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Working in Israel
Your Guide on Jobs and Finding Work in Israel
Working in Israel is possible but will be tough for expats unless they come with highly specialized skills. Even then, there are many qualified Israelis competing for jobs who are more likely to be hired than a foreigner. Therefore, if your dream is to work in the Holy Land, you will want to make sure you do everything possible to ensure you stand out as a candidate. This includes updating your CV to an Israeli-style CV, learning a bit of Hebrew, and more.
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Israel’s job market is booming and lucrative, particularly in the technology and economy sectors. It is known as the Start-up Nation of the world, which is good news for those with entrepreneurial spirits and for those working as self-employed people. If you plan on working as a self-employed person in Israel, you will be responsible for paying your own social security contributions. This will ensure you are eligible for certain benefits in the system.
If self-employment and freelancing are not for you and you are instead wondering how to find a job in Israel, the best you can do is start your search online, especially if you have yet to relocate. If you are in the country, however, you will want to start building up your network as soon as possible. This is a common way of landing a job in the Holy Land as 60% of job postings are never actually posted. People are either hired internally or through their contacts and network.
Some expats may be surprised to learn that the working days in Israel are actually Sunday through Thursday. Some people even work on Friday mornings. The average salary in this country is 10,780 ILS (3,087 USD) monthly.
How to Get a Job in Israel
If you are wondering how to get a job in Israel as a foreigner, keep in mind that it can be tough. You will have a lot of competition as there are many qualified Israelis also competing for available jobs, and locals will be hired before expats.
The best way to get a job in Israel as a foreigner is to start your search online before arriving in the country. This way you can secure some interviews, and then, if needed, visit the country on a tourist visa. The earliest you will want to start your search is four months before you plan on relocating. Anything earlier than this may not be worth it because companies will typically need you to start working sooner rather than later.
Eligibility for Working in Israel
Working in Israel as a foreigner requires you to be in possession of a valid work visa. You can only get this once you have an offer from a company in Israel. You will most likely be issued the country’s B/1 visa. Be advised that engaging in work in Israel without a B/1 visa is a criminal offense. You must carry your passport with your permit in it at all times, including while at work. This is a legal requirement. If caught working without a visa, the employer will be subject to penalties and fines. The illegal employee will also be deported and banned from the country for ten years.
How to Apply for a Job in Israel
Your best bet is to begin your job search by scouring through Israeli job search websites; it is possible to find these in English if you do not speak Hebrew. Newspapers in the country also run job listings which may be worth looking at.
If you are a Jewish immigrant, you will have more assistance finding a job in the country as there are Aliyah organizations that help Jews find employment in the Holy Land.
Employment agencies can also assist in finding jobs; however, many of their services are only accessible once you are in the country. Finally, the Ministry of Immigration and Absorption also assists immigrants with career counseling and employment search. Immigrants making Aliyah have access to these services for ten years after moving.
Having an Israeli-style CV will help you immensely during your job hunt. Therefore, it might be a good idea to tweak it to fit the standards of employers in the Holy Land.
Your Israeli CV should start off with your objective statement. Then, you will want to highlight your marketable skills in a neat, clear, and straightforward bullet list. You will want to tailor your resume to only include those skills which are most relevant to the job you are applying for. This will better your chances.
Your work and career experiences come next and finally your education. If you are a new graduate looking for your first entry-level job, your education can come before the experience section. Those who are just starting out in their careers should not have a resume longer than a page. In general, though, even if you have several years of experience, one-page is still a good rule of thumb to abide by as you will want to keep your resume as concise as possible.
Keep in mind that in Israel, unlike in other countries, you do not need to disclose personal information such as age, hobbies, marital status, address, number of children, etc.
Cover Letter Tips
Your cover letter, which accompanies your CV, should also be kept short and concise. In fact, so short, that your entire cover letter should only be five sentences. Anything more than this is considered long in Israel. You simply need to outline why you believe you are the right candidate for the position. Your chances will also better if your letter is written in Hebrew versus English.
If you are being asked for references, this could be a good sign in your job search. It could be an indication that your potential employer is interested in you for the position, and wants to confirm you are indeed right for the job.
You will want to have relevant work references. The people you choose must know you well and be able to speak about you and your capabilities.
