great vs hard things in Israel

Great things in Israel

Biblical places & seeing scriptures in action

Its easy to see places here in the bible like Mount of Olives, the walls of the old city, the way the Jewish people have come back from the four corners of the earth in accordance with scriptures, you only have to look at olive trees in city streets, and iconic sand stone buildings to know this is a special place.

Food

Food is good here, really like Falafels or Shwarama sandwiches.  Don’t think I can go back to normal sandwiches at home now.   I do like getting fresh stuff, fruit, vegetables, meat, bread, cake, etc from the Shuk (open air market)   I also really like meeting up with friends for Shabbat (Friday night to Saturday afternoon) for dinner as everything in the city stops then.

Family life

One of things I like most about Jewish people is they love their families.   Seeing kids with their dads out shopping and out in the park here is something that should be more common place in the UK, instead at home people look at relationships as throw away things that get replaced by something new when they hit a problem.   Here it seems marriage and family life are taken seriously, and there is a strong amount of respect here.  Even yesterday on a Monday evening in the park near my house, I see hundreds of people, families having barbeques and picnics out in the grass.

Low crime

There are house and car break ins sometimes, but assaults or robberies are pretty rare here, except for the occasional pick pockets.  This is a much safer place to live than most cities in the world.  Plus the fact there are soldiers and police, on and off duty making you feel safer.

City life

I like the fact there seems to be lots of live music, comedy clubs, entertainers in the street, also ice cream bars (why don’t we have these in the UK?)   as well as bars and coffee shops, theres always fun places to visit friends.   This is even more so in the more secular city of Tel Aviv.

Scenery

I like the views from the city as Jerusalem in mountainous and you can see from a long way across Mount of Olives or Mount Scopus.

Shopping

Taking a wander round the markets is fun, if you feel brave, you can always barter with the very pushy Arab traders who are hawking T shirts, biblical souvenirs, jewellery and middle east related gifts.

Diversity

Contrary to what you see on the news, (‘apartheid’ and other nonsense attempts to discredit this nation) there is a mutual respect for different ethnic backgrounds and beliefs.  Jewish people comprise of all shades of the skin spectrum, as people have come back from the US, the ex-Soviet states, France, Morocco, Iran, Argentina and many more places, you also have different approaches to Judaism from secular to ultra Orthodox.   Moslem people are treated well as many work for Jewish employers and receive better pay and working conditions than if they work for Palestinian owners.  All road signs, public information, government web sites, etc all have Arabic translations and Russian as well.    I haven’t been to East Jerusalem or any of the Palestinian territories as these are not safe for visitors.

Hard things in Israel

Things are expensive.

Mainly costly probably like the capital of any other country, but food (in normal supermarket) is expensive here.   Bread is normally around 12/13 shekels (#2) here.  Fruit and vegatables are cheap in the market, more so if you get them when they are nearly at the end of the shelf life.

Hebrew language

Its really difficult, I need to investigate some means of getting to grips with learning this.   In a lot of cases people do speak English to some degree.

Political instability

Theres always the worry and threat of terrorism and war, at the same time, protests are quite common with religious groups against homosexual pride events, a recent riot that the police where picking on a woman from the Orthodox community who was accused of child neglect, as well as the frequent heated discussion on land for peace deals and pressure from the EU, UN and the US over land.  Generally you don’t easily wander into things like this they seem to be on the outskirts of town and you are advised to stay away from disturbances.

Smell

This is probably more to do with the extreme heat and scarcity of water, the drains often smell bad, as do rubbish bins out in the streets stink as well as the dozens of stray cats I see in my street.

Traffic

Driving is quite bad here, the fatality rate is about twice what it is in the UK and US.   A lot of cars look heavily dented and scruffy looking.  People often don’t wear seat belt and speak on the phone whilst driving.  If you see someone parking, they nearly always kerb their wheels or mount the pavement.  This seems a thing consistent with all of southern Europe and Mediterranean countries.

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