WHAT TO BRING FROM ISRAEL AS A SOUVENIR OR GIFT?
For those who are traveling to Israel for the first time, I advise you to read this article. In it, I tried to collect a fairly extensive list of what you can bring from Israel as a souvenir or a gift for yourself, family, and friends.
A LIST OF THE BEST SOUVENIRS FROM ISRAEL
1. Cosmetics from the Dead Sea.
2. Products from Eilat stone.
3. Food and drink (coffee with cardamom, dates, date honey, olives, olive oil, Israeli wine, hummus, tahini).
4. Religious attributes (icons and candles).
5. Charms and amulets (hamsa, Star of David, red thread on the wrist).
Further, I will try to tell about all this in as much detail as possible and give advice to tourists on what to look for when buying.
1. DEAD SEA COSMETICS
If you are choosing a gift in Israel for a woman, then be sure to pay attention to the Dead Sea cosmetics. As a rule, women are delighted with such a gift. After all, the cosmetics produced in the Holy Land are based on unique minerals and salts extracted in the waters of the Dead Sea.
Israeli cosmetic products are renowned worldwide for their anti-aging and healing properties.
The selection of cosmetic products offered by specialized stores is very wide and can satisfy the needs of any buyer.
Judge by yourself: mud and salt, soaps, creams, serums, balms, scrubs and peels, masks, shampoos, and conditioners, as well as all kinds of cosmetic sets. Prices from 5 to several hundred shekels. For 5 shekels, for example, you can buy a small bag of salt or a tube of hand or foot cream for a promotion.
The most popular makeup brands in the makeup range are Sea of SPA, Sea of Life, Ahava, and Premier.
Products of such manufacturers as Dr.Sea, Holy Land, Mon Platin, Christina, GiGi - refers to medical cosmetics, with a high content of deep penetrating minerals. The products of these brands are very successfully used in the treatment of skin problems such as psoriasis, eczema, and acne.
Travel Tips: Pay attention to the promotions in the store, they are often very attractive. Among the most common promotions, you can buy one tube of cream for 15 NIS, and 2 for 25 NIS.
Do not buy cosmetics at the first store you come across. Remember that in busy tourist centers, prices tend to be much higher.
To protect yourself from counterfeiting, purchase products either in specialized stores from manufacturers, or in pharmacies in the country.
2. PRODUCTS FROM EILAT STONE
Be sure to pay attention to the products made of semi-precious Eilat stone, which is a fantastic natural mixture of malachite, azurite, and turquoise.
Separately from each other, these semi-precious stones are found in nature quite often, but their natural compound is mined only in one single place on Earth - in the south of Israel, not far from Eilat. It just so happened that it was in this place that factors such as tectonic activity, magma movement, and high temperature led to the fusion of these minerals.
Depending on which mineral is predominant, the Eilat stone can be either blue-green or green-blue. That is why each Eilat stone is unique. The stone looks great in both gold and silver frames.
Considering that the reserves of stone at the deposit are gradually depleting and currently there is practically no production, then over time, the cost of products made of Eilat stone will only grow.
Travel tips: If you are in Eilat, be sure to visit the Eilat stone factory, it is there that this unique natural mineral is processed. Currently, the cost of processed elastic stone at the factory is $ 2 per gram. And for the residents of Eilat, the factory provides a 50% discount on its products.
3. FOOD AND DRINKS SOUVENIRS
If you want to bring a present from this series, then pay attention to coffee with cardamon, dates, date honey, Israeli wine, olives, olive oil, hummus, and tahini sesame paste (tahini).
1. In In the East, for a long time, in the preparation of natural coffee, it is customary to use all kinds of spices, one of which is cardamom. In addition to its pleasant taste and aroma, cardamom can have a beneficial effect on the human body, being at the same time a powerful aphrodisiac.
If you want to surprise your loved one, then coffee with cardamom is the perfect recipe for a romantic date.
As a rule, the packaging of such coffee is marked by the manufacturer with either a green leaf or a green stripe, symbolizing a cardamom leaf.
Cost from 10 shekels per 100 gr. packaging.
2. Dates that are grown excellent will be a perfect gift to bring from Israel, and lovers of natural sweets will appreciate such a present.
Dates can be safely called the national culture of modern Israel, a symbol of its revival. Nine varieties of dates are currently grown commercially in Israel. The most revered of which are: the royal "Medjool" (Medjoul) and "Deglet Nur" (Deglet Nour).
