An Israeli company is incorporated by registration with the Companies' Registrar either by creating a completely new company or by registering a foreign company which already exists outside Israel.

New Israeli Company

To form a private company in Israel requires at least one shareholder (either a private individual or a company) and one director. The shareholder and director may be the same person and need not be Israeli citizens or residents. The company also needs to provide an address for its registered office in Israel.

A name in Hebrew must be chosen for the company and an English translation of the name may also be registered. The name will not be accepted if it has already been used by an existing company or is so similar to an existing name as to be misleading. The lawyer registering the company should carry out a preliminary check to see if the name is available. However, since not all companies appear on the open register, you will need to provide at least two options to be used if your first choice of name is not accepted.

All directors and shareholders will need to sign the forms to register the company and their signatures must be witnessed by an Israeli lawyer. If they are not Israeli citizens, certified copies of passports will be required. If a foreign company is a director or shareholder, certified copies of company documents will also be required.

Registration of an Existing Foreign Company in Israel

A company incorporated in another country may be registered as a foreign company in Israel and must be registered if it has a place of business in Israel.

To register a foreign company you will need to provide the following documents:

  1. Copies of the certificate of incorporation and the memorandum and articles of the company, legalised by Apostille. Officially these should also be translated into Hebrew and certified, but the English versions may be sufficient.
  2. A power of attorney from the company to a person ordinarily resident in Israel who has complete authority to act on behalf of the company. If this power of attorney is executed outside Israel it should also be legalised by Apostille.
  3. A list of the company's directors.
  4. A name and address for the service of court papers and official notices in Israel (which does not necessarily have to be the address of the person nominated in point 2).

As with registration of a new company, you will also need to check that the company does not have a name which is the same as or similar to an existing Israeli company since, even if the company is world-famous, it cannot be registered with the same name as an existing Israeli company.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.