Did you know the first McDonald’s in the Middle East Opened in Israel? Posted by on Jan 12, 2017 in Uncategorized

The Hebrew word for junk food is זְלֹולֶת. It’s a funny word that no one actually uses. It is one of the newest Hebrew words: the Academy of the Hebrew Language invented it on December 2014. Most Israelis aren’t even familiar with this Hebrew equivalent for junk food. But they sure eat junk food. And McDonald’s as well.

McDonald’s is the largest restaurant chain in Israel with over 180 branches, of which about 50 are kosher. The first McDonald’s restaurant in the Middle East was established in Israel in 1993. The excitement was high, everybody wanted to try the American burgers. During the first day, the lines stretched all the way to the other side of the mall. The first kosher McDonald’s restaurant in the world opened two years later, also in Israel.

There are over 180 golden arches spread all over Israel, making it easily recognizable throughout the country. And along them the name in Hebrew letters: מקדונלד’ס.

Rothschild Boulevard, Tel-Aviv (photo by Ayana)

My friend and I recently went to this branch, in Rothschild Boulevard, Tel-Aviv. I ordered small size French fries for 13.5 NIS, and she had an ice cream sundae for 10.5 NIS. As you may have noticed, neither of us like burgers, but we do know that the McRoyal meal is very popular in Israel. The Israeli McDonald’s has adjusted itself to the local appetite and sells a meal of kebab in a tortilla with tahini. The local chain also offers a hamburger that has been roasted on a charcoal grill, just like the Israelis like it.

Another branch in Ramat-Gan (photo by Ayana)

Nowadays, the Israeli enthusiasm around McDonald’s is fading away, and yet 180 branches in just one small country has to be respected. Many famous restaurant chains have tried to set foot in Israel over the years, unfortunately without success. Dunkin’ Donuts, Hard Rock Cafe, KFC, and Starbucks, just to name a few. Sizzler, Taco Bell and Wendy’s, for example, are brands that most of the Israelis aren’t even familiar with, since they have never had established a branch in Israel. So if you are visiting Israel and missing some American diner food don’t worry – McDonald’s can be found in every corner. With one twist: the language. So here are some Hebrew McDonald’s vocabulary for your use:


Junk food = זְלֹולֶת. Though most Israelis use the English word:
גַ’אנְק פוּד.

McDonald`s = מקדונלד’ס

Fast food = אוֹכֶל מָהׅיר

Hamburger = הַמְבּוּרְגֶּר

French fries = צׅ’יפּס

Ketchup = קֶטְשׁוֹפּ

Mayonnaise = מָיוֹנֶז

Mustard = חַרְדָּל

Happy meal = אֲרוּחַת יְלָדׅים

Toy = צַעֲצוּעַ

Chicken = עוֹף. But Israel McDonald’s decided to stick to the English pronunciation, and named it צ’יקן.

Fish = דָּג

I know US McDonald’s doesn’t sell them, but the Israeli does, so if you will ever eat McDonald’s in the holy land, know that onion rings called טַבָּעוֹת בָּצָל.

Bon appetit = בְּתֵאָבוֹן


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