Culture Quests

Israel

Middle East
Capital: Jerusalem
Languages: Hebrew, Arabic
Useful links: Kids Culture Corner: Israel | CIA World Factbook

The following information is generalized and compiled from questions posed to the agents and interviewers in Israel. Although au pairs from this country may or may not have had these experiences/beliefs, Au Pair in America wishes to share this general information with our families.

Au Pairs in General

  • The idea of being an au pair is uncommon in Israel.
  • The job potential of an au pair improves upon her return to Israel.
  • Young people in Israel have the freedom of their family to socialize and date.
  • Curfews are not common.
  • Young women are accustomed to sharing in household chores.
  • Nudity is not acceptable in Israel.
  • Israelis are independent and self-confident. Girls applying to the au pair program look for warm and supportive families. Wages are higher in Israel, so financial gain is not a motivating factor for applicants.

Child Care Practices

  • Common discipline techniques include loss of privileges like TV, or an early bed time.
  • Physical discipline is not common in Israel, as the law forbids it.
  • Applicants obtain childcare experience through formal schooling, helping raise siblings baby-sitting, summer camp, and scouts.
  • Childcare responsibility still remains mostly with the mother.
  • It is common for both parents to work and be away from home during the day.

Driving Skills

  • The process is rigorous and expensive.
  • The minimum driving age is age 17. Most applicants obtain their driving license at age 18.
  • A driving license is difficult and expensive to obtain. Most Israelis must take the test more than once to pass.
  • It takes three to four months obtain a license in Israel.
  • In order to obtain a driving license in Israel, applicants must have an eye exam, pass a theoretical written test with traffic rules and scenarios, take a minimum of 28 driving lessons, pass a practical test, and pay fees.
  • The International driving permit is available if the applicant has held her Israeli license for four months.
  • Applicants typically practice driving using their parents’ car; once they have started working they will save money with the intention of buying a car.
  • Most cars have automatic transmissions.

English Language Skills

  • English is a compulsory subject in the schools in Israel. TV and music in the English language is very much a part of youth culture in Israel.
  • Classes focus on reading, grammar and writing and less on conversation.

Education

  • Approximately 30 – 40% of young women continue their studies at University.
  • After high school, most go into the Army for National Service. Some take courses for secretarial work, sales, or caretakers.
  • The academic year in Israel starts in October and ends in June.
  • The educational opportunities of the Au Pair in America program are very important to Israeli applicants.

Health

  • The most common inoculations are Tetanus, Hepatitis, Rubella and Polio.
  • Most young women are inoculated and tested for TB (Tuberculosis).
  • Israel has a free health service.
  • Most young women visit the dentist on a regular basis.
  • “Eating disorders” are not common, but do occur.

Diet

  • Most young people in Israel eat meat, except pork.
  • Vegetarianism is not common.
  • It is typical in Israel to keep kosher. Kosher foods are those that conform to Jewish law. Common kosher practices prevent combining meat and milk, pork and shellfish. The use of produce from Israel that has not been tithed properly, or even the use of cooking utensils previously used for non-kosher food may also be forbidden.

Religion

  • The most common religion in Israel is Judaism.
  • Children are usually less religion conscious than their parents.

Telephone & Internet

  • Most homes have a telephone and a computer with access to the Internet.
  • Family members may not be able to take a message in English from a potential host family.

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