Vacation in Israel? Hebrew Vocabulary for Tourists!

We know we’ve shared lots of useful information for tourists coming to spend a few weeks in Israel, for new immigrants trying to understand how the banking system works in Israel, and for people in general who just don’t understand how offices work in the Land of Milk and Honey.

As you know, we’ve shown you how to spend an amazing 48 hours in Tel Aviv, which kind of activities are the ideal ones for you to do with your young children, and a lot more. But, at this moment, we’d like to be a bit more “tachles”.

In this Hebrew Vocabulary post, you’ll find all the basic words you’ll need as a tourist. From directions, to how to ask for a discount. You might feel that this is like a 2nd part of the article about Hebrew Vocabulary when Travelling around Israel, and in some way… you are right.

Now, we are bringing you new Hebrew words for you to learn, and new fun stories for you to share. Ready to come to Israel? Let’s see!

The basics: Be a tourist in Israel, enjoy the country and speak Hebrew while doing so!

Let’s be honest, you’re not going to become a fluent Hebrew speaker after reading this article. For that, you’d have to join one of Rosen’s online Hebrew classes and master the language of our ancestors… But for now, we are going to teach you some Hebrew words that are going to be extremely useful when coming to Israel on your next vacation.

Bring the family and learn together, it is always funnier and more effective when we learn with someone by our side. Here we go…

Taxi: Taxi in Hebrew is מונית (pronounced: moh-neet), and believe it or not, most of them are brand new Mercedes Benz’s. You’ll need to take מוניות very often when coming to Israel as a tourist. Here’s a little tip: Ask the driver to turn on the מונה and to use Waze to get to your destination… that way, it will be a bit less possible for them to fool you with the final price.

If you want, start a conversation with them! Taxi drivers in Israel love talking about life, politics, and their life experiences… and a huge percentage of them speak fluent English, so you shouldn’t have any issue.

Beach: Regardless of the season of the year, you will always want to visit the beach in Israel. Either for a refreshing swim in the Mediterranean or for staring at a breathtaking sunset with the family. As a tourist, you have to visit the many beaches we have here in Israel. Beach in Hebrew is חוף הים (pronounced: chof hah-yam)… and if you are a surfer, here’s a selection of Israeli beaches for you to enjoy!

Hungry: Believe us, you will get hungry very often while being a tourist in Israel. Food is so tasty, and the different cooking styles are so numerous that you will want to try out all of the different options. Hungry in Hebrew is רעב (pronounced: rah-ev). If you happen to be in Tel Aviv, don’t you miss places like the “Miznon”, or the famous “The old man and the sea”. You won’t regret it!

Club: Club in Hebrew is מועדון (pronounced: moh-ah-don), and the options are way too numerous. Places for salsa, places for R&B, places with live music, and even places to have an after-party are available all over Israel. If you were planning to have an active vacation with a lot of parties, Israel can totally be your place.

Souvenirs: We all love souvenirs! It doesn’t matter if you are taking a magnet back home, or if you decided to buy something a bit more impressive. In Israel, you’ll find souvenirs stores on almost every corner… and we are not exaggerating. Souvenirs in Hebrew are מזכרות (pronounced: maz-kah-rot), and don’t worry; you will find a number of options to make your friends and family members happy back home.

‘Something local’ (not for tourists): We will tell you a little secret: All tourists, everywhere in the world, ask locals for tips for those places which are “not for tourists”. And we know that, most likely, you’ll want to do this on your next visit to Israel. When you do this, ask some Israeli in the street for משהו למקומיים (something for the locals), which in Hebrew is pronounced: mah-she-uh lah-meh-ko-meem. Most likely, they will send you either to their cousin’s store or to a place where you’ll still find a lot of tourists. But it is worth trying!

Hotel: Important, useful word! Hotel in Hebrew is מלון (pronounced: mah-lon), and there is a huge variety. You can find little hostels for backpackers or deluxe hotels in the middle of the desert. The choice is yours! Take a good look at your budget and find the best option for you.

And when asking for directions in Hebrew, we also need to be prepared

Here’s a bonus track! See how to ask for directions in Hebrew, when you next come to enjoy the fantastic country of hummus and falafel.

Don’t worry about long distances. Even if we are talking about a short 20-minute walk, Israelis will always recommend for you to take either a מונית or a bus. What are we going to do? According to “Israeli distances”, everything is “too far”.

Turn left: Turn left in Hebrew is פנה שמאלה  and you pronounce it “pneh small-ah

Keep straight: You will here this a lot. Keep straight is “תמשיך ישר”, but most Israelis will simply answer “ישר ישר” (pronounced: yah-shar yah-shar).

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Turn right: Turn right in Hebrew is פנה ימינה and you pronounce it “pneh yah-me-nah

Go back: If you made a mistake and you need to go back, Israelis will tell you “תחזור”, pronounced: tah-chzor.

Learn Hebrew today and enjoy a good vacation in Israel!

If you want to have an even better experience in Israel during your vacation: Learn Hebrew. Speaking the language will allow you to better interact with people and to really understand what’s going on all the time.

In our online, live Hebrew lessons, you’ll be able to practice with your instructor, master this beautiful ancient language, and understand how words are built, and how to communicate with Israelis.

Are you ready to start? The Rosen instructors are more than ready to teach you. Behatzlacha!

About the author

Arie Elbelman R.Arie was born and raised in Chile, and immigrated to Israel in his early twenties. He wants to take an active role in the development of this young and smart country. Arie believes that the best way to shape our present and future is to live with more horizontal hierarchies, to smile a whole lot, and to always, always respect each other.

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