30 ways in which living in Israel has ruined you for life

An increasing number of countries think that visitors and temporary residents won’t be able to cope once they leave their idyllic setting. I took on the challenge. Idyllic? Ha, certainly not. But, will living in Israel ruin you for any other country in the world?

Certainly the answer is YES.

Why so, you may ask. That’s simply because:

1. In Israel it is socially acceptable to yell at people.
It’s an absolute norm. You don’t apologise when someone yells at you, you yell back at them. This is the way to establish mutual respect and consequently have a meal together, get to know their families and remain friends for life. Israelis are more prone to yell, because they are very honest and aren’t as passive-aggressive as people in the Western culture are.

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2. Israel has the lowest prices for fresh produce in the world among developed countries.
Fruit and vegetables are seasonal and thus you can strike deals all throughout the year. Fresh produce is much cheaper than processed food so you end up eating healthier and your body shows it. You have amazing, shiny hair, beautiful, soft skin and strong nails, and, when you need a spa, you go to the Dead Sea.

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3. It’s perfectly acceptable to join any party and invite yourself for food.
Grilling is extremely popular among Israelis, who are slightly obsessed with food. They will always invite you to their table and if they don’t, they will consider it a norm when you invite yourself!

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4. Restaurants serve large portions of deliciously colourful salads, meats and cheeses for you to choose from.
Have you even gone to a restaurant, where you paid a lot for a very tiny meal? This is not the case in Israel.

I could die happy now.
I could die happy now.

Arabic cuisine

The almighty hummous.
The almighty hummous.
The almighty giant hummous.
The almighty giant hummous.

5. The majority of restaurants are kosher.
If you are an observant Jew this is very important. Every street is simply packed with places you can go to and eat freely. Some restaurants are not kosher, but many of these are vegan anyway so it doesn’t make much difference.

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6. Amazing weather.
Ever been to the country where you have summer all year long, just in different parts? Even in winter, which only reasonably lasts around 3 months you can go either all the way south to Eilat, sit on the beach and swim with the dolphins or you can go to the Dead Sea where both the air temperature and water will allow you to walk around in your shorts and swim-suits!

Someone take me to the beach, p-lease!!
Someone take me to the beach, p-lease!!

7. Jewish geography.
Sitting at one table with 4 people roughly means that they all jointly come from all different continents through their parents or grandparents and you can spend hours discovering that your great-grandfather fancied your friend’s great-grandmother in Uzbekistan before they landed in either Europe, States or South Africa.

It is also possible that you are distantly related and you are questioning whether you should even attempt dating.
It is also possible that you are distantly related and you are questioning whether you should even attempt dating.

8. Direct public involvement in every aspect of your life.
Israelis are one of the warmest nations one can live amongst. They don’t only care for you. They will simply tell you exactly what and how you should do things because they genuinely think that they know better. People react differently as the advice is delivered in various ways, also including yelling (look point 1), but at the same time you can leave your new-born child with someone you have never seen before and continue shopping, while they do some child-minding.

What did you just say?! What did you just say?!

9. Long waiting time for deliveries.
This may look like a downside, but think about it. You order food for delivery and normally, elsewhere in the world, you would be bound to sit and wait for it at home, because restaurants are obsessed with delivering food on time. No one is obsessed with time-keeping in Israel. The food may come anytime between an hour or sometimes even an hour-and-a-half, if you are lucky. So what do you do? You can easily call for delivery when you are still on your way from work, come home, unhurriedly take a shower, relax, choose a movie to watch, have a drink, start watching a movie and the delivery man will just about ring you that he is outside with your order. Perfect timing.

"So? What movie are you watching? Can I join?"
“So? What movie are you watching? Can I join?”

10. No need for PIN numbers while paying.
The only time you need a PIN number is when you withdraw money from the cashpoint. Every time you pay however, they only swipe your card and ask for your signature. The key is to keep withdrawing the money from the account so you do not forget your PIN number. Imagine now going back to the UK, for example, and having to remember your PIN number while you’re paying for an overpriced bag of tomatoes? Poor me, you think, I should have stayed in Israel.

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11. You can live in Jerusalem.
Enough said.

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12. You can live in Tel Aviv.
Enough said.

