Are you planning to move to Israel but first want to know the best tips to integrate into Israeli society?
Well, you’re in the right place.
It’s no secret that moving to Israel can be daunting. What’s more, you may find it challenging to get to grips with Israeli culture and integrate into Israeli society. But it doesn’t have to be so difficult.
Experiencing culture shock, confusion, and feeling overwhelmed is completely normal when you move to a new country.
But we’re here to help. This article will give you the best hints and tips on how to make Israel feel like home.
How To Integrate Into Israeli Society
Many people think that integration will happen naturally.
In fact, it does take some degree of effort to get involved with local activities and meet local people.
Plus, if you’ve moved here to be with your Israeli partner, chances are that they already have a life set up here. While it may be easy to accompany them to social events and make friends with their friends, it’s important to forge a life of your own, too.
That means it’s up to you to find your own friends, have your own hobbies and craft your own career.
Settling in, and fitting in, can be one of the hardest parts of moving for foreign partners of Israeli citizens. So let’s take a look at the best 7 ways to integrate into Israeli society.
Moving is a difficult task, and can be a nightmare if you don’t understand what’s going on around you. But, if you’ve already done your research, it can be a lot easier.
Do your homework before you make the big move. Reading up on local customs before you arrive can do wonders for helping you to fit in during the first few weeks.
For example, in Israel, a lot of places such as shops, restaurants and leisure facilities close from Friday night until Saturday night because of the Jewish Shabbat customs. Knowing this in advance will prevent you from being disappointed when you try to go to the supermarket on a Friday evening.
What’s more, learn about the holidays that are celebrated across Israel. This will help you to understand the culture and feel more at home.
Thankfully, you have your Israeli partner to ask. Ask them to tell you about their daily life and see what’s the same and what’s different to your home country.
It almost goes without saying, but knowing the local language helps you to meet local people. And learning Hebrew is by far one of the best ways to integrate into Israeli society.
Without knowing Hebrew, it’s impossible to understand what’s going on around you. And when you don’t understand what’s happening, you can feel isolated, lonely and confused.
But once you understand Hebrew, it can create a sense of belonging, and a sense of home. Plus, Hebrew classes are a great place to make new friends.
Not sure where to start?
Ulpans (Hebrew schools) are a great place to learn Hebrew. There are levels from beginners through to University-level Hebrew. Plus, there are different styles of ulpans so you can find one that suits you.
If ulpan isn’t for you, you can hire a private tutor. This will give you a bespoke experience and you’ll learn the Hebrew that you need, when you need it.
Your Israeli partner is another great source of Hebrew knowledge. They can help you to learn Hebrew along the way.
Do you have a passion for basketball? Love dancing? Enjoy painting? Have you always wanted to take a course to learn to code? Or perhaps you want to try something new.
Luckily, there are plenty of groups that you can join. Facebook is a great place to find the groups and communities that interest you. Join our Facebook community to meet more people in a similar situation to you.
Being around people when you first move to Israel is super important. It’s normal to feel lonely, especially if the only person you know is your partner. But by taking the plunge and joining a group, you’ll soon make your own friends who have similar interests to you.
Another great way to meet new people with a similar background is to attend our own official community events of The Israeli Association for International Couples! Check out our upcoming events!
Acknowledge The Things You Like
It’s easy to focus on the bad bits of moving to a new country. And this can start a spiral of disliking where you are.
So no matter how big or how small, make a mental note of the things you like.
Perhaps the coffee tastes great and the weather is fantastic. Maybe you love going swimming in the mediterranean sea and eating hummus. Or perhaps you’ve fallen in love with the culture and the language.
Whatever it is, remember it and do it more. Having these initial positive experiences will create lasting memories and will help you settle into your new home.
Know Your Neighbors
This one is easier said than done. Many of us find it hard to make friends with our neighbors.
But knocking on someone’s door or saying a friendly hello, or shalom, to them on the staircase can make a huge difference to your life in Israel.
These are the people who are physically the closest to you. That means they can be there when you need to borrow a cup of sugar or find a babysitter.
All these little things add up to creating a sense of home in your new country.
And somehow, annoying noises from the building seem less irritating when you know the person next door.
One of the best ways to integrate into Israeli society is to explore the local places. And Israel isn’t short of beautiful sites to see.
You can explore the famous sites of Jerusalem including the Western Wall, Dome of the Rock and Church of the Holy Sepulchre. If you’re outdoorsy, hike along parts of the Israel Trail which cross the entire country. And if moving has caused too much stress, relax and float on the one-of-a-kind Dead Sea.
Alternatively, there are plenty of local sites to see across Israel. Walking around the spacious parks, visiting a variety of museums, and sipping coffee in your local café are all things that can help you feel like a local.
Don’t Be A Stranger
Even though you’ve moved away, it’s important to stay in touch with your family and friends from your home country.
It takes time to build a new social circle and this can hurt your mental health and well-being. But by keeping in touch with existing social support, you can prevent isolation and depression.
Share with them the challenges of moving and openly talk about how you are feeling. This will help you through any difficulties you are experiencing.
Moving to another country is a challenge. But it can also be an exciting adventure. And by implementing a few of the ideas above, you’ll soon integrate into Israeli society.
Make sure to give yourself time and don’t worry if you don’t settle in right away. It can take months or even years to feel at home when you move to a new country. But with a little bit of patience, you’ll get there.
If you’re considering making the move to live with your Israeli partner, read our article on the gradual process to find out more information.