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The Best Places to Live in Israel for English Speakers

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As exciting as moving to a new country is, it also comes with a whole host of challenges you must learn to navigate. The situation gets even more complex if another language is primarily spoken in the country you’re moving to. People making Aliyah have it especially hard, as Hebrew is one of the toughest languages in the world to master.

To make matters worse, not knowing Hebrew introduces other challenges to your life in Israel, such as having difficulties making new friends and integrating into the local community. Fortunately, many of these challenges can be mitigated by a simple move – finding housing in an English-friendly neighborhood. 

This guide has all the details on living in Israel as an English speaker and making the best out of it.

What Are the Best Places to Live in Israel for English-Speaking Expatriates?

What Are the Best Places to Live in Israel for English-Speaking Expatriates?

Hebrew is the official and primary language of the Jewish population in Israel. However, you’ll be happy to know that English is widely spoken throughout the country, providing you with an excellent selection of places to live. Keep reading to learn about the top cities in Israel for English speakers. 

Which Cities in Israel Have the Largest English-Speaking Communities?

Which Cities in Israel Have the Largest English-Speaking Communities?

Settle in one of the following cities, and you should have no issue socializing, finding employment, and simply feeling at home in Israel:

  • Tel Aviv: A lively city known for its massive expatriate community and cosmopolitan atmosphere. It might be the most suitable for younger Olim.
  • Jerusalem: A cultural and historical hub with a diverse population that includes many English-speaking residents. Anglos who prefer a rich historical environment might find this city particularly appealing.
  • Modi'in: A modern city conveniently located between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem that boasts a significant English-speaking population. This city is ideal for Anglos seeking high living standards in a modern environment. 
  • Ra'anana: A suburban town in central Israel founded by Anglos. It’s perfect for Anglo families looking for a high standard of living.
  • Herzliya: A beautiful coastal city north of Tel Aviv, exceptionally popular among English speakers. Retirees might enjoy this city the most. 
  • Netanya: Another coastal town beloved among English-speaking retirees for its laidback lifestyle.
  • Haifa: A northern city known for its academic and technological sectors and a burgeoning English community. Choose this city if you want the opportunities Tel Aviv has to offer but also seek a more relaxed lifestyle by the sea.

Other areas that have very significant English-speaking population include:

  • Gush Etzion
  • Givat Zeev
  • Ma'ale Adumim
  • Ma'ale Gilboa 
  • Hashmonaim
  • Zikhron Ya'akov
  • Pardes Hanna-Karkur
  • Safed/Tzfas (The Old City)

What Are the Most English-Friendly Neighborhoods in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem?

What Are the Most English-Friendly Neighborhoods in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem?

Jerusalem and Tel Aviv are the two largest cities in Israel. That’s why it’s not enough to look at the cities as a whole. You should dig deeper into their neighborhoods to find the most English-friendly ones.

In Jerusalem, the following English speaking neighborhoods will welcome you with open arms:

  • The German Colony
  • Baka
  • Rechavia
  • Armon HaNatziv
  • The areas around the Hebrew University Mt. Scopus campus

As for Tel Aviv, the city has one of the most impressive Anglo populations in Israel. English-speaking areas in the city include the following:

  • Florentin
  • Neve Tzedek
  • The areas around the Rothschild Boulevard

How Does the Cost of Living in Israel Vary for English Speakers?

How Does the Cost of Living in Israel Vary for English Speakers?

The cost of living in Israel for English speakers can be significantly higher than for locals. Why? It’s simple. The cities with the largest English-speaking population and the most diverse offering of English-based services are usually also the cities with a high demand for housing and a high cost of living overall. 

English-speaking Olim who require private healthcare and international education should also expect to pay a premium for those services.

There’s also another challenge for Anglos living in Israel that often gets overlooked. Individuals who don’t speak Hebrew can often get roped into unnecessarily costly home services that raise their overall cost of living. 

