Getting your Israeli Driver’s License, Driving Lessons & The Test – Survey

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Last Updated on September 29, 2021

Survey Results – Driving Lessons, Getting an Israeli Driver’s License

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For the sake of other new immigrants, or those contemplating Aliyah, we wanted to know more about the process of  getting a driver’s license in Israel.  We asked the community to answer 7 short questions relating to this aspect of Aliyah and relocation.

Respondents were invited to leave their comments at the end of the survey.  Many respondents suggested that the system of obtaining a driver’s license, in Israel, is corrupt, disorganized and in serious need of revision.  We will investigate these issues further in our next survey

Thanks to all of the 478 respondents.

1.  I made Aliyah or relocated from:-

The USA / Canada 68%
The UK18%
Europe4%
Southern Africa7%
Australia / New Zealand3%

There were no respondents from Central or South America, the Former USSR, Asia or Israeli born members.

2.  Please choose one:-

I have a driver’s license from a country abroad and still need to convert it to an Israeli license20%
I have already converted my license and have an Israeli license75%
I am currently driving on an international driver’s license2%
I learned to drive in Israel and have an Israeli driver’s license3%

None of the respondents indicated that they were currently learning to drive for the first time, choose not to drive in Israel, or cannot drive for health or other reasons.

3.  How many lessons did you take in order to get your license?

28 as required by the law for first time drivers of private motor vehicles2.13%
More than 28 lessons3.19%
1 – 5 lessons in order to convert my license60.64%
6 – 10 lessons in order to convert my license3.19%
11 – 15 lessons in order to convert my license5.32%
16 – 20 lessons in order to convert my license2.13%
More than 20 lessons in order to convert my license0 %
Not applicable.  I converted my license many years ago before lessons where required23.4%

4.  How many times have you taken your driving test in Israel?

Once 59.78%
 Twice 7.61%
 Three times 8.7%
 Four times 1.09%
 Five times 1.09%
 More than five times 1.09%
 It was years ago and I did not need to take a test in order to convert my license 5.43%
 Not applicable 15.22%

Some that answered “Not applicable” commented that they had learned to drive abroad

5. How much did you spend on driving lessons in Israel?

Less than 1,000 shekels53.85%
1,001 – 2,000 shekels15.38%
2,001 – 3,000 shekels5.49%
3,001 – 4,500 shekels0%
4,500 – 6,000 shekels2.2%
More than 6,000 shekels0%
Not applicable23.08%

Some that answered “Not applicable” commented that they could no longer remember or that they had not taken any driving lessons in Israel as there was no need at the time.

6. How much have you spent on taking the driving test in Israel?

Respondents were allowed to fill in the amount and comment at the same time.  The answers ranged from 300 to 3,000 shekels.  The majority of answers were in the 1,000 shekel range.  These were some of the responses:-

  • Just the basic fee plus the price to get the license through the post office. A few hundred shekels in total.
  • We were charged 300 NIS each to take the test; the instructor claimed the rate cap of 265 applies only to new licenses not transferring; We suspect she may have paid off the tester. We all passed on the first test.
  • Taking the actual test – 69₪ for the test and 400₪ for use of the instructor’s car. (Took the test in June 2013.)
  • Too much! Highway robbery for 15 minutes of a power-mad guy’s time
  • The cost of the use of (the instructor’s) car+ test x3

