Traveling or living somewhere new is always an amazing opportunity to learn new things and engage in new experiences. And it’s almost impossible not to see differences between somewhere you previously lived and somewhere you are currently living. So I thought it might be interesting to see what differences have been apparent to me while living here in Israel.
*Please note that these observations are solely based on my seven months of living in Haifa.
1. Police car lights
Unlike Canada, where police car lights are off when they have no need to stop someone or speed off on an emergency, in Israel, police cars always have their flashing lights on. When they want to stop someone, you will know not by their lights turning on, but by their sirens going off.
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2. Bag checks
Don’t be alarmed if you are going into a mall and a security guard stops you at the door and asks to check your bag. This is a very common occurrence here in Israel. Whenever you go into certain public places, such as a mall, bank, train station, or grocery store, your bag will be checked by a security guard. Sometimes it will even be put through one of those X-Ray machines (like the ones you see at airports! No idea what the actual name for those machines are to be honest).
If you’re thinking that these bag checks are a hindrance because they will take up a lot of your time, I want to let you know that this really isn’t the case. These bag checks are very quick – truthfully, the security guards have never checked my bag thoroughly (i.e., looking inside zippers or pockets), sometimes it has even just been a quick look into the bag and they wave me off. My impression of these checks is so that it deters people from doing anything funny.
I’ve also noticed that some malls have body scanners as well that you pass through as you walk in.
I’ve never driven a car into a mall parking before, so I wonder if that would also have similar security measures? (Does anyone know?) Would they check your trunk?
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Halloween doesn’t seem to be a thing here in Israel. Back home, it was a biiiig deal; decorations everywhere, pumpkins everywhere, and costumes being sold in many stores. The closest thing that I saw to the “Halloween spirit” in Haifa was a girl wearing ghost-themed socks.
Granted, there appears to be something like Halloween here (but in February?). I am assuming it is like Halloween only based on the fact that currently I see costumes in stores and the other day I saw a boy dressed up as an FBI agent and a girl dressed as an angel. I may be way far off and I’m embarrassed at my lack of knowledge on what is being celebrated in Israel with regards to kids wearing costumes – but I hope that in the upcoming weeks I will be able to speak with an Israeli and ask them about it.
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4. No picking up after pets
OH MY SWEET DEAR LORD.
This is one of those things that I could live without. In Canada, I am used to people picking up after their dogs. So, the sidewalks back home are typically clean. Sure, there may be that one person that doesn’t pick up their dog’s poo, but if anyone sees them not picking it up, they will be scolded (or at least given a death glare). But in Israel?
I have not seen one individual pick up after their dog (this does not mean that no one does, it just means that I haven’t seen anyone do it). So when you walk on the sidewalk, you’ll be constantly looking at the ground to make sure you don’t step in anything that you don’t want to be stepping into.
Have you ever traveled anywhere and noticed things that were very different from your country or culture? What were they?