Herzliya Pituach, Israel Report of what it's like to live there - 08/20/23

Personal Experiences from Herzliya Pituach, Israel

Herzliya Pituach, Israel 08/20/23


1. Was this post your first expatriate experience? If not, what other cities have you lived in as an expat?

This is our fourth expat experience. We've previously lived in North Africa and South America.

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2. What is your home city/country? How long is the trip to post from there, with what connections? How easy/difficult is it to travel to this city/country?

There are a number of direct flights to the United States: Washington, DC, New York, Atlanta, Chicago, Miami, and more.

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3. How long have you lived here?

Two years.

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4. What years did you live here?


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5. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, military, teaching, retirement, etc.)?

Diplomatic mission.

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Housing, Groceries & Food:

1. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?

Housing is mostly standalone houses with small yards and a wall around them. Commute time to downtown Tel Aviv is about 30-45 minutes.

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2. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?

Good availability, plan to spend about double the cost in the U.S. and to shop around to different stores to find everything.

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3. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?

Any specific sauces, spices, or cleaning supplies you prefer. Also note that local snack food/cereal/soda etc. brands have a different formulation that in the U.S., e.g. Doritos are available but not in the same flavors, Cheerios are sweetened, etc.

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4. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?

There are lots of options for delivery via Wolt. There are many good restaurants, especially Italian, burgers, sushi.

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5. Are there any unusual problems with insects or other infestations in housing?

No, just the run of the mill cockroaches and mosquitoes.

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Daily Life:

1. How do you send and receive your letters and package mail? Are local postal facilities adequate?

You can use the local mail system but there's a bit of a learning curve. There's even a local version of Amazon.

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2. What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?

Household help can be hard to find. Some find weekly cleaners (typically they work two half days at two different homes) for about $20/hour.

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3. What kinds of gyms or other sports/workout facilities are available? Are they expensive?

There are lots of gym and fitness class options for prices equivalent or cheaper than the U.S.

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4. Are credit cards widely accepted and safe to use locally? Are ATMs common and do you recommend using them? Are they safe to use?

Yes, credit cards are widely used, and ATMs are safe, but not as widespread as would be convenient.

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5. What English-language religious services are available locally?

There are several options in Herzliya, one each protestant/non-denoninational, LDS, and Baptist, plus a number of synogogues. There are also churches in Jaffa: Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran.

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6. How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?

You can mostly get by with none, relying on Google Translate in a pinch. That said, it can be very useful to learn some to navigate medical offices, shopping, etc. There are many local language classes that cater to new immigrants.

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7. Would someone with physical disabilities have difficulties living in this city?

I've seen worse and I've seen better.

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1. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?

Buses are widespread, safe, and affordable, but not always totally reliable. There is an Uber-like app called Gett that is about equivalent in reliability and price.

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2. What kind of vehicle(s) including electric ones do you recommend bringing to post, given the terrain, infrastructure, availability of parts, burglary/carjacking risks, etc.? What kind of car or vehicles do you advise not to bring?

Any vehicle is probably fine. We like having a mid-size SUV for beaches and road-trips, but for daily commuting a higher gas mileage small sedan is better. Parking is on the smaller side.

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Phone & Internet:

1. Is high-speed home Internet access available? How long does it typically take to install it after arrival?

High speed home Internet is available, but has more outages than I'm used to. You can have it installed before you arrive.

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2. Do you have any recommendations regarding mobile phones? Did you keep your home-country plan or use a local provider?

Many people use TCS, which has English speaking customer service. E-sim is not widely available yet. Local plans are cheap.

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1. Are qualified veterinarians and/or good kennel services available? Do animals need to be quarantined upon entry to the country? Are there other considerations regarding pets that are particular to this country?

There are several good, English speaking local vets and boarding services. No quarantine requirement, just some specific import requirements to complete ahead of time. The local vets will take care of your required pet registration after you arrive.

Dogs are very common, but may be more aggressive than you're used to. Our dog has been bitten twice in two years, but received good care and fully recovered.

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Employment & Volunteer Opportunities:

1. What types of jobs do most expatriate spouses/partners have? Locally based or telecommuting? Full-time or part-time? Can you comment on local salary scales?

Either working at local embassies, the international school, or telecommuting.

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2. What volunteer opportunities are available locally?

There are a number of charity organizations.

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3. What is the typical dress code at work and in public places? Is formal dress ever required?

Beach business casual, think cotton, linen, and sandals. Embassies may require formal dress for special events, but overall the dress code is much more casual than somewhere like Washington, DC. You will see everything from jeans to formal dresses at weddings.