Variety "Medzhul" refers to premium dates and this is the only variety that, due to its high quality, is harvested by the piece. When collecting the other varieties of dates, the bunch is completely removed from the tree.
It is customary to bring dates as a gift to yourself and your loved ones not only because of their excellent taste but also because of the beneficial properties that they can have on the human body. According to studies by Israeli scientists, the consumption of dates lowers blood cholesterol levels, as well as the risk of heart and vascular diseases.
Modern scientists generally believe that a person can live by eating only dates and water since dates contain all the necessary elements to maintain health and mental activity. No wonder in the Middle East dates is called "the bread of the desert."
The cost of dates is 10-15 shekels 500 gr. packaging.
3. DATE HONEY is another product that you should pay attention to while in the Promised Land. It is a concentrated date syrup (silane) that resembles honey inconsistency and has all of the above beneficial properties as dates.
Very tasty and healthy. Lovers of a healthy lifestyle have long appreciated date honey as a good alternative to various sweeteners, and especially sugar.
Date honey costs from 10 shekels per 300 gr. jar.
Tips for tourists: Date honey is made by squeezing juice from freshly picked fruits and should not contain any other additives. This is what you need to make sure of by carefully studying the information on the manufacturer's packaging. The fact is that in Israel, in addition to natural silane (without added sugar), you can also find syrup with added sugar and other fillers on sale.
4. WINE produced in Israel is a great gift to bring from Israel, has a rather pleasant tart taste. Considering that Israeli wines are almost impossible to find on the shelves of Russian and American stores, it turns out that a very good option for a presentation.
Wine in Israel is made not only from grapes but also from pomegranates, currants, and other fruits.
Israeli pomegranate wine is considered the world's first wine made entirely from pomegranate. Pomegranate wine is called Rimon in Israel. The assortment of pomegranate wines is very extensive: sparkling, dry, semi-sweet, semi-sweet rose, dessert, and several types of "ports". Cost from 70 shekels per bottle.
Israeli current wine is also a must-try. Cost from 65 shekels per bottle.
The most popular among tourists is the red sweet and semi-sweet wine of King David (King David's wine), with a traditional star on the label - the symbol of Israel. Cost from 50 shekels per bottle.
Tips for tourists: it is advisable to buy wine at the place of its production (winery) and not even because the price, in this case, may be lower, but because in this case, it will be possible to taste and choose the one that suits the taste.
5. OLIVES grown in Israel are not inferior in their taste to the famous Greek and Spanish ones, thanks to the country's favorable Mediterranean climate. You can buy olives both in the store and by weight in the market. If you choose the second option, be sure to think in advance about how to pack them for transportation.
6. OLIVE OIL, Mainly olive varieties of olives (90%) are grown in Israel, which serve as excellent raw materials for the manufacture of high-quality olive oil.
Olive oil brought from Israel will be a good present for connoisseurs of a healthy lifestyle. Most nutritionists nowadays agree that olive oil, with many indications for use, has no contraindications.
Olive oil has been produced in Israel since ancient times. Olives over 2000 years old are not uncommon in the country.
The olives are harvested between November and January. Hand-picking is especially appreciated. The harvest ends with the holding of mass festivals and other festive events, during which tourists are allowed to observe the process of harvesting and production, followed by a tasting.
Currently, more than 100 oil mills are operating in the country, producing about 7 tons of olive oil per year. The most famous brands of olive oil in Israel: Carmel, Rimal Haluta, 778, Yad Mordechai, Etz ha Zayt, Zeta.
Travel Tips: When choosing an oil, be sure to carefully study the manufacturer's information on the product indicated on the label. Good oil has low acidity (no more than 1%), there is always an inscription Extra Virgin (first cold pressing), and the bottle is made of high-quality dark glass. At the same time, the cost of high-quality oil cannot be lower than 25 shekels per half-liter bottle.
7. HUMUS - an appetizer made from chickpea puree with the addition of spices and herbs. It is no exaggeration to say that hummus is a product to which both Jews and Arabs are equally not indifferent.
The benefits of hummus can be judged by the composition of its ingredients. Chickpeas (chickpeas), sesame seeds (tahini), olive oil, garlic, and lemon are a whole storehouse of vitamins and minerals.
In recent years, hummus has become more and more popular in Europe and the United States, especially among vegetarians. Unfortunately, few people in Russia know about hummus, but in vain, because this product rich in vegetable proteins is simply ideal for consumption during fasting.
Cost from 10 shekels for 500 gr. packaging.