While you can have reference letters prepared to hand over to a potential employer, most Israeli hiring managers prefer phone calls, so you and your references should be prepared for this. You will want to check with your references before passing along any of their information, and they will need to be ready to answer a call from any unknown number.
Proficiency in Hebrew is sometimes required for certain jobs in Israel. Even if it is not, knowing the language will certainly help in your job search. If you require help, contact InterNations GO! to learn more about our Language Training. We understand that learning the local language is an essential part of a successful integration. Whether you need to brush up on work-related vocabulary or start with the basics, we organize and arrange language training at your new destination. Our experts will assess your knowledge, and sign you up for appropriate group classes or arrange private tutoring for you and your family, depending on your preference.
To practice certain professions in Israel, you need to be certified. This includes careers in nursing, law, and real estate, for example. If you require a certification, exams are administered in this country but know that they can be difficult.
If you plan on teaching English in Israel, which is a very popular job among Anglophone expats, you will require a TEFL or TESOL certificate.
Networking is extremely important in this country—more than half of job openings are never actually posted as many companies hire internally or through word of mouth. Therefore, making useful contacts in the Middle Eastern country will be helpful in landing a job.
If you are still abroad, you can begin your networking online via professional online networking sites and social media. Make connections and reach out to professionals in your field.
The Nefesh B’Nefesh Employment Department also keeps a database of professional contacts so they will be able to help you make connections.
Once you make a few connections, do not come right out and ask about job openings. Instead, ask questions about the job market and your particular field, first. Finally, try and set up appointments to meet in person once you are actually in the country. Always have business cards with you.
When it comes to interviewing in Israel, do not be surprised if your interviewer is late. They may even answer phone calls during your time. The following are some other helpful pieces of advice for when you finally land an interview in Israel:
- Do your homework—It is important to research some things about the company along with any relevant news and current projects. This will show your genuine interest in wanting to join the team.
- Complete a mock interview—Practice answering some common interview questions with a friend. Prepare some questions of your own as well.
- Dress professionally—Make sure you look presentable and neat for your interview. Men are advised to shave and women should wear a blouse with sleeves and/or appropriate skirts/dresses (i.e. nothing too short).
- Do not be late—Plan to arrive at least ten minutes early before your interview and do not forget to turn off your cell phone.
- Meet and greet—If the person interviewing you is of the opposite gender and appears to be religious, it is best not to initiate a handshake.
- Watch your body language—Be aware of yourself and do not slouch or fidget. Make eye contact.
- Be excited—Speak with confidence during your interview and appear interested in what your interviewer is saying while they are speaking.
- Do not talk money—It is best not to bring up salary during the first interview.
- Close the interview—As you wrap up, ask what the next steps in the hiring process are and when you can expect to hear back. Be sure to send a thank-you e-mail or phone call following the interview.
Job Opportunities in Israel for Foreigners
Working in Israel as a foreigner is possible, so long as you have the right qualifications and work permit paperwork in order. Many expats find jobs in the fields of medicine, law, business, marketing, education, and technology. Several Anglophone expats find jobs teaching English. This is because there is a shortage of English teachers in the country. The most popular jobs however for qualified expats are in high-tech. Therefore, electrical engineers and computer programmers will find jobs easily in this country. Government jobs, such as in your local embassies and consulates, are another option for foreigners in Israel. These places tend to hire nationals from their countries. Other employment options for highly skilled foreigners include sales and marketing specialists, accountants, and financial representatives.
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Minimum Wage and Average Salary
The average salary in Israel is 10,780 ILS (3,087 USD) monthly. The daily minimum wage for a worker working five days a week is 212 ILS (USD), and for a worker employed six days a week it is 245 ILS (USD).
What is a Good Salary in Israel?
Considering that the average annual salary in the country at minimum is 35,000 ILS (10,024 USD), anything you earn over this can be considered “good.” However, your average annual income will also depend on the type of job you land.
The following are examples of median annual salaries based on career types:
- doctor—120,000–160,000 ILS (34,367– 45,823 USD)
- lawyer—70,000–100,000 ILS (20,048–28,640 USD)
- teachers and nurses—60,000–70,000 ILS (17,184–20,048 USD)
The Most In-Demand Jobs and How Much They Pay
The industries with the most in-demand jobs are medicine, marketing, education, business, and technology. Other popular industries, important to Israel’s economy, are tourism, finances, agriculture, and telecommunications.
