli culture is heavily dependant on new technology and embracing the benefits that technology offers especially in business. Learn about new technologies on the market, especially in business.

You can learn more about digital marketing, websites and social media and even take a few SEO courses to understand the importance of search rankings and how to carry out these practices effectively.

  1.  Respect the Sabbath

Respect that in the Jewish faith, the Sabbath is celebrated from sunset on Friday evening until Saturday night. Thus, you will not be able to conduct business during this time and arrange business meetings on Sundays through Thursdays instead.

Don’ts for doing Business in Israel

  1.  Don’t use subtleties

Since Israelis are direct and to the point with their opinions, you should be too. Your business associates are more likely to trust you if you engage directly and honestly. Don’t tiptoe around business, simply be straightforward and don’t be afraid to talk about important and difficult subjects.

  1.  Don’t be offended by an invasion of personal space

If an associate comes a little close, don’t be offended as this is normal in Israel. Conversations are often accompanied by physical contact, such as a hand on the arm or shoulder. If you step away from an associate coming too close, it could offend them. Rather don’t take a step back and stay put.

  1. Don’t discuss politics or religion during business meetings

During a meeting do not bring up any issues of politics, local government or religion in respect for your associates. If a local partner brings up any of these topics, pay careful attention to what is said, but take care to stay neutral on any topics to avoid offending anyone.

  1. Don’t underestimate the opinions of junior staff

Israelis believe in the art of collaboration in a business where there is no real hierarchy. This means that junior colleagues are given the opportunity to voice their opinions to find the best and more innovative solutions possible. Regardless, the final decision will be up to the most senior partner in the business.

About the Author
Rachel Brenner is a Professor of Jewish Studies. Her research focuses on Jewish Literature and has published dozens of scholarly articles and book chapters.
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