The Latest! Cultural Clues, Do’s and Taboos for Israel
A Series of Cultural Tips for Countries from A to Z
Cultural Clues & Communication Guidelines for Israel
It’s easy for business travelers to think that even when they travel, business is going to be done pretty much the same way it is at home. But that’s not always the case. Cultural differences can have a big impact on global business etiquette. That’s why it’s important for business travelers to make sure that they understand the culture of the country that they’re doing business in.
This article on cultural differences in Israel and cultural travel tips for Israel is a brief snapshot of conversation guidelines for Israel tips for communicating in Israel, and business strategies for Israel to help with understanding the culture in Israel. It’s important to keep in mind that as we homogenize as a ‘global culture’, cultural tendencies change and evolve as well. Awareness is the first step when it comes to cultural do’s and taboos for Israel and tips for intercultural communication!
Cultural Tips for Israel – including some valuable business travel tips for Israel
Most Israelis speak at a much closer distance than North Americans may be accustomed to so do not move away.
Be aware that the Jewish Holy Day, the Sabbath, begins at sunset on Friday and ends at sunset on Saturday.
Observant Orthodox Jewish men, whose appearance is usually distinguished by their skullcaps (yarmulkes) or hats and black clothing, do not shake hands with women.
Women do business in the Israeli business world however women business travelers should avoid initiating physical contact.
There is a tendency among Israelis to downplay their professional titles, so it’s wise to do the same.
It’s likely that you will quickly be invited to move to a first-name basis in business.
The standard greeting is “Shalom” or a cordial “Hello”, followed by a handshake.
There is also more physical contact, and conversations often involve gestures and touching.
If an Israeli holds your hand, take it graciously as a gesture of friendship.
For Israelis, constant gesturing is acceptable, however pointing is considered rude.
Refrain from any gesture that requires you to extend the thumb, as this is considered offensive (i.e. “thumbs up” or “thumbs down” signs, the hitchhiker’s signal, etc.).
Business cards are considered important and should be printed in English. As an added touch, some visitors have the reverse side printed in Hebrew.
Given the diverse nature of the population, business practices may reflect North American, European, Russian, or other cultural influences.
Expect business to be straightforward and emphasize the “bottom line.”
In general, the pace of business is slower in Israel than in many places. You will have to exercise patience and tolerance.
Subjective feelings tend to form perceptions of the truth as they see it.
Faith in the tenets of Judaism, including the conviction that the state must succeed, can also be a profound influence in their thinking.
Feelings and faith are supplemented by empirical evidence and other substantial facts.
Israelis can be confrontational in business and, at times, are intensely emotional negotiators.
Israelis may delight in spirited disagreements and can be opinionated about their position. However, you don’t have to feel compelled to openly agree with what they say.
In the Israeli business culture, it usually takes a longer time to arrive at a final decision.
5 Key Conversation or Cultural Gesture Tips
Family, however don’t mix it with business
Travel is always a good topic
Politics (if you know what you are talking about)
Sports – especially soccer, basketball, and swimming
Food and drinks
5 Key Conversation or Cultural Gesture Taboos
It’s best not to discuss US aid in Israel
Religion in general
Israel and Palestine
Sex and roles of the sexes
Any controversial social issue in Israel
Join us in the future for Do’s and Taboos for ITALY!
To learn more about the Dos and Taboos for different cultures, and the cultural communication styles for Asia Pacific, Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East – order Gayle Cotton’s bestselling book ‘SAY Anything to Anyone, Anywhere! 5 Keys to Successful Cross-Cultural Communication’ available on Amazon as a Book, eBook, or Audio Book
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Emmy Award Winner, Gayle Cotton, is the author of this blog and of the bestselling cross-cultural communication book ‘SAY Anything to Anyone, Anywhere! 5 Keys to Successful Cross-Cultural Communication’, which is available on Amazon as a Book, eBook, or Audio Book. She is President of Circles Of Excellence Inc. and a Professional Keynote Speaker. Contact Gayle if you need professional speakers for events, speakers on cultural diversity, conference speakers for events, or keynote speakers that specialize in cross-cultural training. She is a leader in the field of public speakers, motivational speakers, and international keynote speakers. She is among the best of female keynote speakers and women motivational speakers and is a ‘first choice’ request for international audiences!
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