Supplemental Material

Background information and supplemental materials on Israeli environment, culture and work practices. For example -‘ Information on Israel: Complexities and Contrasts’ –  a continuously revised resource book written by Anat Kedem & Vivian Deutsch containing an overview of the environmental and historical factors shaping Israeli culture and mindset, including go-to tips, practical information for business travel, BKMs for work with Israel and lists of ‘DO’S & TABOOS’.

The book is designed to supplement interactive work or as standalone reading material and is intended for anyone that wants a deeper and broader understanding – going beyond raw data to explain the inner logic that drives behavior.

Information on Israel: Complexities and Contrasts

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Israel

*but were afraid to ask


The ‘Sabra’ (the Prickly Pear Cactus’s fruit – thorny on the outside, sweet and soft on the inside) is the manifestation of the ‘new Jew’. This would be a person who would stand up for him/herself, defend themselves and others against enemies and would live on and by the land.

The ideal ‘Sabra’ was an Israeli born, preferably from a Kibbutz (see above), tall, strong, young and handsome man or woman who plowed the fields by day, and wrote poetry by night.  Today, the term Sabra is used to denote having been born in Israel. The slide on left shows the values upheld by Israel’s founders and still apart today.

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Table of Contents

  1. Practical Information – “Fast Facts”
  2. The Environment of Israel and how it shapes culture
  3. The Culture and Customs of Israel – Building blocks that shape daily life
    1. Basic Concepts
    2. Food
    3. Dress
    4. Holidays
    5. Socializing – Conversation topics, Gifts etc.
    6. Communication – Verbal and non-verbal, gestures
    7. Hebrew Language Characteristics
    8. Israeli Communication Style
    9. Doing business with Israelis – Tips / Do’s & Don’ts
    10. Travel to Israel – what to expect
    11. Further reading / surfing


In many ways the history has almost as much impact on the Israeli mindset as the present has. One of the many paradoxes inherent to Israeli culture is that while Israel is a truly modern, future facing country, the past has a plausible pull (for both the Arab and Jewish sectors). Fears of history repeating itself come to play in politics, in business life, in Israel’s international stand. It impacts issues of security and the Arab-Israeli conflict. It shows up in personal and public approaches towards peace. For the Jewish sector – the Holocaust has an omnipresence; showing up in current events fairly frequently as does the ancient past when Jews had a nation in the land of Israel. For the Arab sector the ‘Nekba’ (the mass departure of Arabs from Israel in 1948) is the pivotal narrative…

Excerpts from:  Socializing

Shalom, which means “peace”, is used for both “hello” and “good-bye”.  Greetings are casual and friendly, and handshakes have the same significance as in the U.S.  Israel is very informal; titles are less important than in the U.S, and first names, often nicknames, are commonly used, even for higher ranking individuals.  Learning some basic words and expressions in Hebrew and/or Arabic, if you are able and willing, will help set up a relationship….

A good topic for conversation with Israelis is Family – Polite inquiry about the family of your Israeli counterparts shows an interest and is generally welcomed. People want to know about each other’s children or extended family.  While Israelis easily share their marital status and talk about their children – divorce, health concerns, addictions or other life troubles are considered private…