7. What improvements can be made to the system of obtaining a driver’s license in Israel?

  • It makes more sense for seasoned drivers to take a defensive driving course, including a few lessons, plus a theory test in their native language, to make sure they understand the laws of the road in Israel compared to where they come from. Having them take a test is silly.
  • Stream line the process and agencies. All exams should be done through Misrad Ha’rishui. you shouldn’t need an appointment just go to the testing site. You should be able to bring your own car, especially if you are licensees from another country. New drivers should have graduated licensing and be able to drive with experienced drivers for practice in addition to mandated driving time with instructors
  • I have no idea…I have heard so many stories about fees, that there is ageism or not. For me, it seems like a mafia run scheme and I have plan to be apart of it. In the States, there are lists of what is needed, set fees, etc…why doesn’t Israel have that?
  • Enable additional offices and additional days of service for converting licenses
  • More streamlined. more regulated by the government, its a very shady business
  • Lower the cost of the lessons and therefore let me take more lessons.
  • The driving instructors and rule about having to take the test in the instructor’s car- this is a racket. They charge whatever they want, using all kinds of scare tactics to get more money out of olim. I understand (maybe) for a new license their excuse that it’s for the tester’s protection, but for an experienced driver it’s a mafia and it is ridiculous. In fact a person should take the test in their own car since that is the car they have to drive on the road.
  • Exchange US license for Israeli license without lessons or tests
  • It should go back to the old way of not having to take lessons if you already have had a license — especially for those who have been driving for many years without incident.
  • The whole system needs to be scrapped. I have been driving safely (never an accident) for 43 years. Why do I have to take lessons and a test? If I had moved to France, I can exchange my license by simply filling out a form and paying the license fee.
  • The test should be longer – I was driving for 3 minutes, which was a joke. Also, there should not have been 3 other learner drivers in the car
  • Instructions how to convert the license in languages other than Hebrew. More available test dates. It was very difficult to get a date for the test and to find a driving instructor that wasn’t trying to rip you off.
  • Allow an automatic conversion within the first year. It is VERY expensive to get a drivers license. I was given no rules of the road book. In fact, my driving instructor whom I met through a NBN fair spent more time on the phone than teaching us how to drive in Israel. And when we complained to her about it , her response was “It was her business and she needed to take care of it”.
  • The English translated theory test was appalling because many questions did not make sense. I missed the three year time slot to change my license and had to pay for lessons where I felt I knew more than the driving instructor. Maybe just have one or two lessons to verify you can drive and NOT the amount a new drivers has to do. Ridiculous! Daylight robbery!
  • Drop the minimum driving lessons and allow the teaches to decide when the individual is ready to take a test based on their skills and abilities – not how much money/lessons they invested
  • Take a few lessons and make sure you ask the teacher to tell you why students often fail. Ask him/her to have you work on those things specifically. My instructor recommended that I not wear sunglasses so that the tester could see where I was looking. He also suggested that I signal for everything (and I think that was a golden suggestion!).
  • I think its a good system, I don’t think it needs improving. The minimum lessons you can have are 2 – a lesson for the instructor to assess you and the lesson before the test. I think its not so bad for a new license in a new country.
  • I quite frankly don’t understand why people in this country even bother getting drivers’ licenses since every driver thinks he is an island to himself and follows his own rules. The consequence is the descent of the roads in to a Hobbesian anarchy of sorts where nothing is wrong so long as you arrive at your destination. Nobody follows any rules. Nobody signals when changing lines or turning or pulling over. Motorcycles and their kin run a mock needlessly endangering themselves and everybody else. People beep and scream incessantly in spite of a supposed law against using one’s horn. Israelis, in short, drive like barbarians. So, my recommendation for improvement? Teach the natives how to drive properly, then worry about us.
  • Currently anyone licensed can drive in Israel as a visitor. After one makes Aliya, having driven for a year or many years in Israel, their license privilege is needlessly revoked. They are forced to take lessons and a test. It is only a money-grubbing scam. Sadly many people like me were ripped off many times over and gave up. If you are unlucky, certain male examiners tend to fail older women and cautious drivers. They are also influenced by prior examiners remarks. Usually, No one will help you when you voice your complaint to the ministry. Some people get lucky. We know of a car dealer, needing to make a car sale, who pulls strings and the driver passes. Most often those who pass the test say their examiner was a woman.
  • I was first time lucky. My wife not. She has failed her 3rd examination. She had driven for 25 years in South Africa with one minor bumper bashing to her name. She has driven to holiday destinations of 600 km, And shared the driving when we drove through the night. She could easily and she did drive a 1000 km when we did long trips. She was also the one who would drive the kids to school and extra murals. But then we get to Israel and she gets totally humiliated by the examiners. I actually am seething like I did when they failed. I tried hard to report this but it just fell on deaf ears. And she is not the only one who had been humiliated…
  • A website that explains Israel road signs in English
  • It seems like the problem is not only for olim – it is an expensive and frustrating process for all Israelis.

Israel’s Disabled Drivers

Vivienne sent us an email and shared her experience:-

“Thanks for the good work. I had no problem with my driving license. I took the requisite 1 lesson, then the test. No problems.

My husband, who is Israeli-born and disabled  had more issues. First Misrad Harishui claimed that his t.z. (teudat zehut) number, which he has had since age 16, was not his. It took a few months to straighten that. Then the international handicapped symbol (the white stick man on a blue background, such as on all handicapped parking parking spaces) is NOT recognized in Israel. One needs the little credit card sign that looks like a nuclear symbol. In spite of having brought a thick dossier from Canada, he was obliged to be re-evaluated, at our expense, by a doctor of their choice. The fellow was rude and unhelpful. All-in-all, it took my husband 9 months – and several parking tickets which were eventually waived – until the paper-work was in order.

It might be prudent to forewarn new Olim.

Such is bureaucracy in Israel. I could write a book about the experience.”

Survey Summary

Two thirds of respondents took less than 5 lessons to convert their license and spend less than 1,000 shekels doing so.  Almost two thirds passed their driving test, first time around.

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