Meetings and negotiations

What to expect

Meetings and negotiations

If you're coming to Israel for a business meeting, the first thing you need to learn is to relax. Israelis have a casual attitude towards meetings and often will be late. However, you should know that Israelis are notoriously good negotiators.

Many Israeli businessmen are analytical, independent and ambitious. Investigate your business partner, his industry and his company. Any astute businessman will appreciate knowledge of his company, and Israelis are no different.

Israelis are very busy and like to schedule a lot of meetings. Time is important in Israel, but Israelis are relaxed about deadlines and appointments. Do not be surprised if they ask you to a meeting at a moment's notice. It is also common for your partner to show up to a meeting 15 or 20 minutes late (but you should be prompt anyway). Flexibility is key to conducting successful business in Israel.

Israeli meetings can be very informal. A partner might answer his phone in a business meeting or let his secretary interrupt the meeting. This is normal behaviour, so do not be offended because your business partner did not devote his full attention to you (Israelis like to multi-task). When the interruption is over, resume your meeting.

Israelis are very fond of negotiating, so be willing to argue for the terms you want. If your partner makes an unreasonable initial offer, feel free to do the same. You will negotiate the terms of the agreement from there. Many Israelis will take the lead in negotiations, but do not give them complete control.


Israelis appreciate gifts as part of a business negotiations (especially if you have been invited to your partner's home). Chocolates, bottles of wine, and flowers are appropriate gifts for a business meeting in the home. As a foreigner, your Israeli partner will appreciate gifts from your home country.

Kosher eating

In some cases, you may host a dinner at a restaurant. Most restaurants in Israel are kosher, but you should double-check the restaurant if your partner is very religious. Religious Israelis will not mix meats and dairy products at a meal. If you have had meat at dinner, don't add milk to your coffee – this is a breach of Jewish law.

Further reading

Does this article help?

Do you have any comments, updates or questions on this topic? Ask them here: