Starting out married life in Israel can be wonderful…but being in a new country can also get confusing. Here’s the info you need so it can all go smoothly.
Starting off one’s marriage in Israel is something many young adults dream of. The rich Jewish environment and the independence that couples gain while starting off their early years of married life in Israel help form the foundation of their marriage. But there are many steps that a young couple encounters until their life is up and running smoothly.
I set up Live Your Best Israel Life to provide newcomers to Israel with all the various bits of information they’ll need. In this article, I’m going to go into some of the main points to make the transition a little easier.
Setting up your apartment – You may find yourself in a few different scenarios when you sign on your apartment rental. Your apartment may be furnished, unfurnished, or include a furniture package. A furnished apartment is pretty self-explanatory. Your apartment will include basic furniture (beds, often a couch, closets, table and chairs) and large appliances (fridge, oven, washer, dryer).
An unfurnished apartment will come empty. You will need to purchase everything you’ll need but you can sell it on to the next tenants as a furniture package. What’s a furniture package? That brings us to the third scenario.
A furniture package is a bundle of furniture and appliances sold by the previous tenants for a discounted price. Often it will include more items than just a furnished apartment. Don’t be alarmed if it seems expensive as you will be able to sell it to the next tenant for a discounted rate.
Whichever situation you may find yourself in, you may still need to purchase some small appliances such as a toaster oven, kettle, and Crock-Pot. For such items, Imperiat Hachesed is the place to go, located at 16 Petach Tikva St. Their hours are: Sunday – Thursday 10AM – 10PM and Friday 9AM – 12PM
To stock up your empty apartment, the best places are Osher Ad (Rav Shefa Mall on Shamgar Street) and Shaarei Revacha (Brandeis 3 and Yirmiyahu 25). These are large supermarkets that sell products in bulk which makes it great for stocking up. They both sell more than just groceries which makes it the Israeli version of a Target and grocery store combined. The main difference is that the Shaarei Revacha on Yirmiyahu Street offers delivery service (משלוח).
Visa – One of the very first things you’ll want to take care of is your visa. The tourist visa (blue slip) you receive at the airport allows you to stay for up to 90 days. After that, you will need a student visa. You can get your student visa at the Misrad Hapnim (Ministry of Interior). To avoid high waiting times, it is recommended to make an appointment. You can do so by clicking here.
Taking care of visas should be a top priority as you will need it to sign up for many services such as a bank account. The Misrad Hapnim is located at Queen Shlomziyon St 1, Jerusalem. The hours of operation are as follows: Sunday: 8AM – 12PM Monday: 8AM – 12PM, 2:30PM – 5Pm Tuesday: 8AM – 12PM Wednesday: 1:30PM – 5PM Thursday: 8AM – 12PM
Health Insurance – As soon as you as you get here, you’re going to need health insurance. There are many Kupot Cholim (Health Care providers) to choose from. Meuchedet is very popular amongst Americans because of the easy sign-up process. To sign up, walk into your local Meuchedet branch with your passport. Most offices will allow you to sign up there. Upon approval, you will receive a temporary card activated immediately, while your permanent card will arrive in the mail within a month. There are different levels of coverage. The decision should be based on your medical needs. Even the most basic level adequately covers most doctors for all stages of life from baby to the elderly.
One important aspect to take into account when choosing your Kupat Cholim is where the nearest clinics are. If your neighborhood only has a Klallit clinic, you may want to go with that provider.
Cell Phones – Your parents will probably want to reach you right away, so be sure to have your sim card/cell phone arrangements taken care of. There are many different plans available that cater to your needs. You can choose between a kosher and a not kosher plan, as well as how many minutes you would like. You can either have your sim card shipped to you in America so you have it upon arrival or you can pick it up once in Israel. If you choose a kosher plan, be aware that it will only work in a kosher phone, which can be purchased at most phone stores in Jerusalem. If you choose a not kosher plan and would like to keep your smart phone from home, make sure it is unlocked and your Israeli sim card should work. To sign up for a phone plane, click here.
Internet – The main internet service used is Bezeq. You can call them at 039203008 or 199 and they should be able to come to your home for installation within a few days. There are different plans depending on your needs. Be sure to save all information such as your username, password, and landline/Internet number that come with your service as you may need it in the future.
Banking – If you will be receiving checks from a yeshiva or an employer, you may need an Israeli bank. In addition, a bank account is necessary to receive certain government allowances from Bituach Leumi (Israel’s national social security agency). Even if none of the reasons above apply to your situation, other reasons to open a bank account include receiving an Israeli check book, an Israeli credit card, or to use a payment plan (תשלומים) for large purchases. Keep in mind that wait times at banks are usually long. Therefore, it is worthwhile to go right when they open.
