Serving process in Israel is subject to the strictures of the Hague Service Convention, regardless of which U.S. or Canadian venue is hearing the matter.

Some background is in order, if you’re so inclined, before we cut to the chase.

Here’s how it’s done in Israel, specifically:

Article 5 Service

  • Translate the documents. Israel’s declaration to Article 5(3) allows the Central Authority to accept documents in English, but it may be necessary to translate them anyway.  If the defendant doesn’t speak English, the documents should be translated into either Hebrew or Arabic, depending on his or her native tongue.*  At least under Hague procedures, Israel is adamant about ensuring due process to the Arab population in its jurisdiction.  (See infra for insight regarding the Palestinian Authority.)
  • Fill out a USM-94. Be very careful about ensuring that it is complete and concise, and make sure that it is signed by a court official or an attorney.  If it is not, make sure that the person signing is commissioned by the court.
  • Send to the Central Authority, who will then instruct a Magistrate’s Clerk to serve.
  • Sit tight. It may take a while—perhaps 6 months from submission to return of proof, depending on the defendant’s locality.

Article 10 alternative methods

  • Mail service is available, depending on where you are, but it’s a bad idea anyway. If you do select this route, pay particular attention to the venue court’s rules about how mail service is initiated—in federal cases, adhere strictly to FRCP 4(f)(2)(C)(ii).
  • Israel objects to service undertaken directly through judicial officers or private agents.  That said, though, the Central Authority will appoint a specific agent to serve on foreign litigants’ behalf.  This does not implicate Article 10(b) or (c), but the method fits squarely within Article 5(b).  The Central Authority is still involved and still issues a Hague Certificate, so the service method resembles 10(b)/10(c) service with a 5(b) result.

Serving Palestinian defendants in territory under the Palestinian Authority’s control

Requests should still be sent through the standard Article 5 channel, but the Central Authority will hand the request off to Palestinian judicial authorities for service.  A few particulars must be observed:

  • Documents must be translated into Arabic and Hebrew.
  • The request must include the full name (four names) of the recipient.
  • The request must include the Identification Number of the recipient.
  • The request must include the full address as far as possible.

Bonus practice tip… if you’re defense counsel, always question the validity of service effected on your overseas client.  The plaintiff may not have done it correctly.


* Entities that do business in the United States are deemed competent in English– on both sides of the ocean.