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Regards from Israel: Surveys…and more surveys

By BRUCE BROWN Israel ranked among the top five worst countries to work in, according to the William Russell International Insurance Agency. Really?! The survey says we work an average of 36.6 hours per week. Is that all? With a minimum of twelve days annual leave. Is that so bad?

But we scored quite high for maternity leave with twenty-seven weeks. Now I work much more than the average. Much! And I get a whopping twenty-two vacation days a year. Same for my wife who also enjoyed the benefits of a long maternity leave. Twice! The other four worst countries rounding out this survey are” Mexico (the worst), followed by the United States (yes the U.S.), Greece, and then South Korea. Quite frankly I wasn’t overly impressed with this survey. Its criteria and reasoning are somewhat weak.
In another survey, Tel Aviv made the UBS Global Real Estate 2022 Bubble list… being one of the top ten cities with a severe housing bubble. Given Tel Aviv’s 2021 rank as the most expensive city in the world, according to the Economist magazine and my wallet, this is really no surprise. To wit, housing prices increased threefold between 2001 and 2017. And, during 2022 – climbed another 18%. Also included in the top ten severe housing bubble cities are Toronto and Vancouver. Winnipeg is not on the list. 
And, in another survey, this one by Erudera, the education search platform – Israel is the fifth most educated country in the world with more than 50% of Israelis holding a higher education degree. This despite Rabbi Yitzchak Godknofp, the United Torah Judaism’s (UTJ) party chairman, claiming that math and English studies have no effect on Israel’s economy. Really?! In his attempt to defend these core subjects not being taught in Orthodox schools. By the way, Canada was in top spot with almost 60% of Canucks holding a tertiary degree. And in Canada all schools teach the 3R’s.. 
Back to Ben & Jerry’s. One of my favorite subjects when the big brouhaha (love that word) erupted back in late 2021. Something about Unilever, owner of the ice cream maker, placing limitations on where their Israeli franchisee can sell ice cream due to borders, demarcation lines and other nouveau-political considerations. Quite frankly that whole story was overblown and overcomplicated. Yada. Yada. Yada. One year later and the over-priced ice cream is still available throughout Israel. Yes, I even saw the tiny pint (is a pint tiny or large?) on sale in Jerusalem kiosks, one of the contested areas. Geopolitical ice cream battles be damned. I will continue to enjoy my Chunky Monkey, Cherry Garcia, Half Baked and New York Super Chunk. Actually. To be honest. I am very ‘vanilla’ with my ice cream. Preferring Cookies & Cream, Chocolate. And. Well. Vanilla. I digress.
Talking about demarcation. Israel just signed a historic maritime border agreement with Lebanon. Enabling both countries to enjoy the abundance of gas located deep bellow their respective territorial waters. This means we can continue to explore our Northern Karish gas field without the risk of Hezbollah missiles. And we will obtain royalties from Lebanon’s Kana field. Albeit still indirect as there is no peace treaty. According to Prime Minister Yair Lapid, Defense Minister Benny Gantz and Energy Minister Karin Elharrar, money will flow into the state’s treasury, our energy independence is secured and our security and economy strengthened. Not bad. And just before elections (the cynic in me). Israel, the land of milk and honey and natural gas.
Here’s yet another survey. Also by William Russell. Israel has the sixth highest number of practicing dentists per 1,000 people. So why do I pay so much for dental care? Whereas Canada has one of the lowest numbers of practicing dentists. Actually, when comparing the costs of braces, fillings and tooth extractions -ouch, ouch and triple ouch- with my fellow Canadians they can’t believe how cheap it is here. Maybe I should start a dental tourism business. You know. Israel the land of milk and honey and low-cost dentistry.
Regards From Israel,

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