Saul Davis - Advocate & Notary Public
A notary public is a legal officer who can witness and authenticate documents and signatures. For the purposes of authentication, many countries require commercial or personal documents to be notarised. Notaries in Israel must be Israeli lawyers with seniority, with no criminal record, no complaints against them at the Israel Bar and must have undergone a training course. (In some countries, notably the USA, notaries are not lawyers.)
Do I need a notary? The answer to that question is usually "no"! Actually, people often do not bother asking the question and, I suspect, end up paying for a service they do not need! Rarely will an Israeli need, or an Israeli official office demand notarisation of a document or signature. Exceptions are: pre-nuptial agreements, wills, irrevocable powers-of-attorney and powers-of-attorney to a non-lawyer. If you are American or need something from American officialdom the answer will probably be "yes". For some reason the US authorities (and US banks and other institutions) like to have various documents and signatures notarised. For example, when President Richard Nixon resigned in 1974 he had his resignation letter notarised. You cannot have a US notary notarise a document or signature in Israel, because US notaries can only act in the US state that they are licensed for. On the other hand, notarisations are inherently international. So, if you are an American (or other nationality), and you need a document or signature notarised, certified or legalised in Israel, for Israel, or for abroad – you must go to an Israeli notary (but you can go to a US consulate).
Apostille is a French word which means certification. An apostille is the legalisation of a document for international use under the terms of the 1961 Hague Convention, an international treaty that abolished the requirement of legalisation for foreign public documents (that previously might have had to be done at a consulate or the Foreign Office where the notary acted). So nowadays documents which have been notarised by a notary public and then certified with an apostille are accepted for legal use in all the nations that have signed the Hague Convention (which is most western countries, including Israel, the USA and the UK). In Israel the apostille is a sticker, stuck on the back of the notary’s certificate and signed at most Magistrates’ Courts by the chief clerk. This service cost 35 NIS. The apostille just authenticates the notary’s work.
There is a fixed tariff set by the Israel Ministry of Justice for notarial services. For other services provided by a notary (including translations, drafting affidavits and getting that apostille) the fee is set by the notary and the client.