The Big Felafel

A Guide to Birth in Jerusalem: The deals, The clothes, The bureaucracy

Baby Pasta for diaper rash! Welcome to Israel where new flavors of pasta are invented every day!

I was always so terrified to give birth. But had someone told me about all the free crap you get, I might not have been so scared. I’m just saying that there is light at the end of the tunnel (which tunnel…), and freebies are an awesome way to make the pain feel a little less painful in the days after birth.

The Big Felafel ladies gave birth just two weeks apart and through our experiences we would now like to share our knowledge of free stuff, cheap baby stores and paperwork with you. Save this list and save your time and money.

1. Money from the great State of Israel

When you give birth in any hospital in the state of Israel you are supposed to register your child and receive an Identification Number (Teduat Zehuot) as well as a little monetary gift of about NIS 1600 (if you have twins it is way more so keep that in mind), known as a birth grant. You should also receive a small monthly supplement thereafter, so make sure to fill out the paper work and give them your bank info.

2. Treats in the Hospital

As well as the free oh-so delicious meals you will have during your recuperation period in the hospital, you will also find that there are random women distributing gifts for your newborn. While in the hospital you may receive diapers, fresh wipes, breast pads and even a pacifier. Just realize that these gifts may come to haunt you as they will most likely get your home address and start sending you all kinds of stuff. I receive some kind of coupon or baby magazine every week (a nice change from the bills, but annoying just the same).

3. Betuach Leumi, National Health Insurance Pays Too!

That’s right, if you are a working expecting mother then make sure to collect your $200 after passing go. That is to say, that after you give birth you are entitled to 14-weeks paid maternity leave. My advice is to make sure you collect the past 10-months of pay-statements before leaving your job because you may need them when filling out paper work. The paper work will either be sent to you by your employer or you can get it at Betuach Leumi. It is pretty simple to fill out and your employer will also need to file. You can submit your paperwork at any time but it takes about a month for the money to be posted to your account so keep that in mind. The payment is supposed to be based on an average of the last three months you worked, so make sure to do your overtime if you can. Also, another tip here is to go to Betuach Leumi during afternoon hours when they are empty and more friendly since they are about to go home. One woman even let me breastfeed in their private kitchenette. I even started a trend when another nursing lady followed me in to the room. For more info from Betuach Leumi, check out their website.

4. Misrad Hapnim, Ministry of Interior, Make it Official

As I stated above, when you are in the hospital you should get an ID number for your child which will help when you need to get their passport. If you don’t fill out the paperwork there, don’t worry, you can always go to the Ministry of Interior to do the paperwork. If you go, again I recommend going during afternoon hours when it is less crowded. You will need to bring your baby’s paperwork from the hospital and the correct size passport photos (you can get them done anywhere) as well as the baby to prove that it is the same kid in the pictures. My advice here is to register the child’s birth and get their Israeli Passport at the same time, why go back twice? For more info.

5. SuperPharm cares

It was all worth it – the contractions, the pushing, and the no-sleeping! Your reward, besides your beautiful little one, is a sweet gift from SuperPharm. The only requirement is that you gave birth at Hadassah Ein Karem in Jerusalem, and you have 3 months from the birth to claim the gift. You need to bring the baby’s birth certificate or the pre-birth certificate document from the hospital.

We’re announcing it here on The Big Felafel so everyone will know about this well-kept secret.

For 10 shekels, you can get a package that includes:

  • Huggies diapers – size 2
  • snacks – granola bar and fitness cereal
  • Similac Advanced
  • activity book for you baby to look at
  • Johnson&Johnson shampoo
  • bottle
  • bottle of water
  • nursing pads

6. Clothing Your Tiny Baby

I’m sure you will get a lot of adorable clothes as presents for the celebration of your child, but your kid is bound to poop through most of them and leave you wandering the streets for just one more onesie. Or, they may just grow right out of them and you will continually need to buy the next size up. In any case there are plenty of cheap stores where you can find the right size at a decent price.

Bazaar Strauss, with branches at Yad Harutzim 22, Beit Hadfus in Givat Shaul, and Pisgat Ze’ev, has a wide selection of cheap outfits from winter gear to summer swimsuits, as well as a variety of baby stuff like bottles to cribs. Located on street level this is an easy place to shop and spend a little money that goes a long way. For me this store is as close as I feel I can get to Target, so I try to enjoy my time as well as my purchases.

Here are some of our favorite deals:

6 shekel onesies
3 for 50 Pampers diapers
40 shekel snowsuits
10 shekel tablecloths and pillowcases
5 shekel hand sanitizers

In the adjacent area to the Bazaar Strauss in Talpiot, you will also find Doctor Baby and Shilav, both located in Ahim Israel mall. Of course the prices won’t compare to Strauss but it is always good to know they are there (Baby Michelle is also near by, across from the Hadar Mall on Pierre Koening).

