Blend in Like a Native With the Best Hebrew Slang

Tourists in Israel are quick to discover the intrigue of Modern Hebrew. The language is an adapted version of Biblical Hebrew and includes a lot of slang. Having been successfully revived from the cusp of extinction, Hebrew is steeped in scripture, verve, and a lot of gesticulation.

Although many Israelis speak English, it never hurts to know key Hebrew phrases and common slang just to blend in with the locals! It’s also a great way to make connections and gain a deeper understanding of the people and culture in Israel.

As a tourist in Israel,  you won’t be expected to speak Hebrew. However, making the effort to speak a few words in Hebrew is always appreciated by locals. It may feel silly to say words, but even if mispronounced it shows a sign of trying to connect and understand and is most often positively received by locals.

So, let’s start with the more basic words of your Hebrew Language Guide for Tourists in Israel.

Blend in like a native and order a drink in Hebrew at your nearest coffee shop!
Coffee time means Hebrew time.

The Basic Hebrew You Must Know in Israel:

(Keep in mind, wherever you see “ch”, it is a guttural sound made by forcing air through the closure formed by the back of the tongue against the palate, as in the words Chanukah and challah.)

Hello – “Shalom” ( also saying “Hi” is understood)

Thank you – “Todah”

How are you – “Ma-nishma”

Yes – “Ken”

No – “Loh”

Please – “Ba-vaka-shah”

Goodbye – “Shalom” 

Cheers – “Le-Chaim”

My name is – “Shmi … ”

Israel has an excellent social scene on offer, which is the best place to practice your newfound Hebrew.
Liquid courage always helps when testing out new words!

Basic Hebrew Phrases for Tourists in Israel:

Good Morning – “Boker tov”

Good Evening – “Erev tov”

Good Night – “Layla tov”

I speak English – “Ani meda-ber Angleet” (m) / “Ani meda-beret Angleet” (f)

Where is the bathroom? – “Efo ha-sheruteem?”

How much is this? – “Cama ze?”

I need help – “Ani tza-rich ezra”

I need beer – “Ani tza-rich beera”

I’m going to the beach – “Ani holech la-yam” (m) / “Ani holechet la-yam” (f)

Hebrew Food Words for Tourists in Israel:

Water – “Mayim”

Bread – “Lechem”

Menu – “Tafreet”

Can I have an English Menu? – “Efshar tafreet ba’Angleet”?

Vegetarian – “Tzim-chonee”

Vegan – “Tee-vonee”

Meat – “Basar”

Wine – “Yain”

Beer – “Beera”

Coffee – “Caffe”

With milk – “Imm halav”

Without milk – “Bli halav”

Should you want to put these words into practice, then why not take advantage of our Tel Aviv Food Tasting Tour, and allow yourself to truly barter like a local with vendors using your newfound vocabulary? Alternatively, for those who’d prefer, there is also a Tel Aviv Vegan Food Tour, to sample award-winning vegan dishes at notable hotspots.

You will often find a multitude of languages spoken at Israel's beach. Why not then try out your new Hebrew skills?
Israeli beaches are a great testing ground.

Hebrew Slang Words for Tourists in Israel

What’s up – “Ma-koreh”

How are you – “Ma-nish”

Sure / no problem – “Sabbaba”

Come on, or Let’s Go – “Yalla”

Bro or Dude – “Achi” – (literally translates to my brother)

Cool – “Achla” or “Magneev”

End of the road (something good) – “Sof ha-derech”

Great – “Esh” (literally translates to fire)

That’s awesome – “Haval al-hazmaan”

Are you kidding – “Ata retzini”

I have no idea – “Ein li moosag”

Sweetheart – “Kapara” (for male and female, used often)

Want to learn more about the slang that is written all over Tel Aviv? Join this Tel Aviv Street Art Tour to understand the subculture and vibrantly diverse street art and graffiti scene in Tel Aviv.

If you’d like to combine the street art tour with a food-tasting tour and test out your new language skills to the max, you can also opt to join this Best of Tel Aviv and Jaffa Walking Tour. Looking for more ways to prepare for your trip to Israel? Check out this beginner’s guide to Israel and the 10 best tours in Israel.

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