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13. It is an insult not to bargain.
Great news for penny-pinchers as much as for people with less developed social skills. Penny-pinchers will be more than happy to save on everything. Those lacking social skills will end up developing them very quickly simultaneously making new friends.

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14. Men are straight-forward.
Applying a reasonable amount of caution, knowing how charming Israeli men can be, one knows exactly where they stand with them. They won’t play games so the pressure is off. They will tell you exactly what they are looking for; whether it’s a serious relationship, marriage, casual dating, “just friends” or sex. No one will force you to make a choice, but once you do be certain that you really want it, because once they say what they want they are unwilling to change their minds. They do not do upgrades, if you follow my drill.

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15. Shop assistants will stop you from buying products you want.
They will generally sell you products they think are good for you. If they think something is of a substandard quality they will tell you not to buy it and will offer something else. They will also do a lot to make sure you do not overpay.
NOTE: This does not apply to shopping at the markets.

"You want THAT? Do you know how much sugar it contains? What's wrong with you?"
“You want THAT? Do you know how much sugar it contains? What’s wrong with you?”

16. Shuk.
It’s a whole new world where you don’t just buy food. You socialise, make friends, eat for free and end up being set up on a date with someone’s son because they liked the way you chose almonds.

Halva is available for tasting at all times. Free of charge.
Halva is available for tasting at all times. Free of charge.

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PENTAX Image

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17. You can walk in flip-flops the entire year.
Apart from the short winter period (you can change your location as per point 6) you can indeed wear comfy flip-flops the entire year, regardless of the attire – it’s acceptable to show up sporting a pair to the wedding party equally as you would wear them to the beach.

Hello happy feet!
Hello happy feet!

18. There is no need to use automatic dryers.
Hot. Desert. Temperatures. Everything. Dries. In. A. Matter. Of. Minutes. The clothes dry outside, smell lovely and do not get mouldy.

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19. It’s acceptable to keep your feet on seats while travelling.
Yes, there are signs that you are not allowed to do so, but everyone does it anyway. Usually no one complains as long as you take your shoes off and your feet don’t smell.

Hi pinky!
Hi pinky!

20. Wallah and yallah become the centre of your vocabulary.
You actually feel like your sentences miss something if they are not said in Hebrew and you find yourself throwing wallah and yallah pretty much all the time. All your peers from outside of Israel do not understand why you suddenly started speaking Arabic. You sadly come to terms with the fact that you will never again casually use the word habibi.

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21. Dai doesn’t have the same meaning as die.
So the next time you say dai (enough), people will look at you startled. “Did you just tell him to die!?”

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22. Stam is a word in itself, which will never be understood outside Israel.
It also doesn’t have a definite translation in Hebrew so it is both pointless and sad that you will never use it again, because it’s also your favourite word.

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23. You have the entire world within one tiny country.
Mountains in the north where you can go skiing, beaches to the west, historical cities and desert for hiking and star-gazing. You can do one thing each week and you don’t have to travel far.

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24. Parties do not end.
Ever. In comparison, pubs in Britain close at midnight and clubs at 2-3am. Israeli parties do not start until 11-12pm and they certainly do not end until after the day break.

Now sing the Tel Aviv song!
Now sing the Tel Aviv song!

25. Turkish coffee and ice cream.
Israelis have no clue how to make coffees. Stam. It’s a fact. There is no cappuccino, late, au lait, macchiato, or Starbucks type of coffees. There is no Starbucks. There is only the hafuch, which means coffee with hot milk and a complete disregard for proportions.

But, the Turkish coffee is great and you can use it for the caffeine shot guiltlessly following it up with amazing ice creams, ice coffees and other icy things.

26. Six-day working week.
You get used to the fact that you do not have a Sunday to do nothing. You quickly realise therefore that, in-between work, every day is holiday with beach, parties and overflowing food. Try doing that elsewhere.

"Of course I'm in the office. I sending you updates on my work, no?"
“Of course I’m in the office. I am sending you updates on my work, no?”

27. Jewish holidays.
This cannot be explained in words. It has to be experienced.

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28. You get to use all your language skills.
It’s the only country in the world where you can speak Hebrew, English, Yiddish, Russian and Arabic interchangeably in one sentence and everyone will get the message.

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29. Religious songs are remixed into club music.
Yes. And yes, you hear them in clubs.



