Despite presenting themselves as very positive, most of the swiss people i tell i am planning a move to the middle east are shocked anyone wants to leave what they see as a paradise, well paid work, social security, health insurance though all services are very expensive , and of course the safety..but this christmas this illusion of safety in Europe has been finally shattered, a terror attack on a mosque took place at around the same time 12 people had been murdered in the Berlin Christmas market, and unlike Israel, there is no preparation for how to handle terror, and also no ability to cope , if this happens in switzerland, i can only imagine more racism, more distance between people , whereas in Israel , the people unite in a time of crisis though not necessarily agree politically , in Europe they seem to divide further.
Here is the list of top ten reasons in order to remain positive and remind myself what is more important for me in life and here are the top ten list written by KM Dalia Itzik :
1. The weather – It’s true that we could use a little more rain, and it’s true that sometimes it’s a bit dry. But people from all over the world fly thousands of miles to enjoy this country’s weather.
2. Happy people – We like to criticize and protest, but that doesn’t stop us from smiling. Even if we are a bit abrasive and manners aren’t exactly our forte, we’re happy people. We even ranked 7th out of 124 states in a ‘happiness index’ conducted by the Gallup institute recently. Israelis will besmirch their surroundings, but will sing out loud, “Am Israel hai!”
3. Kol Israel arevim ze laze [All the people of Israel are responsible for one another] – Israelis shine in hours of crises. They are unparalled in lending a helping hand to friends – and strangers! – in need.
4. The food – In its small space, Israel contains the cuisine, tastes and smells of the entire world. Israeli food is the best in the world and we boast some great restaurants, even without the prestigious Michelin stars.
5. Culture – We are a small country, but rich in culture; the Jewish people are called the “People of the Book,” but have also proven themselves as a nation of culture of every type. Israeli theaters have much to be proud of, even compared to their Broadway counterparts; our movies always succeed in surprising us anew; Israeli writers are read all over the world. Although only 63, Israel is a growing cultural power to be reckoned with.
6. The Israeli mind – We criticize the education system; there’s always room for improvement. In spite of this, in the past few years there have been five Israeli Nobel Prize winners, and our hi-tech industry is flourishing thanks to our young people with sharp, original minds. A real startup nation!
7. A melting pot – There is no other place in the world where young people from such diverse backgrounds go into the army and come out as close as brothers and sisters. Sixty-three years after the establishment of the state, the IDF is still the melting pot of Israel, where all sectors meet, connect and receive equal opportunity.
8. Scenery – Snow on Mount Hermon, a desert in the Negev and in the middle of the country, mountains, sea and plains. So many different types of scenery, all within two hours’ drive. How many other countries offer the entire world at one’s fingertips?
9. Jerusalem – Yes, I’m biased. I was born in this city, grew up there and have lived there my entire life.
Jerusalem’s character, the alleyways and smells – make it the most amazing city, and no one can convince me otherwise.
10. The State of Israel – It’s our Israeliness. It’s our constant conflict of traditions, foods, cultures and customs.
We are strong yet moral, proud of our image even though we don’t always know how to define it. We complain about the state, but we are always ready to defend it fearlessly.
Israel is the home of each and every one of us, and the collective home of us all.
The writer is chairman of the Kadima faction in the Knesset.Lo
My personal top ten would be:
1.Music and culture: i love hearing Israeli songs everywhere, i love the melodies and the lyrics.Old and new!
2. People: so open! A German friend who emigrated especially appreciated that , she loved being able to talk to almost anyone on the street .
3. Weather: though i tend to embrace a gloomy mood at times, i worship the sun more as i get older and wiser, the sun makes things grow and the mood improve!
4. Food: Fresh fruit tastes so much better than the fridge ones.
5. opening hours: there are many stores open late at night in Tel Aviv area; if you are a night owl or can not sleep, there are many options besides bars, coffee places that are open 24/7
6. The language: though i speak Hebrew, it still excites me to know that this ancient language in which the bible has been written has been revived and to see signs in Hebrew and alongside Hebrew, Arabic as an official language despite the dispute, it makes me proud to know that we are part of the middle east, despite objection by extremists.
7. Diversity : The ethnic diversity works well despite criticsm to the contrary, when comparing to switzerland, i can see more mixing and friendliness, i am especially happy to see Moslems dress in their traditional clothes and allowed to do so unlike some European countries that limit religious expression except that of Christians and christmas.
8. The ocean: There is nothing quite like an ocean with waves, the red sea is a paradise for divers , though there is a struggle to keep the reefs , sadly, there is still a lot of life in the sea, and if not animals and plants then there are people, from young to very old, who are sea people who go to swim every day, in every season and weather. the Sunsets are especially striking .
9. Nature: The palm trees and botany are especially interesting , the trees are not just straight up like pines, but so many types of trees thrive in the warm weather, the scent of flowers in the evening is intoxicating. The birds migration goes through Israel on their way to Africa, to watch the birds in the sky is a thrilling experience.
10. Religion : i like the diversity, and tolerance which i see on the street, though i know there is criticism of the religious, i like to see people openly express their religious beliefs unlike certain European countries in which only Christian holidays are allowed and Moslem traditional wear is not allowed in public work places, i think this is especially interesting when one reads the European media denouncing Israel, to see how reality in the street sends a different message despite disputes and conflicts, the diversity lives on and hopefully will continue .
And to those moving with pets, dogs have come a long way in Tel Aviv, they have their own beach area in which to roam, a dog playground, the streets are cleaner of what dogs leave behind, cats too have been controlled better so there are fewer starving and needing help thanks to castration of street cats and there are always so many nice people feeding the cats, even though it might actually increase their numbers eventually, it is always heart warming to see people feed the street cats, and more people adopting shelter dogs. I hope the dog will enjoy the sun, she suffers from the cold European and will enjoy certain aspects of the warmer land, though she does love her silence, the vet . has reassured me that at her age she will not be hearing too much of the noisy middle eastern streets of the city anyway …