Israel has economic ties with almost all nations in the world and manufactures a wide variety of products. There are countless opportunities for shopping in Israel in the shopping centers that have sprung up in the past few decades - including the Malkha Mall, the largest in the Middle East - as well as in the colorful markets, annual bazaars, street malls, and shops in the large cities - all of which offer attractive imported and locally-made items.
Tel Aviv has entire streets with shops devoted to one particular item: spices, bridal gowns, clothing, fabrics, furniture, original gift items, fashion accessories, and galleries. In addition to these special streets such as Dizengoff, Shenkin, Herzl, Nakhlat Binyamin, and Levinsky, there are bi-weekly art fairs on Nakhlat Binyamin in the city center, bazaars with designer clothes and crafts in the exhibition grounds and around the port area, and an annual food fair called “Ta’am ha-Ir" (Taste of the City) where one can sample a variety of foods that are available in restaurants throughout the country.
The Old City is the focus of attraction in Jerusalem with its Oriental and local atmosphere, where one can purchase artifacts, ornaments made of wood, seashells, leather and straw, blown glass, and traditional clothing. The annual art fair, “Khutsot ha-Yotzer” offers both prestigious works of art and folk crafts created by Israeli artists. There are farmers’ markets in the German Colony and in the moshavim surrounding the city. The historical, renovated city center is filled with coffee shops and stores that sell gifts and souvenirs.
Haifa has large, new shopping centers, of which the largest and most unique is “Kastra”, which has the largest mural in the world. Ben Gurion Boulevard, a renovated street below the Bahai Gardens, has stores with Templer style merchandise. The “City Center” mall is located in the heart of the German Colony.
Rural Cottage Industries
Members of moshavim and kibbutzim have recently opened numerous small businesses throughout the country. Signs along the roads advertise these cottage industries, and they are worth investigating. Many offer home-made foods, dairy products and cheeses, arts and crafts, and other unusual items that are not sold in the cities.
Eilat, the tourist and vacation city located at the southernmost point in Israel, not only offers tourist items and souvenirs, but imported electrical appliances and clothing as well.
Purchases in Eilat are significantly less expensive since they are exempt from VAT. There are also tax-free shops in Ben Gurion Airport and at the border crossing point at Taba.
Businesses that operate under government supervision and listed with the Ministry of Tourism display the Ministry of Tourism logo and offer a variety of items such as jewelry and diamonds, carpets, women’s fashions, leather goods, artwork, ceramics, and embroidery.