English Wikipedia says that, in Israel, there's

a shorthand sign language for communication between hitchhikers and drivers.

It gives no examples; nor does the corresponding Hebrew Wikipedia article. What are the common signs and their meanings?

1 Answer 1


There's no much of a sign language. At least most drivers know of any.

A little bit that does exist:

  • Raising you arm = I want a ride. The details vary and don't carry any special meaning. A raised thumb is not common, but not rude either (might be interpreted as thumbs-up, which is weird).
  • A common alternative is holding a sign with your destination.
  • Driver pointing downwards = his destination is very near. He would stop, but you probably don't want to take a ride with him.

Here's a typical position (source: solitarywanderer.com): Hitchhiker in Israel

  • The default "thumbing" position in Israel seems afaict to be with the index finger extended (and the four other fingers not), with the wrist not bent, and with the hand held at about waist level of the hitchhiker.
    – msh210
    Oct 30, 2017 at 16:26
  • 1
    @msh210, It doesn't matter. As long as your arm is visibly raised, drivers will understand what you want. Holding the arm at waist level is just easier than raising it higher. I don't think extending the index finger is so common, but anyway it doesn't matter.
    – ugoren
    Oct 30, 2017 at 20:17

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