What It’s Like To Live In Israel
I moved from Russia to Israel a couple of months ago. In this article, I will tell you what I have noticed so far and what I think about life and people here.
The following article is based on my personal feelings and experience.
It is not a secret that Israel is very friendly to new immigrants from all over the world. Most of all immigrants are from CIS countries, USA and France. In a lot of cases, people leave their countries and move to Israel because of antisemitism in their home countries. They try to find peace and mutual understanding in this country, which is considered their land and live freely in a state, that was created to provide Jews with a safe space to be.
Therefore, because of a large number of immigrants from different countries of the world, there is a mixture of different cultures in Israel, which complement and enrich the original Israeli culture. New immigrants are not perceived as a problem, they are developing this country and have made it the way it exists today.
The official language in Israel is Hebrew. However, many people communicate in English, Russian, French, and Arabian. Children in schools can choose the main language they want to learn in school: Hebrew or Arabic.
To communicate with other people for basic and everyday themes is enough to master the initial level of the Hebrew language. For new returners, who came back according to the Law of Return, Israel provides Hebrew learning courses.
In Israel live people who are very diverse in their faith. Mostly, people In Israel profess monotheistic religions such as Judaism, Islam, Christianity, Druze religion, and, of course, there are atheists.
Officially, there is no state religion in Israel, but the overwhelming majority of religious are professing Judaism.
Inherently, Israel was created as a country for those who want to observe Judaism. Such people need a special country because their religion is very different from all the others.
For example, Jews want to keep Shabbat. It implies that public transport does not work on Friday and Saturday. It would be impossible to stop the work of trains and busses for the weekend in any other country in the world, while it is a reality in Israel. On the weekends almost the whole country relaxes and takes a break from work. However, there is always exist an opportunity to go somewhere on Shabbat by using special busses, taxi, and personal car. The problem is that it is very uncomfortable for ordinary people. Most of the non-religious population is dissatisfied with this state of affairs. There is an ongoing debate about whether public transport should work on the weekends because not everyone wants to give up traveling around the country at the end of the week and stay at home with their families and friends to celebrate Shabbat.
In Israel, a lot of people take to the streets and protest against something that they do not like about the structure of the country. They can speak out against everything that they are dissatisfied with. In a lot of cases, these protests lead to real changes. If the state can somehow influence to solve the problem that exists then changes will certainly occur.
The ecological situation in Israel is very ambiguous. On the one hand, there is a lot of things that are being done for the environment. For example, every plastic bottle, that can be recycled, contains a special inscription, which told that it is recyclable and therefore can be accepted to any product shop and you will be paid for it 30 agorot (1 shekel contains 100 agorot). Also, in the public parks situate a lot of machines with plastic bags, so that people can clean up after their dogs. On roofs of many houses situate solar panels.
Israel is very progressive in terms of ecology. However, people, who do not have a certain level of consciousness yet, litter and pollute the country. There are many dirty places and those that with a lot of garbage. Likewise, the situation with plastic is controversial, as plenty of products in shops are covered with plastic even in those cases when it is unnecessary.
Tel Aviv, a famous city in the center of Israel, is recognized as the most expensive city in the world in 2021. Living in Tel Aviv is much more expensive than in every other city in Israel, but salaries are also higher here. Therefore, a lot of people prefer to work in Tel Aviv and live in other neighboring cities.
In other cities, life is also quite expensive. For example, the price of white bread is 7 shekels, 1 liter of milk — 5 shekels. Along with this, the hourly minimum wage is 26 shekels.
Life in Israel is not a cheap pleasure, but the amount of money that people receive from their work allows them to lead a decent life.
Many people have their cars. Those who do not have the opportunity to buy their own transport, use the public one. Trains can help you to move between cities. For shorter distances busses suites better. Public transport is very comfortable and not overloaded. Bicycles are also very popular among Israelis, especially in Tel-Aviv, where there are even special bike paths on the common road for cars.
There already were multiple lockdowns in the country. It happens every time the number of infected is large enough. Overall, people are responsibly treating the current situation with coronavirus and a new strain — omicron. For instance, if you are in the elevator without a mask, then be prepared for the fact that you will be asked to put it on.
Entrance to public places is available only with a green passport, where is written how many doses of vaccine you have done. However, the government wants to cancel this measure from February 7.
People, who live in Israel, are very open-minded and label-free. They will never judge you and gossip behind your back, because of how you look, dress, or speak. If they do not like something about you, they will probably say about it straight to your face, whether you want it or not. In Israel, they are very understanding and supportive of LGBT minorities. This is evidenced by LGBT flags on apartment balconies, the annual pride parade in Tel-Aviv, advertisements with same-sex couples.
It is widely believed, that medicine in Israel is very good and there are a lot of professional, highly qualified doctors. It is true. Medicine in Israel is indeed good. Therefore, the waiting lists for a doctor’s appointment are also large. Your turn to the doctor may be only a few months after you apply for it and it may be even not in the city where you live. Medicine involving serious operations and long-term rehabilitation is really good, but something that is not as serious may be very exhausting and take a lot of time.
This is my view on Israel from these 4 months that I have been living here. I feel a lot of freedom, emancipation, and support from other citizens who are unfamiliar to me, but always ready to help. It is a very unique country with its advantages and disadvantages. It is beautiful, but still, it does not feel like home to me, I do not feel like it is the right place for me.
What do you think about Israel? Are you living in this country, planning to move here, or are you simply interested in the article? You can share your opinion in the comment section.
Thank you for spending your time with me!