Another great find is Kish Kush, a new store located in Lev Talpiot mall near the Rav Chen Movie Theater in the heart of Talpiot. This store has only been open for four months, but with their dirt cheap prices for American brand clothing (Carter’s etc.) they’ll probably be around for a while. From preemie baby clothes, the prices start at NIS 15! So let that baby ruin an outfit or two because it barely cost you anything! Located in the same mini-mall on the floor above is Motzetzim which also has fairly priced clothes and toys and is a huge store. And there is always Rami Levy conveniently located in the same mini-mall, which is one of the cheapest supermarkets in the country and naturally sells a small selection of baby clothes.

Got another great tip? Share it with us in the comments section!


Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Hadassah Baby Hotel = heaven | the big felafel pingbacked on 12 years, 5 months ago


  1. * Rachel B. says:

    Good advice and mazel tov on the births! I gave birth last Pesach at Shaarei Tzedek in Jerusalem. There were no free gifts there (as well as no soap, shampoo, or kleenex – byo!) And I also got the free gift at SuperPharm, so giving birth at Hadassah is not a requirement. The activity book is really sweet.

    | Reply Posted 12 years, 5 months ago
  2. * Molly says:

    thanks for the update rachel!

    | Reply Posted 12 years, 5 months ago
  3. * Chaya says:

    Such a helpful article. Thank you so much for sharing.

    | Reply Posted 12 years, 5 months ago
  4. * Chava says:

    I don’t know if they still have this, but I gave birth at Bikur Cholim in May and they gave every new mom a certificate for a free 1 day stay at the Beit Hachlama at Telz Stone or a 300 sheckel gift certificate at Bazaar Strauss. You can get a *lot* of stuff for 300nis there! I actually bought clothes for my toddler, since between hand-me-downs and baby gifts, I had everything I needed for the new one.

    | Reply Posted 12 years, 5 months ago
  5. * devonshire says:

    The bikur cholim certificate was for a limited time only. They don’t do that anymore. As well, bikur cholim is supposed to close within one month.

    Mazel Tov on your new baby! Just a comment on the super pharm baby package – I gave birth in SZ and got it too. And depending on when you give birth, that is what affects the free gifts. With just 2 days in hospital, you’re not always there when they give them out!

    | Reply Posted 12 years, 4 months ago
  6. * Shira says:

    AFAIK, the birth grant is only for the first child. For every child thereafter, they give you about 100 NIS. When I got the check, I laughed at them! (But I kept it anyway.)

    | Reply Posted 12 years, 4 months ago
  7. * Molly says:

    WHAT!! What if you have twins the second time around? That is wrong! NIS100, that buys you a sock at Shilav!

    | Reply Posted 12 years, 4 months ago
  8. * Chava says:

    Re: Misrad HaPnim – make sure to get a translation of the birth certificate if you want to get a U.S. Certificate of Birth Abroad and Passport. There should be a checkbox somewhere on the form that asks if you want a translation.

    | Reply Posted 12 years, 4 months ago
  9. Shira is right – we didn’t receive anything close to 1600 NIS for our last kid. It was more like 200 NIS if I remember correctly. Yeah, that got us far. But we certainly don’t have kids for the monetary awards 🙂

    | Reply Posted 12 years, 4 months ago
  10. * Jumblerant says:

    Kishkush was originally in Modiin and was exceptionally successful there. Its definitely worth popping in regularly to see what they have and buy for months, if not years, ahead. They buy in bulk and are therefore unlikely to have that exact thing in again.

    Their prices are crazy low and they are the only importers of carters that we have managed to find in Israel.

    Bazaar Strauss is nice, a real melting pot of who lives in the area, and their deals can be great too. Check out the labels on some of their goods, sometimes they have Chicco or even Target stuff for cheap without realizing their potential.

    Shilav is only good for their changing room and a place to put down baby!!

    | Reply Posted 12 years, 4 months ago
  11. * Rachel says:

    Thank you for the tips. To be more specific, in order to qualify for for a full paid maternity leave (14 weeks), the mother must have worked for 10 of the 14 months before the “birth date” or 15 of the 22 months before the “birth date.” The lesser known fact is that the “birth date” can be manipulated. Ie) you can push up the date and start your maternity leave up to 7 weeks before your prospective birth date so long as you get a letter from your gynocologist confirming that you are indeed pregnant and the prospective date. So, if you stop working more than four months before you give birth you can still recive full maternity leave payments. In addition, even if you did not work the nessecary months you can still qualify for a partial maternity leave of 7 weeks. In addition, pregnannt women/new mothers are entitled to 100 days of paid unemployment above and beyond the paid maternity leave.

