FAQ on Israel part 2
Which foods are mostly eaten?
Hummus and pita bread, clearly. Norwegians always have butter and brown cheese in their fridge. Israelis have hummus. You can buy a bucket of hummus for 20-25 DKK/NOK. You can always find pita bread in the freezer, and it’s a crisis if you run out of it. Hummus fills your stomach, and you can vary with different spices, like chili, garlic, paprika, or serve it together with meat or chickpeas and vegetables. Everyday foods we often eat can be schnitzel of chicken, burekas (butter dough stuffed with cheese or potato), rice and potato, sweet potato, Ptitim and chicken soup. It´s also very common to have fresh vegetables for breakfast and lunch, drizzled with some olive oil and salt.
Which airline is popular to use in Israel?
Many Israelis use El Al, which is an Israeli company. Pegasus Airlines and Air Baltic are also cheap and popular airlines. These airlines often make an intermediate stop in Poland or in Istanbul. When we fly, we mostly check Norwegians flight before other companies. They have good and cheap direct flights from Tel Aviv. They actually just opened a direct flight to Gardermoen, Norway, which we like very much!
What is the best thing about living in Israel?
The people! We have met many warm and open people, – genuine people. Life and freedom is precious and it is not something that is taken for granted. The history of this country and its people has put its mark and we feel that there is a deeper awareness of the values of life. It makes every new acquaintance very interesting.
And of course the amazing nature, the historical places dating thousands of years back in time, and the great fast-food restaurants that serve really tasty falafel, hummus, and shawarma.
How are the working conditions?
The working conditions in Israel are good, but tough. Many workplaces are working 6 days a week, with only Shabbat off for resting, all tough more and more workplaces begin to include Friday in the weekends. Luckily for us, Ariel is in the last category.
The salary level is relatively low, compared to the cost of living, which means that you just have less. That’s why it is commonly known that both the man and the woman have work in order to keep a household. The minimum annual salary in Israel is about 35,000 shekels, – for comparison, teachers and nurses earn a median salary of 60,000 to 70,000 shekels a year, while people who are self-employed usually make 110,000 to 120,000 shekels a year.
A usual working week consists of 43 hours, 8,5 hours a day. According to the law, there is twelve days vacation per year. A female employee is entitled to a maternity leave of 26 weeks (only part of which is paid), while men are entitled to share maternity leave with their spouse (usually one or two weeks).
How is it like to talk to the orthodox Jews, are they reserved or open?
There are different levels of religious Jews, which we will write more about in a separate blog post. The orthodox jews usually live in Jerusalem, Safed or in separate areas or villages like Meron, which is close to us. So, even though we see them around, we don’t get to talk to them much.
Once we had to go to a lawyer in Safed, who was orthodox. Ariel said hi and shook his hand, but when I pulled my hand forward, he backed off and pointed at his Kipa, as to say that he couldn’t shake a woman hand. Quite embarrassing.
When we had Sela, we shared a room at Ziv hospital with a religious Jewish mother. She was warm and open and we had many good talks together.
Ariel once met a religious man at the pool in Amirim. They had an hour-long talk and he opened up about his life and his faith. Many of the people we meet often mention God, and it seems like He plays an important role in their lives.
How open are you about being a Christian, and how do people react?
In our daily life, we are always open about our faith in God. When people ask us directly what religion we belong to, we answer that we are Christians. If they ask more about it, we explain what we believe in. We haven’t had any special reactions, we have only met respect for having personal beliefs.
Our impression is that many Jews, also not-religious jews have a negative look at Christianity. Many assume you are either an Orthodox Christian or a Catholic, which are the two essential directions within Christianity here in Israel. Therefore we rarely start with saying we are Christians. We would rather get the know the people we are talking to before they jump to conclusions and put a stamp on us.
Anything you would like to ask us?