- 42% identify as secular.
- 38% are traditional.
- 20% Orthodox, made up of:
- 12% are “religious Zionist”
- 8% are “ultra-Orthodox”.
This macro diversity is also reflected locally. Let’s take the two largest cities as an example. It’s easy to characterize:
- Jerusalem, a religious time-warp, walls dripping with legendary
stories of war
- Tel Aviv, thinks it’s NYC and Berlin, unaware of its real location, 200km from Damascus and Beirut.
In fact, songs have been written about the contrast between the two, which reflect different sides of our psyche. Yet, Jerusalem boasts a buzzing, intimate nightlife, and if you know where to look in Tel Aviv, there are many reminders that you’re in the Middle East.
So, it’s pointless to try and stereotype the “typical” Israeli, but be prepared for a:
- Dry sense of humour, equally fuelled by hopefulness and helplessness.
- Straightforward, robust, non-politically-correct attitude.
- “Seize the day”, live-for-the-moment approach.
- Curiosity and interest in outsiders.
Even the climate varies, from the green, hilly north to the desert in the south. This is a place of contrast.