30. This giant.

Israelis are crazy about babies so they are willing to go the extra mile to make sure you have as many as you can.
Israelis are crazy about babies so they are willing to go the extra mile to make sure you have as many as you can.

NOW YOU KNOW WHY YOU ARE RUINED FOR LIFE. THERE IS NO OTHER PLACE LIKE ISRAEL!

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181 thoughts on “30 ways in which living in Israel has ruined you for life

  1. מלכה.
    אנחנו צריכים עוד אנשים טובים כמוך שרואים את הערך הרב שיש בשטח הקטן הזה.
    תבורכי

    Like

  2. the fuch???
    You made me laugh 🙂
    You mean הפוך?
    הפוך means upside-down, the letter ה is not ה׳ הידיעה in this case. It’s one word. Hafuch.

    Besides, half the things here aren’t wven true 😦
    If you put your feet up you can find yourself as a victim of online shaming. We hate people whi do that.

    If someone yelled at me at me I’d be pissed. It is not ok to yell, even though people do it.

    I’m amazed you think fresh produce is cheap around here. Is this a joke? Do you know what’s the cheapest price for local pineapple? Almost 8 dollars.

    I’ve never seen anyone inviting themselves to a stranger’s party.

    I really don’t think the majority of restaurants are kosher. In Jerusalem – for sure, but in Tel Aviv/Haifa the majority isn’t kosher.

    It is not an insult not to bargain. They prefer to sell it to you at a higher price.
    Also shop assistants. Only want your money.

    Babies are NOT welcome everywhere. There had been many issues with restaurants asking women not to breastfeed. Just this week a woman complained about having to pay full price for a baby at the movies. Most responses were on the theatre’s side.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Shanna, are you sure you live in Israel? Who buys pineapple? This your example to show fresh fruits prices? And the other negative attitude….. Give me a break

      Like

    2. And for those who keep kosher, vegan is not an option, unless vegan restaurants follow kashrut standards for bug checking, orlah, netai revii, terumah, maser, and shemittah. Israel may be one of the only places where eating fruit can be MORE complicated than other foods.

      I’ve only been there for visits, but certainly it seemed much more baby friendly than the US. And indeed, on a mehadrin bus from Sanhedria Murchevet, a woman she had never seen before thrust her infant daughter into my wife’s lap with a curt Tachziki otah! and walked to the front of the bus to pay her fare.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. נשמע כמו ההרגשה שכל תייר מקבל בהגעתו לארץ אחרת.
    לא זוכר מתי פגשתי חבר חדש בשוק.
    כנ”ל מתי שמתי את הרגלים על מושב. (למרות שעושים פה את זה וזה חלק מתרבות ה”אני” המפותחת פה )
    להתלהב מזה שחם פה ואפשר ללכת עם כפכפים כל השנה?
    שמח שאת נהנת בארץ שנולדתי וגדלתי בה ואם המאמר הזה יביא תיירים ויתרום לכלכלת המדינה עוד יותר אשמח אבל בסופו של דבר זה נשמע לי כמו התלהבות של ההתחלה וקצת פתטי, בכל מקרה מאחל לך חופשה או עלייה טובה ובהצלחה!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi! I’ve read your article in one shot! Crazy!!!! 🙂
    I’m going to leave Italy in the next year and I’ve already planned to spend 6 (or 8.. or more perhaps!) months in Israel as a master’s candidate (I’m studying bioengineer right now). Do you have any advice? I’m just confused about the city I’ll choose (Jerusalem, Tel Aviv or Haifa?) Thank you!
    Regards,
    Matteo

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am so happy to hear that.
      What advice are you looking for in particular? There are loads of universities that would have bioengineering.
      Contact me on my email and we can talk.
      (You can find it on my profile page of this blog).

      Best wishes!

      Esther

      Like

  5. happy you loved israel, but lets get some points straight:
    3. even in israel it is considered rude to invite yourself to join other people’s picnic

    5. no, not all restaurants are kosher. in many areas the majority of restaurants are not. most jewish israelis are secular jews, who wish to eat on weekends too. restaurants opened on saturday
    cannot be kosher.

    8. you cannot and you should not leave your new-born child with someone you have never seen before. and you should not. israel, like all other countries in this sad world of ours, has her share of criminals and sexual predators.