Travel Tips: If you decide to bring hummus as a presentation from Israel, then do not forget that it is a perishable product. Therefore, it makes sense to buy it just before leaving the country. Pay attention to the expiration date on the package, as a rule, it does not exceed 1 month.
8. TAHINI is one of the spices to buy in Israel, as it is most often called in Israel, is a thick, fatty paste made from ground young sesame seeds. It is also called sesame or sesame paste.
It is she who gives many dishes a unique and refined taste. Without it, it is impossible to cook hummus and falafel so beloved by Israelis, also, it serves as the basis for the preparation of various gravies, sauces, and sweets.
In terms of the popularity of the use of tahini (tahini) in Israeli cuisine, it can perhaps be compared only with the use of sour cream and mayonnaise in Russian cuisine. At the same time, tahini (tahini) is an unusually healthy product.
Cost from 10 shekels for 500 gr. packaging.
Tips for tourists: if you like hummus, be sure to bring sesame paste (tahini) from Israel, and then you can cook hummus yourself at home. After all, all other ingredients (chickpeas, olive oil, garlic, lemon) can be easily purchased in Russian stores. See the hummus recipe here. Moreover, sesame paste, in contrast to ready-made hummus, has a rather long shelf life.
As for the religious aspect of what to buy in Israel,
1. ICONS. Orthodox believers most often bring from Israel icons of the Holy Family, the Jerusalem Mother of God, the Bethlehem Mother of God, Nicholas the Wonderworker, and Christ the Savior. It is believed that the icons brought from the Holy Land have miraculous powers.
The cost of an icon depends on its size and the material from which it is made (engraving, canvas, wood, stone). Prices start at 10 shekels.
Icon of the "Holy Family". In the first place in the list of icons that are brought from Israel is the icon of the Holy Family, which has no analogs in Russia, it can be bought only in Israel. It is believed that this icon is the patron saint of family and marriage and must be in the home of every believer. Without this icon, it is simply impossible to leave Israel, any Israeli guide will tell you about this.
The icon depicts the Virgin Mary and St. Joseph holding little Jesus. Looking at the icon, it is impossible not to be touched by the idyll of this family, through which a subtle sadness seeps through on the faces of the Virgin and Joseph.
It is customary to give the icon to newlyweds - for a happy marriage; on a wedding anniversary - to strengthen the marriage union; for the birth of a child - to ward off all misfortunes from the family.
So why is it impossible to find the “Holy Family” icon in Russia? The fact is that this icon is not canonized by the church and is considered one of the most controversial shrines in Christianity. Iconography, like any other artistic genre, has its own strictly defined rules and principles, and very conservative ones. One of which is the way the Saints are depicted.
On the “Holy Family” icon, you can see how Joseph gently hugs the Mother of God with one hand and holds her hand with the other. The image of such details is regarded by the church as the presence of a marital relationship between them, which is unacceptable and contrary to Holy Scripture. The church also has claims to the age of Joseph depicted in the icon. Indeed, according to the Gospel, at the time of his betrothal to the Virgin Mary, he was already 80 years old.
For these reasons, the Christian Church considers the "Holy Family" to be nothing more than a painting on a Biblical subject, painted by Raphael himself.
The icon of the Jerusalem Mother of God is essentially a lifetime image of the Virgin Mary. The authorship is attributed to the holy apostle and evangelist Luke. According to legend, the icon was blessed by the Mother of God herself and all who pray in front of her, "Grace will abide."
The icon of the Bethlehem Mother of God is one of the most revered shrines of Christianity. Historians conclude that it was written in Russia, but it is not known for certain by whom and when.
At the end of the 19th century, the icon, in honor of the miraculous healing of the Grand Duchess Elizabeth Feodorovna Romanova, was presented on behalf of the royal family to the Church of the Nativity of Christ in Bethlehem, where it is located to this day.
It is noteworthy that the setting of the miraculous icon is made of a brocade dress of Princess Elizabeth Feodorovna (Saint Martyr Elizabeth), studded with diamonds and other precious stones.
The icon of the Mother of God of Bethlehem is the only image of the Mother of God on which she smiles. The second name of the icon is "In joy". It is believed that the smile of the Most Holy Theotokos promises those who pray before her hope for help, intercession, and healing from ailments.
Travel Tips: Try to buy icons in Jerusalem, Nazareth, or Bethlehem, in this case, the likelihood that they are much more consecrated.
2. JERUSALEM CANDLES - representing a torch of 33 candles, according to the number of earthly years of Jesus Christ, will be an invaluable gift to a believer.
