Shopping in Israel is more than acquiring things; it becomes the best way to think about your loved ones and friends at home, because you’ll be bringing them (and yourself) a bag, bottle, or box symbolizing the wonders you experienced. As you amble through markets, shops and galleries, you’ll see the incredible variety of products means you’ll find something for everyone and have fun while you’re doing it.
Some of the most meaningful mementos are waiting for you at Israel’s holy places in Galilee and Jerusalem. Eye-catching blue and white Armenian pottery items adorned with familiar themes from the holy places are popular as keepsakes, and useful as serving dishes. Olive wood and mother-of-pearl, crafts that are centuries old, now adorn Bibles, boxes, broaches and many other items that will keep your visit fresh in your mind and heart.
And what better way to remember Safed, Jerusalem, Jaffa or other Judaica centers than to adorn a Sabbath and holiday table at home with a hand-embroidered Challah- or matzah-cover (lightweight and easy to pack!) or candlesticks, a Kiddush cup or Chanukkah menorah in contemporary or traditional silver, pewter, glass or pottery. Mezuzahs are the perfect housewarming present, and a prayer shawl is a life-long Bar/Bat Mitzvah keepsake.
Israel is home to the word’s largest open-air spa – the Dead Sea – and after bathing in its mineral-rich water, your skin and hair feel silky-smooth. And yes, they do bottle it! You can buy a whole range of Dead Sea mineral products, all beautifully packaged, for the perfect present from Israel.
You’ll certainly want to browse the factory-outlet racks or boutiques of Israel’s world-famous clothes designers while you’re here. Cute 100% cotton Israeli-made baby clothes are also easy to tuck into your burgeoning suitcase and make a great shower gift. Did you walk your feet off in Israel? Before your trip ends, pick up a pair of walk-on-air sandals or shoes made in Israel, at prices that can’t be beat at home.
Israeli jewelry designers star in fine stores everywhere and when you buy in Israel you’re at the source. Particularly alluring are trendy bangles with their mutli-colored crystals and beads in seemingly endless patterns, as well creations in fine green-blue malachite (Eilat stone), which that everyone will know you’ve been to Israel when you wear.
Israel has long been famous for its cut and polished diamonds, and the experience, knowledge and skill of its diamond experts. And as a diamond-exporting country, purchases in Israel often enjoy a price advantage. You can also tour a diamond cutting and polishing facility to learn all about the industry.
In a country famous for cuisine from the four corners of the earth packaged food products are great to take home. There are spices like the biblical hyssop for your favorite chef, and sweet dates handsomely packaged for passing around at your office or book club, and a variety of herbal teas, honey, prize-winning wines and other products.
And when you and your gifts get to the airport, you’ll love the special incentive of a Value Added Tax rebate in purchases over $100 from participating stores.