    9. not all places are bad at deliveries. i know some very good places around the country who
    do deliveries 30 minutes after the order. can you beat that?

    10. actually, the the ultra-modern protection of credit-cards is entering israel and in several places
    you are required to enter IN numbers while paying. this will become the norm.

    25. there is no starbucks (came and closed) but there is cofix and aroma and many other excellent coffee shops. including cappuccino, late, au lait, macchiato, americano and whatever….

    26. when were you in israel ? most of the people work a Five-day working week.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Yeah I thought so. We came for a fortnight and loved it. Cheers Mike & Eileen.ps Eileen did a little twirl in a burger-bar with music and was asked to stay and ‘be a fact.’ as Ben Gurion said.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Totally awesome post, this makes me want to move to Israel right now! I was there for 10 days over Christmas and despite coming unstuck because the guy I was seeing was NOT clear about what he wanted at all, everything else was just as you describe. I was set up on 2 dates with lovely men via Facebook, thanks to a married couple I met in a cafe on Shabbat. The receptionist st my hotel gave me her brother’s phone number in the hope of a romance and everyone I met was amazingly nice. Even in the wind and rain, I was hooked.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. “Better” than what? Certainly better than the hypocrisy and materialism of the UK. Ten years this coming August, and NEVER a day of regret. Not when my husband was laid off 6 weeks before our daughter’s (subsequently cancelled) BatMitzvah party; Not at any time during any of the wars since we’ve been here; Not when a screw-up with my Bituach Leumi meant we had to take out a bank loan at an ridiculous rate of interest. NOT ONE DAY!!!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I’m not sure if you’re praising or condemning Israeli system.

        But just to add one thing – it’s not that אני חיה בסרט but I’ve never been happier in my life and would not exchange all those problems here for half of the problems in England.

        At the end of the way, when the mad rush is over, I can honestly say from the bottom of my heart: Israel, I love you. And that’s what matters most.

        Liked by 2 people

  8. People here in the comments take the author s words too literally.Of course you ahouldnt leave your child with strangers etc. But he s just trying to depict an atmosphere, which i felt too in Israel, of genuine helpful people and friendliness.The yelling part is true but not so much as argument as people speaking loudly and passionately expressing opinions.For a deadpan westerner that ‘s yelling for an Eastern european oike me that ‘s debate!

    Liked by 2 people

  9. I’ve been thinking: If Hilary is elected, where can I find a free country and more specifically, a place that has a hot dry climate like Phoenix, my home for 50+ years.
    Ber Sheva not tops my list.

    Like

    1. I will then link you with a person who made Aliyah from Phoenix and lives in Beersheva! Lived there myself for a year and loved every bit of it.

      Like

  10. Most of the article is very nice, but still it contains so many common misconceptions some foreigners/new-comers have about Israel and Israelis…
    1 – No, yelling is not acceptable.
    3 – No, you can’t just invite yourself to a party.
    13 – No, avoiding bargaining is not an insult. In many places bargaining happens, but even there it’s not an insult if you choose not to do that. In other places, bargaining is not acceptable.
    17 – No, you can’t wear flip flops all year.
    19 – No, keeping your feet on seats while traveling is not acceptable.
    25 – I’m sorry, but coffee in the US and UK tastes like urine. Israeli coffee is much better. And in other countries (like Italy, for example) it’s even better than in Israel.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I hate these articles. They are the reason that the anglos never really feel accepted in Israel, because they believe this BS. I don’t know who wrote it, but it doesn’t seem like she actually knows what’s acceptable here or not. Maybe someone told her some of these things are OK and she believed them or maybe she just made it up. No, it is never acceptable to be shouted at by a random person or to shout back! NO, you can’t invite yourself to someone’s party – they may not say anything to you, but believe me they won’t be happy. Why would this be acceptable behavior? It is really not acceptable to keep your feet on seats while travelling!!!! This one is a huge NO….do it and you’ll be plastered all over social media…I dare you to….Yep, there’s no Starbucks – that’s because they couldn’t compete with Israeli coffee, but I will leave that point alone, everyone was their own different taste. And, “It is an insult not to bargain” – what????? It’s ok if you’re in the shuk, but it’s really not OK anywhere else unless you want to be thought of as cheap….

    Like

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