Having just returned from a recent and much too short trip to Israel I was reminded of the confusion which still exists in the minds of some Israeli’s concerning Canada and the United States.

While everyone seems to know and understand that Canada is a staunch friend of Israel there remains an assumption that all Canadian visitors are as wealthy as their American counterparts.

This is not helped by the fact that both our currencies are called dollars. Here the similarities end!

Due to decline in world oil and commodity prices, our dollar has, in recent months. dropped from its former par or close to par position against its US counterpart to anywhere from between 69 to 76 cents against the US dollar.

When one is purchasing US dollars prior to one’s trip this means that one US dollar can cost anywhere from $1.33 to $1.46 Canadian after fees and exchange profits are added on. In other words close to half as much again.

Also the Israeli shekel has strengthened markedly over the comparable period to the point that whereas in the past one got 4 Shekels to the Canadian dollar one know gets about 2.4 or almost half as many.

No longer can one simply divide by four to get the dollar equivalent.

While this impacts food and lodging costs while staying in Israel, more importantly for this writer, the costs of books and CDs are affected to the point that one must make conscious decisions as to what one can buy at any given point.

This is not always understood by the merchant on the other side of the counter anxious for a sale.

Still, once one has returned home with an energized spirit and re-enforced love of Israel it strikes one as churlish to dwell upon financial decimal point problems when one has just received so much that is inestimable.