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Roy and everyone,
Unfortunately, you can not open a bank account from Israel.
The main reason for that would be the lack of social security number
or any other form of identification. What most people do is go to the
social security office as soon as they arrive to the US and apply for
a SSN. Obtaining the official card would take a couple of weeks, but
you can get the number after 24 hours by dialing to an automatic
service. As soon as you've got the number, you could walk into the
bank and open a checking account.
On that issue I would also add that you should expect to receive a
credit card. The only thing you could apply for and get is a debit
card and a for a credit card only afetr several months (assuming you
don't have prior credit history in the US).