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Tips you must know before traveling Israel

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Tipping is less universal and customary in Israel than it is in North America and much of Europe. But it is more common than it used to be, so here are some guidelines:

• In restaurants, where service is not included in the bill (usually clearly indicated, and almost always not included), tip 12-15%. You can do more, of course, but Israelis don’t routinely tip at the customary 15-20% rate found in North America.

• In taxis, do not tip but you can round up to the next shekel or 10 shekels, if the fair is something like ₪59. If you don’t say something, the driver will hunt for a one-shekel coin. If the driver does a lot of extra work, such as carrying bags into the hotel, or otherwise went “beyond the call,” then tip as you would at home.

• For housekeepers in the hotel, I tip ₪10 per day. It may not be customary, but these are among the lowest paid workers in Israel, and the tips are appreciated.

• Sherut (group taxi) drivers are not tipped. This is like taking a bus. • For tour guides, if they are self-employed, no tip is expected, but if I loved the guide, I might tip around 10-15%. If the guide is employed by a larger company, a tip in that amount is customary. On a big bus tour, it is customary to tip the guide ₪25-40 daily and the bus driver in the range of ₪12-20 daily, per person.

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