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October 27, 2014 10:48 pm

Thoughts From a Recent Trip to Israel

avatar by Ronn Torossian

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Humans of Tel Aviv. Photo: Erez Kaganovitz

Humans of Tel Aviv. Photo: Erez Kaganovitz.

I just returned from a whirlwind trip to Israel, and here are some observations from the October, post-Chagim trip:

  • Electric bicycles are all the rage in Tel Aviv. For a city that deals with terrible traffic, it’s amazing how many people are now getting around with electric bikes. I had never thought of it as a transportation option before – and only from Google discovered that apparently electric bikes are illegal in the State of New York. Seems like a safer alternative to the mopeds that used to be everywhere in Tel Aviv.
  • The economic gap between the middle and upper class continues to grow. The countless high tech companies of the Start-up Nation continue to transform the Jewish State, but the climate makes it increasingly hard for people who work at typical Israeli institutions. Meanwhile, the cost of living is as expensive as New York City. From groceries to clothes, it’s very clear that costs are high, and salaries are not.
  • It’s smply amazing how much building is being done in Tel Aviv. One cannot go a single city block without seeing real estate projects, construction crains – throughout the day and night. Prices continue to go up, and mortgages are very low (under 3%.) Investors all over the world will always be connected to Israel for personal reasons – and the real estate boom which (thus far) continues is absolutely astonishing.
  • For a country which draws the world media to focus on its political situation so intensely, it is always amazing to me how many people have so little interest in politics. In the business world they continue to go on with life, immune to Netanyahu, United Nations condemnations, or the headlines that Jews in America often read and obsess over. And they are clearly very happy – it is apparent while people-watching. Food for thought.

Ronn Torossian is an entrepreneur – who always loves visiting Israel.

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