Israeli Culture


  • When meeting people for the first time, Israelis may be formal and use titles such as ‘Mr’ or ‘Mrs’ followed by their last name.
  • After initial introductions, Israelis tend to address one another by their first name.
  • It is common for people to address one another as ‘ahi’ (also spelt as ‘achi’ or ‘ahki’), which is slang for a brother or friend (but literally means ‘my brother’).
  • Handshakes are the typical greeting between men. Women may also shake hands, though some women, such as those who identify as , may prefer to avoid physical contact with men.
  • Kissing on the cheek and hugging are also common greetings between people depending on their origin and level of comfort with physical contact between opposite genders.
  • Close male friends may greet each other with a firm handshake or a pat on each other’s back or shoulder.
  • Muslim Israelis use the right hand when shaking hands with their counterpart.
  • Verbal greetings tend to be quite informal. The most common greeting and parting phrase in Hebrew is “Shalom” (Peace). Jewish Israelis may also greet by saying “Ahlan”. 
  • “Shalom’ may be followed by the casual greetings of “Ma nishma” (What’s up?) or “Ma koreh” (What’s happening?). Some people may use the more formal “Ma shlomcha” (for men) or “Ma shlomech” (for women), which means ‘How are you?’
  • The most common greetings in Arabic are “Ahlan” (Hello or Welcome) and “Salaam” (Peace).
  • People may say “Shabbat shalom” when greeting on Friday evening, throughout Saturday (a period known as ‘Shabbat’) or when visiting a synagogue at these times. Some may use the Yiddish phrase ‘Gut shabbos’ (Good Shabbat).

Want this profile as a PDF?

Get a downloadable, printable version that you can read later.


Be the champion for inclusion in your workplace with exceptional tools and resources

Sign up for free