Tips at a Kibbutz

Q: We will be staying at a kibbutz that has tourist accommodation. It is included as part of our tour. Should we tip, and how much?

Israeli currency shekels

A: Great question. The subject of tips is actually a bit of a confusing one generally in Israel. With regards to tips at a kibbutz in Israel, just try follow the general guidelines on tipping in Israel:

  • Waiters generally get a 10% tip minimum (you can tip more if you want) so if the kibbutz has a restaurant, tip the waiter accordingly. The only exception to this is if a service charge is already included (rarely happens), but to be on the safe side just ask if this is the case (beware, occasionally you may run in to someone trying to take advantage of you being an ignorant tourist who doesn't know better). Also you may want to ask the waiter if they prefer the tip in cash or if it's okay to put it on your credit card, just to make sure the tip actually does go to the waiter in the end and not to the restaurant or the kibbutz itself.

  • Bartenders are also tipped, although I'm not aware of a particular percentage. So if you go to a bar at the kibbutz, give the bartender a few shekels!

  • Taxi drivers aren't usually tipped.

  • Other minor services could be tipped. For example, if the kibbutz accommodation includes someone who helps take your bags to your room (like a porter), you may want to consider tipping him.

The idea behind tipping here in Israel is similar to the rest of the world - to pay someone who provides a personal service a little extra to say thanks.

And just in case there's confusion about this - don't worry about it being a kibbutz, meaning a collective settlement. Yes, it's a socialist system, the ownership is shared. But that doesn't mean you can't reward someone personally, meaning tip someone, especially if they do a good job. In any case, even a kibbutz, and each of its members, lives in a larger, modern-day, competitive economy where you need good ole shekels to buy goods. Of course, if anyone on a kibbutz flat out refuses to accept a tip, well, what can you do, at least you tried.

Note that as with many countries, in Israel waiters and bartenders are usually students who aren't paid so much. Israelis are aware of this and are quite willing to help them out with a tip. You should be too!

So if you're feeling generous - especially if you're happy with the service you received - then go ahead and make their day with a nice tip! You'll feel good about it too. ;-)

Hope that helps!

- Editor

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