The following is a list of top jobs and how much they earn per year:
- computer programmers—161,500 ILS (46,253 USD)
- electrical engineers—281,750 ILS (80,692 USD)
- accountant—117,447 ILS (33,636 USD)
- software engineer—293,071 ILS (83,934 USD)
- marketing manager—149,334 ILS (42,769 USD)
- teacher (high school)—79,000 ILS (22,625 USD)
Other Jobs and their Salaries
The following is annual income for the following positions:
- registered nurse— 138,047 ILS (39,536 USD)
- architect— 229,480 ILS (65,722 USD)
- product manager—297,305 ILS (85,147 USD)
- web developer—227,500 ILS (65,155 USD)
- UX designer (senior)—206,609 ILS (59,172 USD)
If you are wondering how to be self-employed in Israel, you can register as an osek patur or osek murshe—essentially a small-business owner. The differences between the two are potential earnings, accounting procedures, and VAT dealings. To be sure which you one you fall under, you can make a free appointment with the Israel Tax Authority (ITA).
In Israel, someone who is self-employed will typically have a job contract with a company for a fixed period of time. They are not entitled to company benefits such as paid leave, social security, or severance pay. In fact, self-employed people have to pay their own social security. Top self-employed jobs in Israel include:
Self-employed people in the Holy Land are also allowed to engage in other types of occupational activities. They can be:
- salaried employee also registered as a self-employed person
- salaried employee also registered as a self-employed person and with other sources of income (apart from work)
- salaried employee also registered as a self-employed person who receives a pension
- self-employed person with other sources of income (apart from work)
- self-employed person with other sources of income (apart from work) who receives a pension
To be self-employed (known as atzmai’i in Israel), you will need to open files at Value Added Tax (VAT), Income Tax Authorities, and the National Insurance Institute (NII).
VAT will need to be collected on your revenues. This is set to 17%. However, you can deduct the amount of VAT paid for certain business-related expenses. A professional accountant can help you figure out what these are, along with any other deductibles. With InterNations GO!’s Settling-In Services, we can help you register with the local tax authorities. We can also arrange the professional services of financial advisors who speak your language. Reach out today to learn how we can help.
At the VAT office, you will also need to fill out this form in which you will provide details on your business including name, ID, address, description of business and services, and expected yearly turnover before expenses. You will need:
- Israeli ID (original and copy);
- check from an Israeli bank in your name OR certificate from the bank confirming account details and account owner;
- certificate/license for your profession (if required);
- rental/sales contract for office space.
At the Income Tax Authority, you will need to fill out this form to provide information on yourself and the business. Bring your VAT registration certificate to present as well. The Income Tax Authority will send you a letter outlining the percentage of your revenues that must be paid against your end-of-the-year tax obligations. You will need to pay a percentage each month (or bimonthly, depending on a percentage of turnover). Personal Income Tax is the same for self-employed people as it is for employed.
Finally, to register at the NII, you do not need to go in person. You can fax your paperwork. They will also ask for information on the business, details about you, the number of hours you expect to work on the business per week, and how much you expect to earn each month. This will determine your monthly NII payments which are calculated as a percentage of your income, after expenses. A tax advisor can help you figure out what an appropriate level of payment should be. These contributions help pay for certain self-employed benefits in Israel. Among them are:
- coverage for basic health insurance;
- maternity leave benefits;
- child allowances;
- compensation for radiation-affected persons;
- compensation for persons with transfusion-acquired HIV.
If for whatever reason your self-employment activities come to an end, you must notify the NII, VAT, and Income Tax Authority offices. The NII will make you fill out a multi-annual report form in order to close your account. It is important to do this as soon as your self-employment activities stop. Otherwise, insurance contributions may still continue to be deducted.
In Israeli business culture, day-to-day business wear is less formal; however, meetings require dressier clothes. Israel’s workplace culture dress code expects that businesswomen dress conservatively, particularly when working in religious areas. Men are not expected to wear suits and ties, and they can dress more business casual.
Business meetings might seem quite chaotic to a foreigner. First, business meetings here need not be planned weeks in advance. In fact, it is quite normal for business meetings to be scheduled rather spontaneously. Scheduling a business meeting for the same day will not be considered rude. You will want to bring some business cards with you as they are quite common here.
