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How to Get Ahead in Israel


Aliyah is at an all-time high and I've never heard so much English on the streets of Raanana.

I wish there had been Facebook as an information source when I made aliyah and so, as I love connecting with newcomers and helping ease their aliyah journey, I created an Israel 101 Facebook group specifically for this purpose.

I recently posted about essential apps to download and, as I know so many readers have recently made this move or are planning it, it makes sense to share the list here.

I'm all about information, bargain, and recipe sharing!


What apps should you download on arrival - a concise guide.

Let me begin with an especially warm welcome to the many new members of Israel 101.

I love how this group is becoming a community offering inspiration and support and that people planning aliyah/recent arrivals feel comfortable in reaching out.

What apps do I most recommend you install?

Let's get started!

1: Moovit

Moovit is your public transport app and tells you how best to get wherever you are going with buses/trains. Use this app to check bus arrival times, maps and train schedules. What is less known is that you can also use Moovit to pay for your journey. You simply scan a QR code at the entrance to the bus/train and you're done. Gotta love living in high tech Israel.

2: HopOn Rav-Pass

Forget the idea of getting a Rav Kav card - used to pay for public transport - and having to constantly make sure it's loaded with credit. HopOn Rav-Pass is the hassle-free alternative. Simply scan the QR code at the entrance to the bus/train and click on your destination. There we go....all done.

3: Gett-Taxi

Need a ride in a hurry? Download Gett-Taxi for complete peace of mind. You'll know in advance what you're paying for a journey - no negotiating with shifty taxi drivers who tell you their meter is broken - and there are loads of Gett-Taxi taxis available. Yango is a new alternative to Gett-Taxi and launched themselves with a NIS 70 special from Ben Gurion Airport to Tel Aviv and surrounds. I'm not sure if this is still valid but it's worth investigating.

4: Pink Park

So now let's assume you are driving yourself. Finding parking in Tel Aviv is virtually impossible and private parking garages are astronomically expensive. Download Pink Park and book a parking space before you head out. Private individuals who have a parking space they aren't using when at work/don't have a car rent out their spaces through Pink Park. Office buildings not using all the spaces they have reserved do the same. There are hundreds of Pink Park spots all over Tel Aviv and these are clearly marked. You pay by the hour from approximately NIS 10. Way better than garages.

5: Pango Parking

Don't take a chance when parking on blue 'n white. Giving fines is the easiest way for the municipality to make money and the parking police are everywhere. While until recently Pango was only available in Hebrew, it now has an English interface, and I believe is easier to use than Cellopark which was the English option in the past. Don't risk parking without payment. Note that Pango can now be used to pay for public transport too.

5: Bit Payments

Just like the Queen, I no longer carry cash. Bit is so convenient. Linked to your credit card, all you need to do is find the telephone number of the person you want to pay, and click this contact with the amount to pay. They then accept payment and you're done. Wasn't that easy?

6: Waze

Waze is an app close to my heart as the creator of Waze hails from my hometown of Hod Hasharon. Background story. The fellow had a job working for my cousin's video technology company and one day he shared his idea for a traffic app. My cousin, an incredibly wise and intuitive businessman, listened to this and responded. "I'll be very sorry to lose you as you're a valuable asset to LiveU, but you need to resign, and go and develop this app as it's going to fly." And so the made-in-Israel Waze traffic app was born. Essential for getting around in Israel and used by all.

7: My Visit

Get through the initial red tape of making aliyah with My Visit and book appointments with the various offices in advance. This is absolutely essential as many offices won't accept you without a prior appointment.

8: Post Office

You can also book appointments at the Post Office. No more standing in line.

9: Google Translate

An absolute essential as is the Google lens for translations. When I made aliyah, I spent the first six months cooking only with shakshuka canned tomatoes, as I had no idea what they were. I just assumed tomato in Israel contained chili. Another woman put floor cleaner in her washing machine for ages as she assumed by the picture of the pile of fluffy towels on the bottle that it was washing detergent. Turns out that the floor cleaner company was running a competition to win free towels....hence the label. Wouldn't have happened if we'd had Google lens in my day!

10: Paybox

School committees/class mothers and some vendors regularly ask to be paid via Paybox and not Bit. So add this to the list too. Remember the days of sending your kid to school with an envelope of cash and strict instructions not to lose it?

11: Wolt

This direct-to-your-door delivery service is good for far more than just takeaway foods. Check out the options.

12: Superpharm

A most useful app with discount vouchers available only to app-users and home delivery.

13: Miscellaneous

Here I'd add banking apps, your health provider plus, if you live in Tel Aviv, there are other important apps like Bubble transport, Key, Lime etc.

Have I left anything out?

Feel free to message me on Facebook.

Join Israel 101 here:

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Friday, 19 July 2024

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