The most basic banking option is to open an account with Bank Hadoar. The other option is to sign up with one of the more advanced banks such as Mizrahi Tefahot, Bank Leumi, Bank Hapoalim, Mercantile, and Pagi Bank. The advanced banks have mobile apps which make depositing checks and transferring money more efficient.
Utility Bills – Every two months, you will receive your gas, electric, and water bills in the mail. These bills can be paid in the post office, by phone, or online. All these bills can be paid with an American credit card, but some require an Israeli ID number (Mispar Zehut). In some cases, your Meuchedet number will suffice. If not, your friend’s Mispar Zehut will work – the ID number does not need to be connected to the credit card.
These helpful tidbits should help take the stress and worry out of moving and settling in Israel. It truly is a wonderful and enjoyable place to start off a marriage and we are here to make sure that these necessary steps don’t get in the way of that.
Thanks for this great resource! The most important thing we learned moving here was in short, Chaim V’Chessed! They will literally walk you through every. single. thing you need! We are here 4+ years, largely thanks to their help. Anyone moving here must get their number 072-Chessed
Chaim vchesed is extremely helpful, especially when it comes to bureaucratic and health issues. I found liveyourbil addressed more of the day to day living here. Thanks to both for all the help!
To all those moving to Israel, take advantage of this wonderful service-it’ll save a lot of heartache and stress!
Ruti Dadash says
Live Your BIL is amazing, they keep adding useful content that make it easy to find out how it all works here. They even just added an Amazon section where they picked out items that ship to Israel for free – which is so useful, because I couldn’t see how to get Amazon to only show me those results. Yashar Koach!
Leah Bogopulsky says
Great article and great website! Also very helpful to us oldsters who are spending time in Israel. Leah Bogopulsky
Live Your Bil is like an older wiser seasoned neighbor when you first move to israel- full of tip and tricks that will save you so much unnecessary stress. Dovid genuinely cares and wants to make the settling-in period smoother for everyone. Keep up the great work! This article is a great glimpse at the extensiveness of the website.
K, Los Angeles says
Wonderful site. Very informative. Made the transition smoother for many couples!!
L. B. says
Another diffrence between osher ad and Sharei revacha (besides mishloach( is the amount of eideh chreidis products. If you have a prefrence for eideh you will have more luck in Sharei Revacha
Chezky felsen says
Thanks betweencarpools, this website has been a real help, and I’m sure a phenomenal resource for the future. It’s content filled pages and exhaustive amount of information have proven to be amazing. Cheers!
When choosing Internet, be aware that there are various companies you can choose from within Bezek. Not all are compatible with a DSL line. So you may want to clarify that before selecting!
Also when signing up for Meuchedet the price difference between levels is not great, but the difference in the level of care options is tremendous! For instance, Meuchedet C will entitle you to private surgeons (think appendix, c-section, or r”L more serious surgeries) and a whole lot more. It may not affect your day to day, but should you need it, it makes a world of a difference.
When you say there a various companies within bezeq that you can choose from, I think you are referring to the spark, which is the provider, while Bezek is the tashtit. On this website, it discusses these details more thoroughly on the internet page.
Avram Bogopulsky says
Fantastic website full of information. It really touches upon many areas of life in general and Israel in particular. As you go deeper into the sight it covers areas i never would have thought about, such as vacation time etc. I wish my children would have had this resource when they were setting up their life as a young kollel couple, it would have made my life a lot easier being so far away.
I wish this was around 13 years ago when I went to live in Israel.
In my day, you had to call misrad hapnim for an appointment. You could’ve waited on hold for an hour!!
Thanks so much for creating such a great resource! Its not easy moving to another country, especially as a newlywed, which many of us do!
It helps to have someone guide you every step of the way!
Thank you so much for creating such an amazing helpful site! This has helped us tremendously since we moved in!!
One more bill you’ll be receiving is tha arnona/property tax bill which in Israel is paid by the tenant, not the landlord.
Thank you. Just a few more points – if your husband is learning in Mir, Mir help you with setting up the visa so no need to go to the offices yourself. Much easier and simpler.
Most bank accounts charge a monthly fee. If your husband is in kollel, you can get a student bank account and there is no monthly charge (although you do pay for a checkbook and possibly card but that’s how it is). Only certain banks will allow you to set up a student account, they don’t all recognize kollel as student. We went to bank hapoalim in rechavia to sign up. Most of the banks don’t accept students so we had to go there especially
rochel weiss says
Another great resource that I am aware of is All Set Up! It is a fantastic business that stocks up your kitchen for you – from pots and pans to appliances and dishes. They literally took care of everything for me which enabled me to settle in super quickly. firstname.lastname@example.org
Wow! This website is so useful for day to day living in Israel! A true service to the community.
If you’re signing up for internet, don’t forget to get a good filter (‘sinun’ in Hebrew)