(this may be true for all of Israel as well; we just haven’t gotten further afield yet.)
protip: deposit coins first
the airbnb we are staying at doesn’t have guaranteed parking, so we have to park on the street sometimes. no big deal — around here the meters only run from 8 AM to 6 PM Sunday to Thursday and 1 PM on Fridays (no Saturdays, natch). we’re out and about during most of the day anyways. i tried two of these “pay and display” machines, pressing the Language button to switch the display to English, but it did nothing. pressing the other buttons did nothing either. we almost gave up until we saw someone else use the machine successfully.
it turns out you need to deposit coins first, then you can use the buttons to decrease time (change is given) as necessary. the machine is smart enough not to allow you to pay for more parking than you can use, automatically maxing out at 6 PM (or 1 PM).
sidebar: do you need a car in Jerusalem? i can’t answer for sure since we’ve been driving, but from what i hear it’s easy to get around with buses and the plentiful taxis, and there is a light rail system as well. the main reason for having a car is that i need to get back at a certain time for work and it’s easier for us to not have to worry about public transportation.
note that some machines look like they take credit cards but we were unable to use a Visa (mag stripe) or an American Express (chip and mag stripe). locals were surprised it didn’t work either, so maybe it was broken. it didn’t display an error message so i’m not sure if it doesn’t accept international cards. if i discover more i’ll update this post, but for now we are keeping a collection of ₪10 coins handy in the car.
(p.s. you will have no problem using mag stripe cards in stores and restaurants that accept credit cards; i haven’t seen one person pay with a chip+PIN or chip+signature in my albeit limited time here.)