Do not be surprised if meetings run long or start late in Israel—socializing is an important part of business meeting culture, so this is quite normal. Snacking and drinking coffee during business meetings is also normal. Do not be shy to help yourself. Along with snacking, it is common to hear phones ringing during meetings and to have people leave to answer calls.
Business hours in Israel are from 8:30 to 17:00. The working week is Sunday–Thursday and Friday mornings with employees working 8/9 hours per day. This includes an hour for lunch. As per Israeli law, working hours cannot exceed 43 hours per week.
Social Security and Benefits
What is an Identity Number in Israel? Israel’s Identity Number is a nine-digit number issued to Israelis. Can a foreigner get an Identity Number? Yes, if they are temporary residents with an A/5 permit.
How to Get an Identity Number in Israel
For Israelis, their Identity Number is issued at birth by the Ministry of Interior. As for foreigners, applying for an Identity Number in Israel is done in conjunction when applying for an A/5 permit. An Identity Number is issued to temporary residents in the country at the same time they receive temporary resident status.
Israel’s Identity Card
At the age of 16, every Israeli is issued an Identity Card (with your Identity Number on it) which must be carried at all times. This is also applicable to non-citizens who hold temporary and permanent resident status. To apply for your ID card, you will need a completed application form. No photos are necessary as your picture will be taken at the Population and Immigration Authority (this is where you will go to apply). You will also have your fingerprints scanned.
You will need to make an appointment at the Population and Immigration Authority in order to go and apply for your card. There is no fee to apply for this card.
Your card will be delivered by post to the address you listed in your application. The postal worker will need to verify your identity before handing over your ID. You will need to present either your passport or driver’s license to them.
Social Security Benefits in Israel
Social security for residents of Israel is handled by the NII. It assists by paying benefits to people during personal crises such as work termination, disability, or work injury. These are some of the benefits and compensation offered:
- accident injuries
- benefits for a child orphaned due to domestic violence
- compensation for blood transfusion victims
- counseling service for the elderly
- grant to discharged soldiers performing vital work
- international social security conventions
- old age
- righteous gentiles
- vocational rehabilitation
- study grant
- volunteers rights
- prisoners of Zion and Families of Martyrs
- medical boards
- long-term care
- hostile action causalities
- compensation for polio victims
- burial expenses
- attendance allowance for the disabled
- bankruptcy and corporate liquidation (employee rights)
- compensation for scalp ringworm victims
- income support
- maintenance (alimony)
- reserve service
- work injury
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Maternity and Paternity Leave
Maternity leave is another one of the benefits of Israel’s social security system. Maternity leave in Israel is paid leave for a mother who is absent from work during pregnancy/birth.
How Long is Maternity Leave in Israel?
Everyone is entitled to 15 weeks of paid leave. Some workplaces in the Holy Land even allow new moms up to a year off with the promise of still having a job when they return.
Other maternity benefits in Israel include
- pregnancy bed rest benefit—payment is calculated based on salary and up to a maximum of 296 ILS (85 USD) for each day
- rights of adoptive parents—allowance is the same as parenthood allowance
- benefits to a disabled new mother—allowance of 3,082 ILS (884 USD)
- childbirth allowance— for mothers who give birth to three newborns in one delivery
- birth grant—1,778 ILS (510 USD) for first child
- children—monthly child allowance for families with children up to the age of 18
- disabled child allowance—2,222 ILS (637 USD)
- savings plan for each child—opened by the NII for each child until they turn 18
- hospitalization grant—14,146 ILS (4,054 USD)
- rights of intended parents (surrogacy)—access to the same birth grant and allowances given to a new mother
- equity grants—for self-employed workers or woman whose maternity allowance or risk pregnancy benefit was rejected
- newborn whose mother has passed away—payment to the child of 3,082 ILS (883 USD)
- rights of a woman after a stillbirth—still has access to the same hospitalization grant, birth grant, and maternity allowance
- benefits in case a mother passed away during or after childbirth—allowance of 3,082 ILS (883 USD) per month for 12 months
Paternity Leave and Benefits
Fathers are also allowed to replace their spouses during part of their maternity leave and receive paternity leave. You must be a salaried or self-employed worker who has worked a certain number of months and paid insurance contributions (10 out of 14 months, or 15 out of 22 months that preceded the determining date for the father).
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