ABSTRACT This paper identifies characteristics of the effective language teacher (ELT) as perceived by both language teachers and students in the Israeli educational system. Subjects consisted of two randomly selected groups. The first included 200 foreign language teachers of English, French, Arabic, and Hebrew, while the second included 406 ninth grade high school students from ten heterogeneous schools. The data were collected by means of a questionnaire and interviews. Various characteristics associated with the ELT were identified, such as the teacher's command of the target language; his or her ability to organize, explain, and clarify; and his or her ability to arouse and sustain interest and motivation. The more we know about ELT characteristics, the more likely we are to develop language teacher preparation models that incorporate aspects of relevant language teaching as well as help in establishing standards for evaluating language instruction.