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Health & Safety:

1. Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.

Not personal security. Overall, this is a pretty safe place, other than the occasional rockets, for which there are good emergency plans. Kids roam around freely and people feel safe walking after dark.

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2. Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?

Medical care is quite good and many providers speak English. This is the first oversees post where we've had local health providers that will bill U.S. insurance.

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3. What is the air quality like at post (good/moderate/bad)? Are there seasonal air quality issues? Does the air quality have an impact on health?

Moderate. There are dust storms that blow in, and a fair amount of pollen, but not a lot of other air pollution.

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4. What do people who suffer from environmental or food allergies need to know?

Nuts and sesame re pretty widespread, but there is good labeling on packaged goods (you need to be able to read/translate Hebrew for this). Be very careful about freshly baked goods; we had an allergy event because of walnuts in a cinnamon roll.

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5. Are there any particular mental health issues that tend to crop up at post, such as Seasonal Affective Disorder (winter blues)?

No, this post is sunny most of the year, and the high temperature never goes much below 60. There is a rainy season, and 1-2 gloomy weeks, but overall it's quite pleasant.

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6. What is the overall climate: is it extremely hot or cold, wet or dry, at any time of year, for example?

Hot and humid in the summer (with no rain May - November), mild in the winter. I'd compare it to Florida minus the summer thunderstorms.

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Schools & Children:

1. What is the availability of international schools? What has been your general experience with them, if any?

Our kids go to WBAIS and have had a good experience there. There are about 40-50 kids per grade level and it's a truly international school. There are not many other options, other than local Hebrew speaking schools.

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2. Are preschools available? Day care? Are these expensive? What has been your experience with them, if any? Do the schools provide before- and/or after-school care?

There are local subsidized preschools starting close to age three, and other private day cares. We don't have kids that age but people seem to be happy with them.

After school care can be tricky. The international school has some afterschool activities, but not a general after chool program. Families with two working parents or single parents should plan ahead for this.

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3. Are local sports classes and/or activities available for kids?

Yes, many.

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Expat Life:

1. What is the relative size of the expatriate community? How would you describe overall morale among expatriates?

Pretty large, as there are many new immigrants in addition to ex-pats here for a few years. I'd say morale is mostly high.

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2. What are some typical ways to socialize, either with local people or with other expatriates? Are there groups or clubs that you can recommend?

Meeting people through kids, work, sports, church, and there are a few international clubs.

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3. Is this a good city for single people? For couples? For families? Why or why not?

I'd recommend Tel Aviv for single people and couples, but Herzliya is great for families.

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4. Is it easy to make friends with locals here? Are there any prejudices or any ethnic groups who might feel uncomfortable here?

Yes and no. People are friendly and speak to you easily, but people tend to socialize with their own families on the weekends.

We are a mixed race family and feel comfortable, but this may vary. Herzliya is very white, and the Israeli population is all Jewish, but many day workers and store clerks are local Arabic speakers.

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5. Is this a good city for LGBT expatriates? Why or why not?

Seems okay, but Tel Aviv would be better.

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6. Are there problems with ethnic, race/racial minorities or religious prejudices? Gender equality?

Not especially.

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7. What have been the highlights of your time in this country? Best trips or experiences?

Visiting the national parks, weekly beach days. Road trips to the Golan Heights, Jordan, Red Sea.

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8. What are some interesting/fun things to do in the area? Can you recommend any “hidden gems"?

Get a national parks pass and you'll be able to see a lot of different places, from natural areas to archaeological/historical sites.

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9. Is this a "shopping post"? Are there interesting handicrafts, artwork, antiques, or other items that people typically buy there?

This is not a shopping post, but there are some nice handicrafts in downtown Tel Aviv/Jaffa and Jerusalem.

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10. What are the particular advantages of living in this city?

The beach and general kid life.

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Words of Wisdom:

1. What do you wish you had known about this particular city/country before moving there?

It's less kosher than I thought. There are a number of non-kosher restaurants, and there are grocery stores and restaurants open on Shabbat.

It's also hotter and more humid than I realized.

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2. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?

Yes, absolutely.

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3. If you move here, you can leave behind your:

Winter gear (except for trips to Europe).

Most of your formal workwear

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4. But don't forget your:

Beach gear, sunscreen, bikes.

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5. Do you recommend any books or movies about this city/country for those who are interested in learning more?

The Lemon Tree
James Michener's The Source
Anything by Amos Oz


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6. Do you have any other comments?

The quality of life we've found here beats anywhere else we've lived. It's a pretty easy place to live, and a rewarding (but challenging) place to work.

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