The answer very much depends on cultural and local norms. A quick survey among the ISRAEL21c editorial team revealed our suspicion that Israel is a unique case, so to save you any future confusion and embarrassment, we’ve compiled the most comprehensive guide we could think of.
Of course, it’s not written in stone, so we recommend that you use your discretion at all times. If in doubt, err on the generous side. And let us know if we’ve missed someon
In Israel, it’s customary not to tip hairdressers who own the salon. However, the person washing your hair, doing your color or a junior hairdresser working in the salon would all welcome a tip. It doesn’t have to be particularly large – in most cases, a 20-shekel note would do. This applies in hotels as well.
Israeli hotel-goers would probably not tip bellboys in local establishments, but the influx of visitors from abroad and international tipping customs mean that bellboys do expect tips. Again, it doesn’t have to be large, but it’s definitely nice, and should be in cash.
Usually, housekeeping workers are among the lowest-paid in hotels, meaning that a generous tip will likely be very welcome. But it’s not the custom here, so hand the tip personally to your room cleaner lest he or she think that it’s just cash you left lying around.
We should emphasize that in many restaurants the servers’ salary is to a large extent comprised of tips, and while that’s not your problem, the Israeli way is to be generous about it. Also, not every Israeli eatery allows you to add the sum of the tip to the check, so be prepared to put the cash on the table.
Tour guides usually offer a very extensive service and many hours of work. We’d recommend giving a tip of 50 shekels per person in your party, or even 100 if you’re very pleased with the guide. Give the tip at the end of your tour but it’s nice to have it prepared beforehand.
One of the best things about having drinks or even dinner while sitting at the bar means that you’ll likely be getting on-the-house treats, called pinukim in Hebrew. This usually takes place in the form of free shots, an extra pour of wine or an extra appetizer. All these should elicit a generous tip, but your basic guideline is like that of servers above.
Produced in association with ISRAEL21c