The cost of a bunch of candles depends on what material they are made of. The most inexpensive is paraffin candles - the price starts from 10 shekels. More expensive and high-quality candles are made of beeswax, exuding a characteristic honey smell - the price is from 20 shekels.
Advice to tourists: if you are in Jerusalem in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, then be sure to burn the candles with the Holy Fire. Indeed, in the Kuvuklia of the Temple, the Holy Fire received on Great Saturday is maintained for a whole year and is extinguished only on the eve of the next Great Saturday.
CHARMS AND AMULETS
1. HAMSA - one of the most popular gifts in Israel, is a protective palm-shaped amulet revered in both Judaism and Islam. Hamsa is an open palm, in the center of which other symbols are often placed to protect against the evil eye - the image of fish, eyes, or the Star of David.
The amulet is so ancient that it existed even before the emergence of these two religions. Another name for hamsa is the hand of God. An ancient belief claims that hamsa will save a person from damage, evil eye, and other harm that they intend to inflict on him.
In Judaism, the hamsa is called the Hand of Five (Yad ha-Hamesh) or the Hand of Miriam, after the name of Moses' sister, and is associated with the five books of the Torah.
In Islam, the hamsa is called the hand of Fatima, after the daughter of the Prophet Muhammad, and is considered a symbol of great patience.
In Israel, hamsa can be found in the form of amulets for the house, for a car, in the form of key chains, bracelets, or pendants. It is believed that blue or blue color is also a powerful talisman, therefore you can often find hamsa of this color. On the reverse side of the hamsa, you can often read prayers and blessings taken from Judaism - the blessing of the home, the prayer of travelers.
The cost of the hamsa depends on the purpose, size, and material from which it is made. A simple keychain, for example, can be bought for 10 shekels.
2. STAR OF DAVID - another popular gift from Israel, is an ancient symbol in the form of a six-pointed star (hexagram), in which two identical equilateral triangles are superimposed on each other, one with the top up and the other with the top down.
The hexagram in the form of the Star of David is a symbol that appeared long before Judaism. There are many interpretations of this symbol, one of which is the combination of two opposites and harmony between them.
The hexagonal star symbolizes harmony between the spiritual and material worlds, as well as the combination of the two principles of male and female.
In Hebrew, the name of this symbol sounds - Magen David, which translates as the Shield of David. In ancient times, the symbol was on the shields of soldiers who served King David. Currently, it is his image that can be seen on the national flag of Israel.
In Israel, the Star of David can be bought in the form of wall pendants, key chains, bracelets, and pendants. The price depends on the purpose of use, size, and material from which it is made. The cost of a keychain is 10 shekels.
It is believed that the Star of David helps its owner to comprehend the secrets of the past, present, and future. The amulet is advised to be worn by those who wish to develop their psychic abilities.
3. RED THREAD ON WRIST - According to the ancient Jewish esoteric teaching of Kabbalah, a red woolen thread tied around the wrist is a powerful talisman that can protect a person from adverse external influences such as evil eye, damage, envy, and slander, as well as attract success and good luck to him.
It is necessary to wear the thread on the left hand since according to Kabbalah, it is the left hand that is the gateway for the penetration of negative energy into the human body and aura.
The red thread must first go through a special rite of consecration at the grave of the foremother of the peoples of Rachel.
The thread is tied into 7 knots, by a loved one, sincerely wishing well to the one to whom this very thread ties. Most often, this person is the mother. When tying the thread, it is necessary to read the special prayer of Ben Porat.
When the thread breaks, it is believed that the amulet has accumulated enough negative energy in itself, after which it must be burned. At the same time, you must mentally thank him for taking the blow that was meant for you.
The cost of a red thread in Israel is 2 shekels.
Tips for tourists: a thread cannot be accepted as a gift, it must be bought by paying at least a symbolic amount. The text of the Ben Porat prayer and instructions that information about the rules for wearing the amulet should be attached to the red thread.
When planning to buy gifts in Israel, do not forget about the opening hours of stores on Shabbat. Israeli shops are closed on Friday after 3 pm and on Saturday.
Try to make purchases within the country, do not expect that it will be cheaper in Duty-Free, as a rule, everything is much more expensive there.
If the purchase amount is at least $ 100 (one document at a time), then the paid VAT (17%) can be refunded at the airport before departure. The main thing is not to forget to tell the seller the coveted word "tax-free".
Remember that you cannot export from Israel: weapons, drugs, pornography, local currency worth more than 1,000 shekels, medicines without a doctor's prescription, and antiques without appropriate certificates, nevertheless you can buy all Israeli souvenirs online.