• Declared Independence in 1948
• Went subsequently into Arab-Israeli war.
• 1972 – Palestinian gunmen kill 11 Israeli athletes
at Munich Olympics.
• 1979 – Israel and Egypt declared peace
• Liberal Democracy
– Unicameral parliament: Knesset
– Currently 31st Govt under the 17th Knesset, led by Ehud
• Secular-religious divide
• Ethnic-Economic divide
• A significant portion of the Muslim world does not
recognize Israel as a legitimate state.
• To the United states, Israel is the closest ally in the
Middle East ($30 billion in military aid between
2008 to 2017)
• The law of return.
• Considered to be the most developed country in
middle east with highest Human Development
• Largely self-sufficient in food production
• Israel is a global leader in water conservation and
• Open multi-racial society
• Highest Literacy rate in middle east
• Almost mandatory military drafting.
• Significant contributor to Science and Technology.
• Prominence in following fields: genetics, medicine,
agriculture, computer sciences, electronics, optics,
engineering and other high-tech industries.
• Global recognition in Military technology, Theoretical
Physics, Quantum Physics, Caner Research, etc.
• Major Institutes:
– The Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, is home to Israel’s
only Nobel Laureate, Profs. Avram Hershko and Aaron Ciechanover,
recipients in 2004 for their discovery of Ubiquitin
– Weizmann Institute
– The Hebrew University of Jerusalem: Israel’s oldest and largest
– Tel Aviv University: Israel’s largest on-site university
• Pratt & Whitney
• AOL Time Warner
• Boeing Enterprises
• Cisco Systems
• Hewlett Packard
• Merrill Lynch
• Sun Microsystems
• Cable & Wireless
• Deutsche Telecom
• British Telecom
• Ares Sereno
• Samsung Electronics
• Hutchison Telecomm.
• LG Group
• Toyo Ink
• Acer Computers
• Sumitomo Trading
Source: IMD - Institute for Management Development, World Competitiveness Yearbook- 2004/5
4.9 4.9 5.0 5.3 5.4
“Thanks to quality education,
Israel is one of the most
advanced countries in the world.
… Israel is advancing in high-tech
even more than
other developed countries”
Bill Gates, CEO Microsoft, World Economic Forum, Davos, January 2000
“Israel’s market is relatively large
and sophisticated, it boasts the world’s
greatest per capita number of engineers,
scientists and doctors.
The Israeli economy is simply a reflection
of the country’s greatest natural resource -
which is the brainpower and ingenuity
of its citizens”
Mike Zafirovski ,COO,Motorola 2003
• A synthesis of opposing behaviors and attitudes
• Think and function in a “short-term” environment and framework
– an environment of temporal uncertainty - creates a “culture of haste”
– Want to achieve tangible outcomes, taking “shortcuts” and improvising to generate
• Suspicious, wary, and skeptical both in personal and professional
– tend to over-ponder conceivable risks and attempt to minimize possible negative
• Survival and advancement through improvisation and innovation is a crucial
– develop novel solutions that deviate from “standard practice”
• Individuality, spontaneity and a strong, highly cherished sense of personal
– Detracts from the ability to team and cooperate effectively in groups
• Invest time to develop social contacts and intense interpersonal relationships
– A result of living in a condensed and compromised environment
• A profound sense of pride in their achievements
– At times surfaces as “elitism” or a “we know better” attitude
• Potpourri of many immigrant nationalities and their
particular ethnic traits and conducts
– predominantly Western value system - most customs and unspoken
social norms are western
• Generally very polite, helpful, friendly and outgoing
• Tend to hurry about their business at times on an
– Visitors should expect some impatience, infrequent outbursts and
– Israelis are notorious for their dislike of queues.
• Very expressive, communicative, opinionated and outgoing
– Debate and discussion are a national “pastime”
• Perceived as “aggressive communicators”.
– Physical sounds of the Hebrew language are frequently construed by
foreign listeners as being brash and argumentative.
• Usually stereotyped as interruptive communicators
– Do not have “native” command of the foreign language so need to
– This shifts energy from “comprehension” to physical “listening”
– Hurried attempts “to keep up” can be understood as interruptive
– Therefore speak slowly and allow pauses for conversational redirect.
• Often accused of using their native language (Hebrew) to conceal
conversations from foreign guests
– switch automatically to Hebrew for convenience purposes
– Guests who feel uncomfortable should feel free to request that
conversations be limited to English
COMMUNICATING WITH ISRAELIS
• Dress and behave modestly and follow the host’s lead.
• Acceptable gestures and common forms:
– Eye contact, courteous greetings, an occasional sensitive touch, handshakes, smiles,
gentlemanly compliments and subtle, non obtrusive gesturing.
• When interacting with Israeli Muslims refrain from using the left hand for
handshakes and gift giving.
– The left hand and soles of feet are considered impure
• Visitors should refrain from greeting, touching or extending a handshake to
both Jewish and Muslim devout women.
• If wife is introduced a visitor can respond – else desist.
• Western offensive hand gestures are just as offensive in Israel
• If you do not understand your Israeli counterpart’s English – ask him to repeat
– Conversely, ask your Israeli counterparts to tell you when they do not understand
• Use simple words and phrases to convey ideas.
– Refrain from using “business-speak” or “politically correct” idioms
• Use the word “problem” instead of “challenge”.
DO’S AND DON’TS
• Israel is a country of paradoxes
– Small size yet has a diverse culture, geography
– Full of troubles yet economically strong
– Great promise in R&D
– ‘Do or do not’ – there is no try