    | Reply Posted 12 years, 4 months ago
  12. * Molly says:

    Ladies, thank you so much for the added info!! This knowledge will help so many mommies-to-be.

    | Reply Posted 12 years, 4 months ago
  13. * Sarah says:

    i am DEFINITELY giving birth at Hadassah E.K. next time. I hear that shaarei z. gives away free things too, but i got nada.

    | Reply Posted 12 years, 4 months ago
    • * Rebecca says:

      Sarah, love your blog – just gave you a shout out on Twitter (@thebigfelafel)

      | Reply Posted 12 years, 4 months ago
  14. * Nancy says:

    All that free stuff is just some huge cooperations way of making you their customer. Take the free box of Similac for instance, Similac knows that a breastfeeding mother with a box of formula in her house (which she wouldn’t have bought)is a lot more likely to grab the formula in a moment of difficulty than someone with no formula at home. She should grab the phone for help and support instead. I have never accepted a free gift in the hospital – there is no such thing as a free lunch.

    | Reply Posted 12 years, 3 months ago
  15. * Molly says:

    Hi Nancy,
    I have the box of free Similac sitting in my house and I have never once thought to open it when times were difficult. I love free stuff, but I make sure that it’s just stuff and not a corporation buying my soul. It’s marketing and I will take the free lunch any day.

    | Reply Posted 12 years, 3 months ago
  16. * marion says:

    The amount of the birth grant fluctuates. it is around 1500 NIS for the first child, 800 for the second, and just under 500 for each one after that.

    | Reply Posted 11 years, 6 months ago
  17. * Shira says:

    Here’s a real shocker: you can MAIL in the “sefach” of your(& your husband’s, if you like) teudat zehut and the temporary birth certificate with a request for a birth certificate to the Misrad Hapnim and they will MAIL it back. I have done it several times. No need to go there.

    Another thing: getting foreign citizenship, if necessary. Since I am American, I can comment on that. The US consulate is notorious for being a headache. And you must report the birth abroad and get a social security number within the first 2 years or your child might not be able to be American. Read the website very carefully and fill out all forms BEFORE you go. Copy all documents & bring the copies along (& the baby & your husband).

    Another thing: If this is your third child and up, after you get back your sefach of the teudat zehut with the baby’s name on it, or, alternatively, if you still have the oversized temporary birth certificate, you can email it to the Gichon, which is the Jerusalem Water Company. When over 4 people live in your apartment, you are entitled to more water. (Why pay more?)

    Another comment: I thought it is illegal for them to give you formula samples to take home from the hospital. I certainly never got any.

    | Reply Posted 11 years, 6 months ago
  18. * Miriam says:

    FYI, you can go to bituach leumi’s website to see what the maanak leida is – the money you get per birth. I was going to go with a homebirth for my twins (due soon) but could not turn up my nose at that money – besides having to pay out of pocket for a doctor etc.

    בעד הילד הראשון במשפחה 1,695 ש”ח (החל ב- 01.01.2012)
    בעד הילד השני במשפחה 763 ש”ח (החל ב- 01.01.2012)

    בעד הילד השלישי ובעד כל ילד נוסף באותה משפחה 509 ש”ח (החל ב- 01.01.2012)

    ליולדת שילדה תאומים 8,475 ש”ח (החל ב- 01.01.2012)

    ליולדת שילדה שלישיה 12,713 ש”ח (החל ב- 01.01.2012)

    | Reply Posted 11 years, 1 month ago
  19. * RachelAnne Kosatsky says:

    1. I’m giving birth at home. Do I need my midwife to bring the paperwork the hospital would give before taking the baby to register at Misrad Hapnim?

    2. Does my husband need to come to have the baby registered on his i.d. too?

    3. How long do I have after the birth to bring the baby to the bureaucratic establishment to do this process?

    4. Am I entitled to child allowance from Bituach Leumi if I’m unemployed? – no pay stubs from the last 10 months of work.

    | Reply Posted 10 years, 7 months ago
    • * Molly says:

      I believe the answers are as follows.

      1. Yes, you need some form of documentation of the birth. The best person to ask is the experienced midwife.
      2. Your husband doesn’t have to be present for the registration, but if he wants to change his id then he will need to be there. Best to go in the afternoon hours all together and also take care of the passport. Make sure you have everything you need before you go.
      3. I don’t know exactly how long you have, but it is plenty of time. I think I went when he was about 5-6 weeks.
      4. If you haven’t paid Bituach Leumi then you probably are not entitled to receive it. You should definitely try to find out an official answer from them- again if you go in the afternoon hours it is less crowded.

      Hope this helps! Mazel Tov and good luck with the home birth!

      | Reply Posted 10 years, 7 months ago

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