October 17th 2012
No trip to Israel is complete without shopping for gifts to bring home to family and friends. Hotel gift shops are on the more expensive side, so we recommend that you visit Israeli stores for your souvenirs. Ben Yehuda Street in Jerusalem is full of souvenir shops. Here you can buy Judaica such as menorahs, kippahs, challah covers and more. Jerusalem’s pedestrian mall is home to a number of t-shirt shops as well. International designer brand names printed on a shirt in Hebrew make for a fun present. To buy clothes and jewelry not manufactured with the tourist in mind, walk up the block to the shuk. Mahane Yehuda isn’t only a food market – inexpensive clothing, trinkets and household wares are sold on every corner. For Middle Eastern crafts, such as leather goods, carved wooden camels, backgammon sets, water pipes and Arab-style clothing, visit the Old City shuk. Walk from Jaffa Gate through the Arab shuk, eventually reaching the Western Wall. These shops offer authentic creations, and prices are negotiable.
Tel Aviv is famous for its shopping opportunities. Allenby Street is the place to go for inexpensive clothing, furniture and books. Sheinkin Street is home to designer stores selling clothing, jewelry, shoes and handbags by Israel’s top designers. If you prefer to shop in an American-style mall, the Azrieli Mall in southern Tel Aviv is a great choice. To purchase art created by Israelis, visit the galleries on Rothschild Blvd., Gordon St. and near the Tel Aviv beach. The flea market in Jaffa offers merchandise such as knickknacks made from copper or brass, old Persian tiles, scarves and jewelry. Every imaginable item can be found here, some new and some used. Haggling is a requirement at this shuk. Other Israeli locales are known for their specialty merchandise.
The Dead Sea region is a great place to shop for cosmetics and skin-care products. The Ahava Visitors Center offers a unique opportunity to learn about the manufacturing process before you buy. Wineries are located all over central and northern Israel – consider bringing home award-winning locally produced wine. National parks gift shops, located around the country, offer hats, t-shirts, books about Israel and other souvenirs. Ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods (wear modest clothing) are a good source for Judaica. Prayer books, Jewish art and gifts for children are available in shopping centers in Jerusalem’s Geula and in Bnei Brak. As you tour, keep your eyes open for bargains, and remember to haggle in the shuk. When purchasing fragile items, request that they be well-wrapped. Gift wrapping is free in Israel, so have all your gifts wrapped and ready to be presented as soon as you get home.