The high standards of Israeli products, the quality of Israeli service, and the value-for-money offered to visitors are not simply the results of the country's increasing orientation to the needs of the customer. They are also a matter of government encouragement and regulation. Special schemes sponsored by the Ministry of Tourism ensure reliable quality and provide special discounts and tax refunds for tourists.

Listed Shops and Businesses
Hundreds of shops, restaurants and other businesses throughout the country are listed by the Ministry of Tourism for their high standards of merchandise and service. Listed Business status is given only to those businesses which fulfil strict conditions, including clear display of the name of the business and opening hours in Hebrew and English, clear presentation of fixed prices in lsraeli currency, a valid business licence, polite and attentive service, knowledge of foreign languages, and clean and attractive premises and wlndow displays. Listed shops and restaurants can be identified by the following symbols and certificates shown in the window and on the premises themseves.

shop sign Value Added Tax (VAT) Refund and 5% Discount
Visitors buying goods worth $50 or more at a Ministry of Tourism approved shop are entitled to a discount of at least 5% on the purchase price plus a refund of VAT (Value Added Tax). In order to qualify you must be a foreign passport holder who is not an Israeli citizen, and you must make your purchases in foreign currency (cash or international credit card). Establishments offering this service display the following sign :

vat sign The 5% discount is given at the shop concerned. The 17% (in 1994) VAT refund is received at the point of departure from Israel. In order to receive your refund, please do the following :

  • Be sure to obtain from the shop the special VAT invoice/receipt , filled in with the relevant details :
  • Ensure that your purchases and the invoice have been sealed in a transparent bag at the shop. The bag must remain sealed until you leave Israel.
  • Pack the sealed bag In your hand luggage when preparing for departure.
  • Upon arrival at Ben Gurion Airport or Haifa port, please report to the officer at the Bank Leumi counter (which is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week). The officer will open the sealed bag, inspect the goods, stamp the VAT invoice and refund the VAT in US dollars (rounded to the nearest dollar) minus a commission.
  • If you are leaving Israel from other departure points, please present the sealed bag to the Customs Officer. The officer will open and inspect the bag and stamp the invoice. The Customs Office will then send a US dollar cheque covering the VAT refund to your address abroad, as indicated on the VAT invoice. There is no charge for this service.
Eilat is a free trade zone, and VAT is not charged on goods or services purchased there.

VAT-Free Export Deal
If you prefer, purchases can be sent from the shop directly to your address abroad through a VAT-Free Export Deal. This is especially useful for large or particulary valuable items. You need to give the shop your name, the delivery address and your passport details. Payment is in foreign currency and VAT is not charged, but you should finalize with the shop any mailing or shippng costs and insurance coverage.