FAQ on Israel Part 1
Is it safe to walk outside?
Yes, it´s safe to walk outside. Generally, it is peaceful and quiet in most areas, especially here in the north where we are. You will experience a very relaxed and “normal” everyday life. Most villages, kibbutzes or smaller societies have fences around all living quarters. By the entrance, there is often a gate. The fence keeps out strangers or wild animals such as boars and shackles, which we see a lot in our surrounding areas.
Security for Israeli citizens is always the first priority. It´s said that 80% of the paid taxes go the country´s security. You can experience that everywhere, at the airport, train stations, shopping malls, schools and other public facilities. Security guards and metal detectors is a completely normal thing, and everyone has accepted the disadvantages and delays it may cause. Next to that, a big percentage of people on the streets, have served in the military, and have been educated in how to deal with dangerous and life-threatening situations. Many have permission to carry a gun, and many feel comfortable wearing it in their belt. It seems like everyone is ready to take care of each other, which gives a unique atmosphere of safety and security.
Do you notice the conflict in Syria/Gaza/the west bank?
Yes and no. The news channels cover most of the conflict, so you can follow along in them if you want to. We choose to not follow along that much. We trust our prime minister very much, also the IDF (the military in Israel). Sometimes a conflict escalates like we have seen a lot of in Gaza this summer, with fires and violent demonstrations. In these situations, we pray for our country, for the people that have responsibility and are in the middle of it all. We also talk about our feelings and thoughts concerning the situation, so we don´t make room for any negative or depressing thoughts. We feel safe here, we can honestly say we don´t have anything to fear.
Does everyone have to serve in the military?
Basically, its said that every Israeli has to serve in the IDF, both girls and boys. Boys have a serving time of two years and eight months, while girls have two years and four months. The exception concerns the Muslims, Druze and Circassian women and married women. In some cases, there are orthodox Jews or other Israelis that do not wish to serve. It can be because of religion or lack of qualification. These people get to do community service instead, where they work thirty to forty hours per week, for twelve or twenty-four months.
Is it difficult to learn Hebrew?
Some people say Hebrew is just as hard to learn as Chinese. We say, yes, Hebrew is difficult to learn, but luckily not impossible! The language has its own letters, signs that are written from right to left. Every letter has several sounds that are stipulated by dots or lines underneath the letter itself. The dots and lines are only used in school until the children memorize how the words are pronounced.
The state offers immigrants an educational Hebrew program, a five-month program, called ulpan. Are you a persevering and eager student, you can expect to be able to communicate in Hebrew after six months. Would you like to read more about Hebrew, I can recommend this site.
Is there a lot of variety in the grocery stores?
Surprisingly yes! A lot more than we are used to. The stores we usually go to our big, bright and clean stores, with a similar standard as many stores in Norway and Denmark. Of course, this varies from city to city, and which kind of store you seek. You´ll also find more kiosk like stores, where there is not much variation. Read our experiences from the Israeli supermarket here.
Anything you would like to ask us?