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Buying Things In Isreal by Jack Devlin

General

Living and travelling costs in Israel are almost on a par with Western Europe, North America and Australasia, making it by far the most 'expensive' country outside the Persian Gulf in the Middle East region.

Small food kiosks (known as ""Pitzukhiot"") offer various snacks such as freshly roasted peanuts, sunflower, and melon seeds, soft drinks, cigarettes and candy. Take note that currently (Feb 2007) the price of a soft drink can is between 3 and 7 shekels and a 0.5CL bottle is generally one shekel more expensive than a can. Prices in tourist areas in big cities, especially tourist cities like Eilat can be up to 20 shekels per 0.5CL bottle, however often a small walk will reveal the more local places that will sell you 6 1.5CL bottles for as cheap as 14 shekels.
Currency and money matters

The Israeli unit of currency is the shekel (proper name = the New Israeli Shekel; in Hebrew, shekel chadash or sha-ch for short). Each shekel is divided into 100 agorot (singular: agorah). The common symbols for the shekel are NIS or â'. There are 10 agorot, 50 agorot, 1, 2, 5, and 10 shekel coins, and 20, 50, 100 & 200 shekel notes. $1 US equals about NIS 3.50; 1â' equals about NIS 5.50; 1 equals about NIS 8.00 (April 2008).

ATMs are widely available in cities and towns and are connected to European and American banking systems - this is easily the best way to access funds without paying commission on travelers' cheques! There are specific change storefronts that do not charge commission. Bank of America charged a service fee of five dollars for taking money from the ATM, so other banks probably do as well. Check with your specific bank. Note that post office branches change travellers cheques (and cash) commission-free. Cash can also be sent to post office branches using Western Union services.

You can get V.A.T. (15.5%, Jan 2007) refunds when leaving the country, but if you don't like the queue at the airport, note that Eilat is a V.A.T. free city.

US Dollars are accepted in some tourist locations, particularly Jerusalem, at a rough exchange rate of 3 to 3.5 NIS to the dollar.
Business hours

The business days are Sunday through Friday in Jewish towns, allowing for observance of the Sabbath (""Shabbat"") from sundown on Friday until sundown on Saturday. On Friday, many shops will close at about 14:30-15:00 to allow ample time return home before sundown. Many shops, especially in malls, will re-open on Saturday evening, at about 19:00 in winter, and 20:30 in summer. Some shops, especially outside city limits or in tourist areas, as well as 24-hour convenience stores, remain open on Saturdays. In Arab towns, shops are generally open 7 days a week.

Shops in malls and on major shopping streets are generally open from 9:30 to 21:00 daily. Banks and post offices, as well as some smaller shops, stick to traditional business hours of 8:30-19:00, with a lunch break from about 13:00 to 16:00, so do check.

Markets usually open and close early.
Bargaining

It is pretty common to bargain in most modern areas in Israel. When buying at shopping malls and the bigger places bargaining will be more difficult but is always worth a try to lower the price. Usually it's easier to make a deal if you are buying multiple items than a single item.

It is quite common to bargain in bazaars and the more rural markets, and when buying second hand products. Prices in tourist areas such as the Old City of Jerusalem can routinely be haggled down to as low as 25% of the asking price.
[edit] Souvenirs

Israeli wine, kosher products, t-shirts, diamonds. Almost needless to say, Israel is one of the best countries for purchasing Judaica and Christian pilgrim trinkets.

While it is legal to purchase antiquities from the small number of government-licensed dealers, exporting antiquities from Israel is illegal, except with a written authorization from the Israel Antiquities Authority.

Find Israel buying and more useful information about Israel news, business on Israel directory

Article Source: http://www.earticlesonline.com/Article/Buying-Things-In-Isreal/381441

President Obama: Israel's Security Will Remain Paramount in US Evaluations of Any Peace Deal

How much can the U.S. take?

On almost a daily basis there are terrorists killing people and blowing things up. Isreal deals with suicide bombers all of the time, Iraq as well. People obviously partake in blowing themselves up as an act of defiance and an attempt to make up for a lack of resources. My question is, in America, if our people became as angry as those in palistine and Iraq, what would happen? And how far away are we from possibly reaching that point? And waht causes people to get to become that desperate?

As far as blowing themselves up as "an act of defiance and attempt to make up for resources"

How far is one willing to go to justify their cause is what I have to ask? If you, or anyone, believes that much in a cause that they are willing to give their life for further it, what can we do to stop them? If the only threat we can offer to a person is a violent end, as in us shooting them, imprisoning them, or something else, we need to rethink how war is played. Take the lawyers out of the equation and get to the business of winning. I am fed up with the political correctness of this nation, we can't even have a loser in a childhood soccer match. There has to be a defined winner and loser as well as a set of goals and achievements to know if, as they say CONSTANTLY on the news programs, we are making progress.

As far as Americans getting to to the state of mind as those overseas, I really don't see it. People in America are angry, read and watch the news. Polls are showing that we, as Americans, are fed up with the "politics" of our government. As always, my suggestion, get out and vote, do you part to make your voice heard. If YOU don't speak out, NO ONE will listen.
People in the United States are not afraid of the police or punishment any longer. If you've got a good enough attorney, you CAN get out of whatever it is that you've done in this country. Don't get me wrong, I love this country, I have been in several nations around the world, and trust me, "There's NO place like home"