Etiquette lesson: Israel
By Peter Petzal for CNN.com
Negotiating parameters might be wildly different in Israel to those business travelers are used to.
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(CNN) -- Negotiating in Israel or with Israelis can be an intense and frustrating process for visitors to the country.
The historical Jerusalem market, famous for its haggling and bargain hunters, has survived the centuries and many visitors still think it to be the birthplace for Israel (and Arab) negotiating skills.
Negotiating parameters might be wildly different to those of the visiting business traveler, agendas might not always be clear, and patience -- or lack of it -- might well follow.
Despite this, Israelis have been outstandingly successful and highly creative and today feature as some of the most successful business people in industries as diverse as weaponry, agriculture, wine making and technology.
Getting to the heart of Israel is key; understanding the personal dimensions of business is the first step forward.
Israelis born in the country are known as "Sabras" derived from the name of a fruit-bearing cactus found in the desert; thorns and spikes are found on the outside but once open, full of soft sweet fruit. The analogy feels right.
Israel has had to trade -- and sometimes to fight -- for its survival, meaning that cultural adaptability has been a significant prevailing factor.
Surrounded by Arab neighbors on three sides and the Mediterranean to the West, it is a country made up almost entirely of immigrants, and the strong cultural mix is often difficult for non-Israelis to comprehend.
While researching the destination before you arrive is a good idea, nothing can substitute spending a day or two in Israel before you start work to observe the culture in action.
Here are just a few of the cultural dilemmas that business people might face when visiting Israel:
To the point
The above are just a few of the dilemmas that people coming to work or do business with the Israelis have to reconcile; there are many others. For more information about these click here.
Peter Petzal works for London-based international training, workshops and consultancy 2C International
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