The Israeli work week is one of the longest and less financially rewarding in the western world but despite the long hours of labor Israelis still find time to pursue leisure activities. Israel’s population, which consists of many immigrants coming from different cultures also influences the leisure culture. It is undergoing a constant process of change, assimilation and being affected by outside influences. Israelis’ hobbies are tied to the place and the weather typical of the area. Aquatic sports, sporting activities in parks, jogging, cycling have become a lifestyle and not only a trend, as well as spending time in cafés and restaurants, bars and night clubs. So as to have a glimpse of Israelis’ leisure activities, here are a few things you could also do:
Spend the day or the evening hours at the beach. Sun-tanning, surfing, the sun and sunsets are all part of the routine life of many Israelis. Starting in April, when the sea-bathing season is officially opened, until October, when it officially ends, you can find many Israelis at the beach every day, all day, especially during the weekends, a time in which the beaches are usually packed. You can also come to the beach to train in the public fitness-training machines that have been installed on the beaches. These have become a popular trend in Israel. You can join one of the teams playing volleyball or just grab a “MATKA”, a small wooden tennis paddle, and play with a partner. If you don’t care for lazing around on the beach or for fitness-training, you can always go for a stroll, jog or walk on the many promenades that are scattered along Israel’s beaches.
For those of you, who prefer urban leisure, go to one of the many cafés that the big cities offer. In many places, especially in Tel-Aviv, you will find the local people at the local café and not in franchised cafés. It turns out Tel-Aviv people prefer a privately, local owned café than one belonging to a franchise. You can enjoy the hundreds of restaurants that offer tasty dishes from all over the world – Israelis love to eat and on top of the homey food you can find in many small restaurants, you can find chef-restaurants of international level. Have you finished dining and you wish for some culture? In Israel the museum per capita ratio is the highest in the world; in each major city you will museums and galleries along with venues for music performances, theaters and clubs.
Shopping is one of the favorite hobbies of many Israelis and some say this is Israel’s true unofficial sport. In Israel you can find many malls that also provide shelter from the sweltering summer heat where you can find brands for different categories: fashion, home décor, design as well as food courts and cinemas. The high rate of building of malls and open-air shopping centers has also brought the opening of the Beer-Sheva mall in 2013, which became the biggest mall in Israel with 250 stores spread on 50,000 Sq. M. In addition to the many malls, you can find unique boutiques and markets full of fun where you can buy clothes, antiques and food. The social protest in the summer of 2011 has brought about the opening of many Outlet Centers across Israel, which offer well-known brands at discount prices.