First Impression of Israel

First Impression of Israel

Sitting in my hotel in Jerusalem, I ponder upon what is my first impression of Israel. From outside, this country of conflicts and controversies poses a kind of insecurity to people who want to visit it. I too had my apprehensions.

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1. Not so conservative – Living thousands of kilometers away and hearing all kinds of news, I always thought Israel would be very conservative. In fact, barring one, all the dresses and tops I packed were long skirts, trousers or tops with with long sleeves . Tel Aviv, our first city, made us change our views, very quickly. It looks like any modern society of the world, though it is conservative in its own sense.

2. Beautiful landscape – Large parts of Israel is desert, but still the landscape is very beautiful with gentle rolling hills all around, scenic valleys, beauiful beaches on the mediterranean sea which are not crowded and green fertile oases expanding into the distance, that supports plethora of flora and fauna. To add to it, spotted here and there, are ancient ruins, some of them more than a couple of millenia old. Whereever you stumble, there is a biblical story waiting to be heard!

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3. Vegetarian Food – First thing that we noticed was, you don’t have to ‘look’ for vegetarian food. Variety of it is right there in front of us! The tasty Falafal and hummus in a pita bread with various sauces is my favorite. There are soups, fries, baked vegetables, bourekas, quiche and many types of bread and cheese etc. The list goes on. Olive is an essential ingredient in Israeli cooking. Many Israelis now opt for Vegetarian or Vegan food. Don’t be surprised if you see a restaurant sporting 100% Vegan sign!

4. English speaking – English is spoken by most. I am told that many Israelis speak at least four languages! Hebrew, Arabic, English and the language of the country from where they arrived here after the formation of Israel. Our guide could speak five.

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5. Jerusalem has character – Jerusalem, the source of the 3 important mono-theistic religion, is like no other city I have visited in my life. Mostly conservative, most houses sport the same color as the old city since they all use the same stone, dolomite. I have been to many religious towns but this one is clearly different. Though all houses seem similar yet there is something which forces us to love it more and the reason is not religion alone!

6. Cost of living – It is more expensive than most Asian countries. In fact almost as much as Europe! While speaking to people here, I figured, there are a lot of things that have to be imported. Water is life and ensuring the habitable parts of Israel has enough water is a challenge.

There are two more days to go and there is so much to see and learn.

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35 thoughts on “First Impression of Israel

  1. Great read…… The people I’ve talked to here in the states from Israel say that it is expensive there. They buy there Cameras here in the states to save money . Just a thought.

  2. Wonderful. Now a days finding Israelis travelling to even remote parts of India is common. Recently I met a group of Israelis on a conducted tour and they all spoke English. The mountain goat (Tahr)you have captured looks majestic. The species we find here do not sport a beard.

  3. PNS,
    Yes, we saw many people from Kerala especially in health sector. .. otherwise it was hard to find an Indian. 🙂

    I think the animal is Gazelle, they were so beautifully camouflaged with the surroundings.

  4. Great photos. Waiting for more. The majestic animal maybe a Gazelle, though I am not quite sure.

  5. Great post! Planning a trip to Lebanon and Israel in October and this will help!

  6. Aradhana,
    Errrr… Israel and Lebanon don’t go hand in hand due to political situations. There are a few countries you’ll have to avoid if you are visiting Israel.

  7. Concise, well written post. Told me so much about the country and makes we want to go there now. I am a vegetarian and would love to go to a place where vegetarian food is exciting… food is such an integral part of travel.

  8. Cool,looks like a great place, and I am so happy to see that wildlife is still thriving in such a densely populated land, that has been inhabited ever since humans started living at one place….looking forward to more….

  9. Wow!
    this is a country I never wanted to visit till I read your this post. looking forward to knowing more abt it.

  10. Wow!! My first impressions of this place were courtesy – books and novels that had their plot revolving around Israel. This is a great post, adding another dimension to the mental image I have of this place.

  11. Wandering Mist,
    Thank you.

    I would love if you comment with your name and not with your blog’s name. We like real people. 😀

      1. Yes, it happened earlier too. What device are you using to comment? Probably my site doesn’t like that and is asking you by ????

        Don’t worry, I changed it to smiley. 😀

    1. Thank you.

      Such a myth around these countries. Unless we visit them, we always have doubts about everything.

      And I changed those ???? to smilies 😀

  12. Its really interesting to read your first impressions of Israel, I fear my opinions have been formed only from heresay and the media – which can be very misleading! The food sounds amazing, and the landscape quite remarkable – I would love to go and see for myself!

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