How to find English books in Israel

A part II to the search for English books in Israel with the resources we missed

Oodles of reading material at an old bookstore in Safed (photo credit: DAVID COHEN/FLASH 90)
Oodles of reading material at an old bookstore in Safed
(photo credit: DAVID COHEN/FLASH 90)
So many readers took time to comment about how much they appreciated the November 13 cover story on finding English books in Israel and to share additional resources.
We’ve compiled many of the suggestions we received and are delighted to present this list of additional and updated places where you can find English books in Israel.
Read on!
Bookstores and book sales
Gush Etzion Used English Book Sale (website under development) will take place online January 10-11, 2021. All proceeds to tzedakah (charity). Send a message to 054-882-9116 to be added to the WhatsApp announcement group for updates.
HaBoidem (Tzeret Street 15) and HaM’tzion (39 Pierre Koenig Street) are secondhand stores in Talpiot that carry English books.
Holtzer Books is a charming used book store located at 91 Jaffa Street in Jerusalem. It is jam-packed with books, approximately 30% of which are in English.
Katamon Books is an independent bookstore located on 45 Hapalmah Street, Jerusalem. Approximately 25% of its inventory is English books.
Jerusalem orthodontist Dr. Debra Katz runs a weeklong, annual used book sale to raise funds for Melabev. Thousands of books are sold “by the box” for NIS 20. Each box has 15-20 books. Due to corona, this year’s sale is ongoing and by appointment only. To arrange for purchase and pickup, please call Dr. Katz’s clinic at (02) 624-8655.
Rebooks is not connected to the book lending service of the same name. Rebooks is a national chain of used book stores that employs people with special needs. Every used book costs NIS 20 and is returnable. Its database includes books held in any branch of Rebooks. The Jerusalem branch has the largest selection of English books. Note: Its website is in Hebrew.
Rehavia Books sells new and used English books. 34 Aza Street, Jerusalem. Contact: 077-505-5658.
Yanshuf, located at 2 Hankin Street, Ra’anana, offers secondhand English books on a wide range of topics, with a special emphasis on science fiction and fantasy books. Don’t miss its basement displays.
Library resources
AACI. Although we mentioned the AACI used book sale, AACI in Jerusalem also has a robust general English lending library run by volunteers, as well as a library with special resources for English-speakers who are blind. For more information, contact Rolene Segalat ([email protected]), (02) 563-9186 or 052-738-0270. AACI also has libraries in Beersheba and Netanya.
Additionally, AACI runs JELLY – the Jerusalem English Language Library for Youth (https://www.facebook.com/jellyaaci). It’s based in the Baka Library in the Baka community center on 3 Yissachar Street, Jerusalem.
JELLY has a Teachers’ Library with sets of books that teachers can check out for their classes. Teachers purchase a membership for the school year (NIS 75) which allows them to check out up to 40 books for three months at a time. Its book catalogue is available online. For more information contact Jody, [email protected] or 054-932-9690.
JELLY also helps maintain the English book collection at the Baka library. If you are a library member, you can order English books by contacting Yedida at [email protected] or 054-7484704.
The American Center, 19 Keren Hayesod Street, Jerusalem, is a program of the US Embassy. It is open to all permanent residents of Israel aged 16 and up, not just US citizens as previously reported.
Benjamin Library – located in the Meyerhoff community center, 9 Hadekel Street, Beit Shemesh, is home to the Harry Reiss Memorial Holocaust Collection, which houses hundreds of Holocaust books in English, both for circulation and reference. The Benjamin Library itself has a substantial general English collection.
City Kids provides access to 2,000+ English books to hundreds of young families in Tel Aviv. Its offerings include board books for the youngest readers, their parents and all readers in between.
Haifa’s public library has hundreds of English books available for borrowers.
The National Library of Israel, in Jerusalem’s Givat Ram, has a truly impressive array of English-language books and digital resources. Any Israeli citizen can purchase a library membership. Olim in their first year can get a free membership.
Street libraries with English books
We mentioned street libraries in the original article, although we didn’t specify the exact locations of ones with which we were familiar. Readers told us about others that generally have many English books. We didn’t already know about ones located in:
Givat Ada
Jerusalem – Hehalutz Street in Beit HaKerem
Karkur (Pardess Hanna)
Katzir
Hashmonaim – Barkat Street
Zichron Ya’acov – Neveh Remez
WorldCat connects you to the collections and services of more than 10,000 libraries worldwide. If you’re looking for a hard-to-find book, this site will tell you if any library in Israel has it.
In summary, Israel has come a very long way from the early days when English readers had to scramble to get access to the books they wanted. Now there are so many ways to access English books, either in print or as e-books or audio books, may your toughest problem be deciding what to read next!