Tips for Setting Up a Home

If you’re setting up your first home in Israel, here are a few helpful tips to guide you through the purchasing and furnishing process:

  • Power supply. Be aware of the main differences between the power supply in North America vs. Israel. For more information, please see the Megavolt web site and Aliyah FAQ: click here
  • Don’t be afraid of bargaining.Don’t feel bad asking for a discount or a special price. Mention that you are an Oleh Chadash and are thinking of purchasing other items with this company – you will probably get better rates than those advertised.
  • No refund. When purchasing items in Israeli stores, there is no refund policy. Generally, if you return an item, you will receive a store credit which you will need to use within a certain time limit.
  • Call them up. A lot of information is on the web, but speaking with a company’s representative is always better if you want to get the most updated rates and information.
  • Tell them you’re an Oleh. Israelis generally like and appreciate new Olim: therefore, don’t hesitate to introduce yourself as a new Oleh.
  • Where are the meters? When entering a new apartment, remember to ask the landlord or the previous tenant to show you the location of all meters – electricity, water and gas. Take a minute to write down the current count on each meter. In addition, ask to see the exact location of your dud shemesh (solar heated water tank) on the roof.
  • Shop around. Before signing up with any service provider, shop around in order to get the best price and service available. See the following site for recommendations about a wide range of stores and services: click here
  • Ask family and friends. Always ask your family and friends about their experiences and recommendations.
  • Complain. Don’t hesitate to let your service provider know when you are dissatisfied. Occasionally, you may get better rates and compensation for the inconvenience.
  • Exterminate. Before moving in to a new apartment it is advisable to bring an exterminator and cleaning company. You may find them in the yellow pages, by calling 144 or visiting: click here
  • Real Estate: Do not sign any legal document (rental or purchase) without consulting with a real estate lawyer.
  • Vaad Bayit: If you live in an apartment building you will be asked to pay Va’ad Bayit fees, which cover all of the shared expenses to maintain the building (cleaning of the stairway, elevator maintenance, electricity in the hallway, gardener, central heating, etc.) Each building has a Va’ad Bayit (committee which manages these issues,) and payments vary from 60 NIS per month to 500 NIS. In the event of a conflict you may contact the Aguda Letarbut Hadiyur (Housing Culture Society) at 1-800-404-040.
  • Bills: For an English translation of Arnona, water, electricity, Bezeq, Cellcom and HOT bills, please click here (under the Directory menu).

Being in the Know
It’s the small things in life that make a difference! Here are some additional pointers to help you feel more at home whether you’re handling your bills, traveling throughout the city or making some necessary purchases.

Did you know…?

  • You cannot mail your bill payments through the postal service?
  • A special telephone ring helps identify when someone is on another line?
  • Did you know that you don’t pay for incoming calls to your cell phone in Israel?
  • Taxes are always included in the price- with no at the counter tack ons?
  • Yellow traffic lights light appear BEFORE they turn green, as well as before turning red.
  • Did you know that credit cards aren’t sent to you in the mail – you have to pick them up from the bank?
  • Did you know that intracity signs are a different color than intercity signs?
  • Did you know that school books usually have to purchased directly from a bookstore and not from the school?
  • Did you know that a 5 shekel piece (a quarter works too) is necessary to unlock a grocery cart at the super(market)?
  • There is no need to tip cab drivers, but there is a small fee  for ordering a cab, for extra luggage or for driving a 4th person?
  • On city buses you can buy a 10 trip card and get the 11th free  or purchase a monthly card?
  • You can make an MD appt 24 hrs a day via automated kupot phone systems?
  • You can usually receive your medical results via the internet?
  • Citric acid will clean the limestone in your kumkum (kettle)?