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An Israeli society has a polychrone culture (relation oriented), contrary to American, British, or German cultures which are monochrone (rule oriented). Sentiments and emotions are more important than the intuition and facts in Israel. Israelis act in a direct, immediate and honest manner.
To speak to someone, use his name and surname. If you don’t know the name, use Mr. or Ms., followed by his surname. Once the relationship is established, Israelis like to be called by their first name. It is recommended to learn to pronounce the names in Hebrew and Arabic.
At the time of greeting one should not feel offended if an Israeli does not offer you his hand but physical contact (very important). Keep a direct eye contact. If Israelis come a little too close (invading your personal space) it is normal to accept it.
Meetings in Israel can be and are often spontaneous. Punctuality is unpredictable. An Israeli does not have lunch; he considers it as a waste of time and prefers sandwiches and drinks for the meeting. Dinner is however an important time, an excellent occasion to discuss about family, culture, history, sports. Before inviting for a meal, it is advisable to check if your partner is religious. If he is, respect their values and find a “kosher” restaurant. Israelis are not heavy drinkers. However inviting your counterpart for beer is acceptable.
Israelis are very warm and friendly. When they invite you to the house or a restaurant, they display genuine friendship. Accepting the invitation creates good personal relations. On reaching the house, it is in good gesture to bring flowers, chocolates or a bottle of good wine. In professional relations, a book about your country, a pen decorated with a logo of your company, an office clock or a photo of yourself with your Israeli associates will be appreciated.
During a meeting, telephone calls can be taken and others persons allowed to enter in the office or the meeting room. Interruptions of this type are common in the Israeli culture. So it doesn’t mean they are rude, arrogant or impolite. This is a very informal society where the persons are capable of doing a number of tasks at the same time. They like to mix work with pleasure and want to know more about you. They also like compliments. Meet or communicate with your potential associates to try to understand their needs and expectations from the negotiations.
Wear your dress which you are comfortable with. The Israeli expects to see you dressed as per your country’s etiquette. Dressing up like an Israeli in an informal dress can be a source of confusion. You are different and this will be understood and respected.
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