A lack of Hebrew proficiency can lead to misunderstandings and overcharging by service providers when it comes to repairs, renovations, and even basic household needs like the internet. So, it’s in your best interest to set up these services with English-speaking providers whenever possible. 

What Should English Speakers Know About Living in Israel?

Israel is a unique country through and through. That’s why all Anglos, whether coming from the U.S., U.K., Canada, South Africa, or Australia, should get familiar with its cultural and social nuances before making the move.

The most important things you should know are as follows:

  • Mastering Hebrew is a must if you want to feel as comfortable in Israel as you did at home.
  • Though influenced by the West, the Israeli culture still retains strong Middle Eastern roots, which can create many cultural differences.
  • Israel has a strong sense of community, and relationships are often built on personal connections. Build a network of friends, and you’ll feel right at home.
  • Religion plays a huge role in Israeli life, and respecting these traditions should top your list of priorities. 
  • Israel generally has a high cost of living, so make sure you budget carefully before and after making Aliyah.

What Are the Social Opportunities for English Speakers in Israel?

You’ll have no trouble finding exciting social opportunities in Israel as an English speaker. Though these can pop up virtually anywhere, there are two excellent ways to seek them out.

No. 1 – Become a member of organizations like ESRA and keep up with its social calendar.

No. 2 – Join Facebook groups dedicated to your specific city or community and attend the sports, arts, and culture events posted in these. 

Are There English-Speaking Schools Available in Israel?

Are There English-Speaking Schools Available in Israel?

If you’re looking for English-friendly schools, Israel won’t disappoint. As a highly welcoming country, Israel offers a variety of options for English-speaking students at all levels of education. But keep in mind – most of these schools are located strictly in bigger cities. 

Here are some examples:

  • The Anglican International School Jerusalem: For ages 2-18
  • The Jerusalem American International School: For ages 3-18
  • TreeHouse International School: For ages 3-18
  • Walworth Barbour American International School in Israel: For ages 3-18

How Easy Is It to Find English-speaking Healthcare Services in Israel?

Not every healthcare facility in Israel will have English-speaking staff on site. However, English-speaking healthcare services are still reasonably accessible, especially in areas with a large expat population.

The best course of action is to network with other Anglos in your area to see which Kupot Cholim (healthcare provider) is popular in your community and offers the highest number of English-speaking doctors.

If, however, you need a hospital or clinic with English-speaking staff right away, here are some facilities you can consider:

  • Assaf HaRofeh Medical Center, Tzrifin 
  • Assuta Ramat Hahayal Center, Tel Aviv
  • Barzilai Medical Center, Ashkelon
  • Hadassah Ein Karem Hospital, Jerusalem
  • Rambam Health Care Campus, Haifa
  • Sheba Medical Center, Ramat Gan

What Are the Visa Requirements for English-Speaking Expats Moving to Israel?

English speakers making Aliyah who don’t have an Israeli passport will need to obtain a visa before moving to Israel. But don’t worry; this process is reasonably simple and affordable. You’ll need to obtain a visa after your Aliyah application is approved, and you’ll need the following documents to do so:

  • A visa application form with the fee paid
  • Proof of funds
  • A valid passport and two passport-sized photographs
  • A birth certificate
  • Flight bookings

Keep in mind that there are several types of visas for English speakers, each with unique requirements and conditions. Here’s a brief overview of the types that most Anglos go for:

  • A/1 (for people with Jewish roots making Aliyah)
  • A/5 (for individuals contemplating making Aliyah)
  • B/1 (for ex-pats in a relationship with an Israeli citizen or those who receive a job offer from an Israeli employer)

Can English Speakers Easily Integrate Into Israeli Society?

Can English Speakers Easily Integrate Into Israeli Society?

There isn’t a simple answer to this question, as every English-speaking Oleh is different. If you know at least some basic Hebrew, remain positive and open-minded, and thoroughly research Israeli society before becoming its member, you should have no issues fitting right in. 

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