Best Apps for Life in Israel
In the past learning about your new home meant a lot of trial and error. Getting directions, finding your favorite stores, renting a car, all required countless phone calls, visits, and questions to get what you needed. Now almost everything you need is at your fingertips, and often available in multiple languages. Download these handy apps and bookmark the websites to manage your errands, learn new things about your neighborhood, and arrange everything you need from the comfort of your own phone.
Getting started is easy with TCS Telecom which can help you find the right options for phone and internet services to keep you connected at home and abroad. Best of all, you can find our products and services in an easy-to-understand website, with customer service designed by Anglos for Anglos.
One of the first things to do when you arrive is to get your bearings. Check out the local area and figure out how to get from where you are to where you need to be. Luckily there are many apps to help with this daily task, so find the one that suits you.
With a large user base in Israel, Waze is the place for road and traffic information when you’re out and about. For more flexibility when making travel plans, Google Maps on iOS and Android has a variety of travel options to compare travel times and distances at your fingertips. Street view is an added bonus to see what you to look out for when exploring new places. For parking, make sure you have Pango or Cellopark (Android, iOS) to make payment easy on your way.
For public transportation, Moovit is a great option to have on hand. With schedules, route information, and wait times, it’s the best way to keep on top of your commute. To help things go smoothly keep track of the amount available on your Rav Kav with the app on Android or iOS. If it’s the train you’re looking for, find all the important information on Israel Railways and sit back and enjoy the ride.
Finally, when you’re in a rush or don’t want to deal with the commute, getting a taxi is the way to go. No need to find the number of a local company, just pull out your phone and order a cab right to your location. Gett on Android or iOS, is one such service that will help you find the right guide to get you from door to door.
Getting What you Need
Next up is finding the local dry cleaner, a handyman, and any number of items on your to-do list. Most banks and all of the health services, or kupot cholim, as they are known in Hebrew, have an app to access information and make transactions or appointments easily. For more general information, Easy.co.il allows you to search for anything according to location and interest. With quick access to shopping, leisure, services, and more, it will point you in the direction of whatever you need. For more help shopping, the price comparison website Zap.co.il is also available on Android and iOS, and is a great tool to find just about any product available in Israel. When looking for something second hand the equally helpful Yad2 is also available on iOS and Android. This is especially useful when seeking harder to find items or when you’re looking for a good deal.
After a long day working, running errands, or touring your new home, finding some good food can quickly become a priority. When you’re not up for cooking check out, Wolt and 10Bis. These popular apps are available in certain cities for take-out and delivery. When a restaurant is what you’re after, TripAdvisor (Website, iOS, Android) above and eLuna are the places to go for recommendations and ideas.
Speaking the Language
Another important aspect of living in a new country is speaking the language. You can do a lot on your phone, but even then having some Hebrew will be helpful, all the more so when you are out and about. No matter where you are on the road to fluency, these apps can help you go further.
Google Translate and Morfix are two translation apps that are free and easy to use. When you’re out and about, download Google for your Android or iOS device. Morfix, available on iOS and Android, adds additional functions to work on vocabulary and learn the language while you’re looking things up.
For those looking for something to help them pick up and practice more Hebrew, Duolingo will get you started with fun and interactive ways to work on your skills in many languages. You’ll be able to practice vocabulary and pick up new words and phrases whenever you have time to spare.
Exploring the Country
After settling in it's time to get out and explore the country a bit. The basics listed above will get you far, but if you want to see more of Israel, check out some great apps to help with traveling and touring.
When you’re ready for a vacation, apps like the international company AirBNB (Website, iOS, Android) can be helpful in comparing options for “bed and breakfast” type accommodations, known in Israel as tzimmers. Connecting to others on Facebook, (iOS, Android) to answer questions and explore options will also give you all the information you need for the best things to do and places to see around the country. Groups like Tripping in Israel and LoveLoveIsrael are great places to start for local ideas and the best attractions.
While most of these recommendations will be useful in a variety of locations around the country, there are certain cities with unique options to check out when you’re in town. In Tel Aviv, for example, scooters are a great way to get around the parks and boardwalks and international apps such as Bird (Android, iOS), Lime (Android, iOS), and Wind (Android, iOS) will help you find a ride. For getting around the city you can take advantage of the shared rides through the app Bubble Dan (iOS, Android) for a lift across town that is faster than a bus, and cheaper than a taxi.
In Jerusalem, connecting with the history and culture of this centuries-old city is easy with modern technology. Download the Audio Tours of Jerusalem app from the Jerusalem Development Authority. With over 20 tours of the old city, and few of the city center this app can provide interesting facts and information every step of the way, right from your phone.
If the news is of importance, online apps for Times of Israel, on iOS and Android, the Jerusalem Post, and Haaretz, are all options for your daily fix. If you prefer to listen to the news, try the Kan radio station which provides a daily news show in a variety of languages, or through its app on iOS or Android.
These are just some of the options to help you find your way as you ease into life as a new oleh, and beyond. What apps have you found the most helpful since making aliyah? Share your favorites with us and other readers in the comments below.