18 Things I Learned About Israel After a Visit to Cyprus

1. We’re an independent State

During my visit to Cyprus I hardly ever got to see the sovereign flag hoisted by itself. There was always the Greek flag at its side, and sometimes it was even the Greek flag that was hoisted higher. The locals will explain that it has to do with culture, identity, history, and a host of other reasons. To the casual tourist it may look like another Greek island to which someone has painted a flag. In Israel too, we sometimes see the United States flag alongside the local flag, but that is more in the Wishful Thinking section.

2. It’s Crowded Here in Israel

Yes, we have a little more than twenty thousand square kilometers, including the Negev while the Cypriots have only about ten thousand square kilometers, but for every eight Israelis there is only one Cypriot. My first impression was that there is room for everyone on the road, on the street, in the city. Even the lines in the water park are particularly short. On the other hans, a small population means that it’s more diffucult to invest in large projects such as the light rail and tunnel mining under Tel Aviv (for example) or Iron Dome or you name it, simply because taxes are not enough. On the other hand, when you arrive in Cyprus you will see that the last thing you lack is a train, protection from Hamas rockets or paying more taxes.

3. The VAT in Israel is High

Despite the low number of people in Cyprus compared to Israel, and the fact that there are far fewer taxes coming to the state, the VAT rate in Cyprus is only nine percent. Each time you sit in a restaurant in Cyprus or buy something for your child in the toy store or buy a home item… In Israel, you pay a VAT of 17 percent for the very same stuff. It’s so much more.

4. No Sunrise Over the Sea for Us

Well, sunsets on Gordon beach in Tel Aviv are awesome, but once you see a sunrise over the beach of Phoenicodes or Mackenzie in Larnaca you will definietly want to open an many days as possible with this view.  It’s omething that we can never experience in Israel.

5. Salaries are Relatively Good (in Israel)

In Cyprus, they earn an average of about NIS 4,500 a month and in Israel the salary is about double that sum. They’d sure like to trade with us for that.

6. Israelis Believe in Healthy Food

A trip through five Cypriot cities did not succeed in bringing me to a natural store where food is considered healthier. In Israel there are private nature stores and also a chain or two that lives from the importance that Israelis attach to the subject. For some Israelis, the preference for a healthy diet is already a religion. The Cypriots, on the other hand, continue to eat like we did here in Israel in the 1970s and 1980s (and smoking accordingly). The fries are the most popular addition on the island for each main course. On the other hand they enjoy a calmer urban and rural environment and fresh air coming from the sea in four directions.

7. Russian are The Same Everywhere Along The Coast

On the beach in Limassol and on the beaches in Tel Aviv you may spot elderly Russians who like to get out from the water and instead of running for the towel, just stand in the sun to dry. Ten minutes, twenty minutes, half an hour. That’s how you build up a strong nation.

8. Our Airport is Too Big

In comparison to the airports of Larnaca and Paphos, our airport (Ben Gurion International) is even more out of proportion, and there is something more pleasant about getting in and out of a small, quiet terminal than through a huge and endless building, so it is true that there are larger airports in the world, Still, I wish we had a cypriot size airport.

9. And The Wardrobes on The Beaches, Too.

At least compared with those in Cyprus that barely suffice for a person and a half.

10. We Have Too Many Cities Stuck to One Another.

If a Cypriot arrives in Israel, it will be difficult for him to distinguish between Tel Aviv, Ramat Gan, Givatayim, Bnei Brak or Kiryat Ono. In Israel, because of the narrow strip most of the people live on, the cities are stuck together and in fact long lost the logic behind them and it was best to unite a large part of them. In Cyprus, however, Larnaca, Limassol, Paphos or Nicosia are isolated from each other and you can understand where the city begins and where it ends. The urban space of Cyprus is clearly better defined.

11. Our Snow is Confined Too Much in The North

While in Cyprus the Trodos Mountains and especially Mount Olympus, which rises to nearly 2000 meters high are located in the heart of the island, Our Hermon and the little snow it promises during the winter season are is way up in the north. Cypriots have easy access to ski resorts from all over the island. We Israelis have to go a long way before we can step on a little soft snow.

12. We Do Not Have Enough Infrastructure to Hold Lag B’Omer

In Cyprus, the Bar Kokhba Revolt is not celebrated by bonfires all across the country once a year. and it is a shame because there are many vacant lots and even in city centers. In Israel, everyone somehow manages to light a neighborhood bonfire even when empty lots are so scarce.

13. We Are Not The Only Fools Who Paint The Sidewalk Like a Race Track

In Cyprus, too, they do this, but not for the purpose of marking empty parking spaces, and never in blue or red or yellow.

14. It Does Not Make Sense How Much an Apartment Costs Here

Still, when you are facing a local real estate agency in Cyprus and see the prices of the apartments offered to investors or locals (mainly investors), the jaw drops, the mouth opens and the eyes too. Although the salary is half, the price gap in real estate is a quarter, a sixth or a mere eighth in their favor.

15. Or a Car …

So many luxury cars will not be seen on any Israeli street. In Cyprus they buy lots of Mercedes, BMW, Audi and models of Lamborghini and Porsche. In fact, in Cyprus these are not luxury cars but simply vehicles. When there is no 100 percent tax on cars, you suddenly discover that you can drive in the best (and most secure) cars and not apologize for it.

16. There Are Too Many Dog Gardens Here

When and how the relationship between single men and women in their twenties and the most loyal pets was formed is an unanswered question. In Israel, the number of dogs living in rented apartments (with or without partners) as well as the number of dog gardens and their temporary occupants barking constantly is something that has long passed the bar of primitive logic.

17. An Authority Should be Established For Rope and Water Parks

Despite the high birth rate and the number of children running through the streets of our cities, Israel discriminates against its sons and daughters with too few water parks and rope parks. One explanation may be the fact that a large percentage of visitors to these sites are tourists. Tourism to Cyprus is stronger than that which comes to Israel, especially when it comes to tourists who come for sports and recreation. Israel is still able to provide more fun rides and extreme sports fun for children.

18. Our Tahini is Awesome

Yes, in Cyprus you can easily find tehina (but less easily humus) and the only thing with it is that its taste is not exactly that of Israeli tehina. In general, the Israeli tahini feels more tasty, but this is exactly what the Cypriots think about their tahini.

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