People from all over the world own apartments or houses in Israel but since they do not speak Hebrew and cannot understand the transaction documentation, they may have no idea if they have been registered as the owners of the property.

Property registration in Israel is a convoluted process and many properties are not registered in the names of their owners at the Land Registry, or are not registered at the Land Registry at all.

Real Estate in Israel is registered using a block and parcel number and not by owner or by address. The block (Gush in Hebrew) signifies the local area of the property and the parcel number (Helka) is the specific plot. If the property is an apartment in a building or complex, then each apartment will have a sub-parcel (Tat Helka) number, which may not be the same as the apartment number.

However, not all property in Israel is registered at the Land Registry.

Over 90% of the land in Israel is owned by the state or by national institutions and much of this is managed by the Israel Lands Authority (ILA). These areas are gradually being registered at the Land Registry but if the plot has not yet been registered, then details of ownership will be found either at the ILA (a registry which is not open to the public) or in the records of the company developing the land on its behalf. In such cases, there may be no evidence at all of the ultimate beneficial ownership of that property at the Land Registry.

Even when the land is privately owned and is registered at the Land Registry, it can take several years after construction of a building has been completed to finalise the registration of the property, and often much longer than that. In the meantime, there may be evidence of ownership rights in the form of a restriction at the Land Registry but, until registration of the entire building is complete, the apartments will not be registered in the names of their owners.

The easiest way to locate the registration details of a property is to look at the purchase documentation. Even if the property has subsequently been registered, the details in the purchase documentation will be sufficient to locate the new registration. The municipal rates (arnona) bill will also provide this information.

In the absence of any documentation, it is possible to locate the block and parcel numbers (but not the sub-parcel number) using the address of the property on the government's website (in Hebrew only):

Alternatively, a lawyer or real estate agent should be able to assist.

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.