How Israel Encourages Remote Work
The concept of “working from anywhere” is gaining more and more popularity every day. No wonder since a café or a beach restaurant is certainly a much more attractive environment than an office. The professional life of digital nomads, whether they are bloggers, entrepreneurs, or even full-time employees can successfully combine travelling and job-related tasks.
But sometimes, “working solo” can be lonely and sedentary. Thus, if you are looking for a location that offers a stimulating social environment and, at the same time, the possibility to discover new things, Israel has some interesting opportunities for you.
Omer Har-shai, a former Israeli digital nomad, has created Gather, a month-long program enabling groups with the same interests to work remotely while experiencing communal kibbutz life and enjoying recreational activities such as work-skills and fitness classes. Etymologically, the word “Kibbutz” means “gathering”, referring to the nature of the new business.
“I realized that the kibbutz has everything remote workers need because there are communities where people live, work and play together. Everything is on-premises, such as a dining hall, grocery store, and laundry service. And there is the added value of the natural surroundings and agriculture.”, he said.
In December last year, the first group of nomads tried the program created by Omer Har-shai. They were stationed at Kibbutz Kfar Blum from the Jordan Valley. Only 25 people out of several hundred online applicants from North America, Europe and Australia were selected to participate.
The kibbutz movement is a uniquely Israeli cooperative living and working model with roots in agriculture. The first kibbutz, Degania, was established near the Sea of Galilee in 1910. Today, more than 120,000 people live on 270 kibbutzim across Israel.
The Gather program offers a “digital kibbutz experience”. While participants may also engage in other activities if they wish so, the priority is to complete their work tasks in an unusual and motivational setting.
For a fee ranging between $2,000 and $3,000 per month, digital nomads get simple accommodation, coworking spaces, and access to various facilities (swimming pool or tennis courts). Group activities may include hiking, yoga, lectures, and weekend trips to places including Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.
A third Gather location is planned in the Arava, the Northeastern strip of the Negev desert, where most of Israel’s agricultural activities take place. From an organizational perspective, each location will have a full-time community manager to ensure that everything runs smoothly.
In the last years, Israel has been gaining momentum in the tech community and its thriving start-up scene and historically significant coastal cities have sparked interest from the international nomad audience. Therefore, if you think that working remotely from a kibbutz doesn’t represent you, Israel has many other opportunities not to be missed.
Boasting a long coastline along the Mediterranean Sea, Israel’s coastal towns offer a laid-back atmosphere in an urban and economically developed setting. Most urban settlements in Israel offer convenient working facilities, a good selection of cafes and coworking spaces. The country does not boast high internet speeds but you will have a decent reliable connection and many free public Wi-Fi hotspots.
Apart from Israel’s capital, Jerusalem (one of the most interesting cities in the world culturally), when we talk about working remotely, Tel-Aviv and Haifa are two other locations preferred by digital nomads.
Forbes listed Tel-Aviv as one of the world’s six start-ups communities. Vibrant, modern, cosmopolitan, the city was nicknamed “The Mediterranean Manhattan” and “The Miami of The Middle East”. Moreover, Tel-Aviv is one of the first in the world to offer over 80 free public Wi-Fi hotspots across popular locations in the city. At the same time, the city hosts a good selection of working spaces and coffee shops where you can work.
Last but not least, Haifa is not necessarily a digital hub itself, but rather a town to explore, which delights with many tourist attractions, including access to a beautiful Mediterranean beach, but also remote working facilities.
With almost half of the annual exports from the IT industry, Israel has become one of the key players in the global technology market. The modern society and good weather about nine months a year ensure the Eastern country a safe place on every digital nomad bucket list.