I am not a sociologist or an anthropologist, but my Israeli identity and Israeli experiences make me realize this time and again, especially when I come back to Europe from Israel, or when I land in Israel after a long stay in Europe. Sometimes I just want to tell random people in the streets of Europe that they really need to appreciate what they have!

The last thing you can say about Israeli people is that they have peaceful lives. In Israel I always get this feeling that everything is a big chaos, particularly now when I live outside of Israel and I can compare between life in Israel and life in Europe. Mostly, the atmosphere in Israel is affected by the security situation, but there are other reasons as well.

The problem with this specific security situation in Israel is that this situation affects every sphere of the average Israeli person’s life. Besides the great stress that almost everybody shares, the economic sphere is a great and simple example; there we see how budgets that were meant to be used for education, health and welfare systems are being used over and over for security needs. This is happening all the time, and not only recently after last summer’s events. War costs money and the occupation as well. This means that the common Israeli person pays a great price in his or her personal life. As if it is not enough that we all must serve in the army, we also don’t get the best education or health care that we could have get, and we pay very high taxes. On top of all these you can add the Middle Eastern heat, a global economic crisis, permanent threats from our neighbors across the borders, rockets in the south from Hamas and in the north from Syria, and the list continues…. In short, it is a mess!

The aim of this blog is not to complain, but to maybe give a few of you a different perspective about your lives in the Netherlands. I wish people around me would have more appreciation for their life here. I hear many people who complain very often, and I want to tell them that life can be a lot worse than they could have ever imagined. It is important not to take for granted what you have, and to also learn to be thankful for what you have.

I don’t know if life in Europe will always be peaceful as today, compared to the Middle East and other places where life is a permanent struggle. Recently we have heard many voices of worried people who are concerned about Europe’s future. The way I see it, we can’t really achieve much with worrying. Maybe it is better first to acknowledge what we have here, to show gratitude, and to stop taking everything for granted, because nothing lasts forever.

Lees ook deel één, twee, drie, viervijf,  zes en zeven van  ‘A diary of an Israeli woman in the Netherlands’.


Ronie Barel

verhuisde van Israël naar Nederland, activist, blogger

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