The Big Felafel

9 ways to order or download English books in Israel

I love walking into bookstores. I love the smell. I love rummaging and looking for great finds. I love the bargain bin.  I even love reading book spines until my neck is permanently stuck to my shoulder. But if you live in Israel, there is no massive Barnes & Noble – like store or well-stocked library with English books besides Hebrew University.  There are a few bookstores that carry English books but it’s very possible that you won’t find what you’re looking for.  So, as much as I love dawdling around in a bookshop, I find myself drawn back to the web to find more choices. The problem is that some online stores like Amazon charge a ridiculous amount to ship books to Israel.  Luckily, I’ve spotted a bunch of bookstores that ship relatively cheaply or even for free to Israel and a few websites where you can download books for free.

Note about shipping: If you order books over $50, you may be required to pay a VAT tax at the Israeli post office.

  1. The Book Directory Free worldwide delivery
  2. better world books
    Better World Books – $3.97 shipping worldwide; Bargain Bin has 5 used books for $15

  3. Books 4 Now
    – Israel-based online booksstore that sells used books in Israel. Order 4 books, get free delivery anywhere in Israel

  4. AngloBooks
    – website to trade English books with others in Israel
  5. hookabook-israel
    Hook A Book – focused on Israel although prices are in dollars. Free international standard shipping. The site is a little hard on the eyes and there is no search function which makes it a bit difficult to browse but maybe they’re still developing the site as it’s pretty new.  PayPal accepted.
  6. project gutenberg free ebooks
    Project Gutenberg
    Over 30,000 works of literature, cookbooks, reference works, periodicals, etc.  in the form of e-books and audio mp3s that you can download for free.
  7. sci fi books in israel
    42Scifi New and used English sci-fi books in Israel.

  8. Bookmooch – bookswap based on points sysem. For each book you want, you have to send 2 books to others
  9. read hebrew books free online
    Over 40,000 classical Hebrew books for free download. Mostly Jewish books and texts. Books in Hebrew and English.
  10. English books. Check the Shipping Destination and Rates for each book to see the rate to ship books to Israel
  11. – Mostly Hebrew books. Seems like only new books
  12. – Used and New Hebrew and English books
  13. – Used Hebrew and English books
  14. – Used Hebrew and English books
  15. – Used Hebrew books and small selection of English books
  16. – Used and New Hebrew and English books
  17. – New Hebrew books and small selection of English books
  18. Steimatsky – New Hebrew and English books
  19. Tzomet Sfarim – New Hebrew and English books


Watch Season 2 of Srugim ONLINE (Israel only)

Thanks to @avihein on Twitter for being the first to alert everyone that you can now watch “Yifat gets married”, the first episode  of the second season of Srugim online. You can read what we’ve written about Srugim here and here.  If you need to catch up and do a marathon of the first season – you can watch it free online [Israel only].

For the uninitiated, Srugim is an Israeli drama series (in Hebrew) about young religious singles and couples in Jerusalem.  Srugim’s portrayal of life in Jerusalem is fairly accurate and it really touches on a lot of issues that come up for the 20’s and 30’s crowd in the holy city. The show really hits home – I literally ran into them filming a few times just walking around my neighborhood. It’s also really fun to try and figure out where each shot is filmed and to spot someone I know casually walking by in the backdrop.

As Molly wrote up, we were lucky to see the first 2 episodes at the Jerusalem Cinemateque with “Amir” (Amos Tamam), Laizy Shapira (director) and Chava Divon (co-director) from Srugim.  Now I’m spoiled and want to watch the rest of the season with the whole cast! If you’re reading this, Srugim cast, you’re invited over to watch on my laptop (I don’t watch TV) as I hunt down each episode online! I’ll even make some popcorn. Yalla!

Other peeps talking about Season 2:

When is – free online tool to find out the date of the next holiday


Right before each Jewish holiday, I go to good ol’ Google and search for the dates and candle lighting times. This works ok, but I just found something way,way better. lets you easily look up the dates of Jewish holidays, civil holidays, and other religions’ holidays – in case you were wondering what kind of day Kwanzaa comes out on this year.

Here’s one that I was curious about – when is Tisha B’av this year? Here’s a screenshot from


Unfortunately, When-is doesn’t give you candlelighting times, but it does help you fill in those lesser-known Jewish holidays to calendars that you (gasp) write in by hand. I still can’t give up the Staples monthly calendar. Even if I hardly use it, I feel like my life will fall apart the one year I decide not to get it. I have yet to find one monthly-layout calendar in Israel, so if you know where to get one, please let me know.

Watch the president’s conference online – great quality

Check it out! You can watch a ‘live’ streaming of the President’s Conference: Facing Tomorrow happening in the International Convention Center in Jerusalem. It’s not exactly real time but I feel like I’m in the front row. Come watch:

Netflix arrives Israeli style at DVD Yashir, plus 12 Movie mini-reviews


Slowly, but surely, Israel is catching up with the convenient services available in America like supermarket deliveries, second-hand marketplaces, and most recently, unlimited movie rentals through the mail with DVD Yashir.

In the notorious style of Hebrew websites, DVD Yashir sports the required scrolling text and flashing images, but at least it works in Firefox.

If you can get past the distractions and navigate your way through the site, you’ll learn that they sell and rent movies, and claim to be offering video rental in the “American style” with different fixed monthly rental plans. The cheapest plan costs 19 shekels for the first month and then 59 shekels for every month after that but doesn’t seem to include new releases. They let you keep a movie as long as you like and request new movies as often as you like, and like Netflix, it runs through the mail. But, let’s play this scenario out logistically in Israel. Just thinking about finding the nearest mailbox that would fit a dvd or attempting to go to the post office at a time when it’s open is starting to give me an anxiety attack.

While this service does seem to be promising, I’m a little skeptical of the reliability and convenience of the Israeli post office/mailbox thing and 59 shekels seems like quite a lot to shell out each month considering the dvd machine near my house is 16 shekels. So only if I rent more than 4 movies a month does it start to become worth it. I think I’ll stick to watching movies online for free.

Mini Movie Reviews

If you decide to try out the service, here are some mini movie reviews to give you some ideas of what to rent — or what not to rent. Continue reading this entry »