73 Reasons I love Israel on Her Birthday (and ALWAYS!)

1.More than half of Israel’s 9.2 million people have received both doses of a COVID-19 vaccine. True testament to the “let’s get on with it” and back to life mentality.

2.Israel has more unicorns per capita than any other country. The Startup Nation is now the Scaleup Nation.

3.More than 20,000 immigrants from 70 countries moved to Israel in 2020. A global pandemic wasn’t going to stop em.

4.How every meal is more delicious than the next and usually the most basic of ingredients.

5.How you can go to a hospital and be taken care of completely by telemedicine.

6.That it is totally acceptable to have 4+ kids (at any age!)

7.The fact that you can buy a microwave or a waffle maker at the gas station.

8.Constant unasked opinion sharing and criticism.

9.How your kids first meal is most likely cucumber and tomatoes.

10.Always being told “Labriute” (“Bless You”) even by total strangers after every sneeze.

11.Crushing on Israeli soldiers in uniform on the bus.

12.Tearing up every time I sing Hatikva (the Israeli National Anthem.)

13.Becoming a certifiable master argumentalist.

14.Being told “Beteavon” (Bon Appetite) by any passerbyer that sees me eating a snack or meal.

15.Having limited to zero access to next day delivery of essential goods. (Hello Amazon Prime?)

16.Always feeling like I don’t have to worry should I need a helping hand.

17.Jerusalem stone and Bauhaus architecture.

18.Watermelon and Bulgarian cheese on the beach.

19.How we respect our elders.

20.Forgetting the words, “please,” “thank you,” and “excuse me.”

21.Galgalatz Radio playing the long lost hits of the 70s and 80s constantly.

22.Never using a clothes dryer or an iron again.

23.Appreciating a trip to America, and appreciating even more the trip home to Israel.

24.Having no filter when I speak.

25.Wearing jeans to weddings.

26.Wild hand gestures.

27.The mass overload of cement trucks.

28.Sleeping all day Saturdays.

29.Referring to the Supermarket as just “super.”

30.Bagged milk.

31.Shower squeegees.

32.The use of side sauces on pizza.

33.Hitchhiking.

34.That we’re stuck in the sixties.

35.Wearing the same thing a few days in a row without a second glance.

36.Hairdressers on every corner.

37.Everyone is a certified social worker.

38.Burials free of charge.

39.Pushing your trolley filled with fresh produce around a crowded shuk.

40.Bank employees relying completely on paper documents in outdated binders.

41.Total lack of price control.

42.Not being a slave to your hair and nails (and no need for makeup!)

43.Eggplant hair color.

44.Coffee shop offices.

45.Twenty-four hour access to the “Kotel” (Western Wall.)

46.Conducting business meetings in flip-flops.

47.The extreme respect for weather (“one week” snow days.)

48.Not having to worry about eating bread on Passover.

49.Incorporating words like “yaa’la,” “balagan,” “nu,” and “sababa” into my everyday vocabulary.

50.Kosher shrimp sushi and cheese burgers.

51.Becoming a polyglot.

52.Feeling like I am at a never-ending Jewish family reunion.

53.Coffee and newspapers Friday morning.

54.Asking a total stranger to watch your baby.

55.Sitting in the front seat with your cab driver while he complains about his wife.

56.Free side salads with every meal.

57.Unlimited ultrasounds when you’re pregnant.

58.70’s and 80’s American music stars still performing and in demand.

59.Having coffee with your gynaecologist on Friday morning.

60.No public transport on the Sabbath.

61.Three dollar roses on Fridays.

62.Negotiating anything down from your gas bill to your Internet carrier.

63.Ten-year-old Sex and the City episodes on prime time cable.

64.TV and radio news broadcasts every hour on the hour.

65.Acceptable driving etiquette includes honking and cutting off lanes.

66.Crowded balloon greetings at the airport.

67.Queues really being a bygone formality.

68.When you enter a building without having your purse searched or walking through a detection device, it feels very weird.

69.Paying $10 for a bottle of Listerine or a jar of peanut butter.

70.Feeling right at home on an El Al flight.

71.Developing a stomach of steel: Finally being able to quietly digest shwarma and hummus.

72.Always being in the world headlines.

73.Because it is real. Because it is ours. Because everything is personal.

Happy 73rd beautiful!

About the Author
Leah Stern is currently Global Communications Partner at OurCrowd, promoting the world's leading venture investment platform to the world media, as well as OurCrowd's 240+ portfolio companies. Stern is also founder of London based "Stern Power Limited," a full service tech PR and communications agency made up of ex-journalists that deliver high quality media relations, press strategy and storytelling. Stern served as producer and anchor for the Israeli Government Press Office News in Jerusalem, and continues to act as a multimedia journalist and content producer for Huffington Post, BuzzFeed, The Jerusalem Post, The Times of Israel, and Miami Herald. Stern was formerly the SE Regional Director of NPH USA, a non-profit organization that responds to the plight of orphaned and abandoned children in Latin America. Stern has spent the past ten years as an international correspondent in the Middle East as a TV reporter, anchor and editor for IBA News in Jerusalem, Israel's only local English language news program. Stern frequently directed, produced, and filmed news features in Israel for CNN's World Report Program. Stern was embedded with the Israel Defense Forces during Israel's disengagement from Gaza; broadcasted live war reporting during the second Lebanon War from Israel's north; Conducted Inside coverage of Pope John Paul II's Funeral in Rome; Documented a two-day journey in Ethiopia with the Falash Mura. From 2010-2012, Stern was based in Rome, serving as a liaison between the Israeli government and the Vatican, producing content for the world media and social networking avenues, including Vatican TV co-productions. Stern is fluent in Hebrew, conversational in Italian, proficient in HD video shooting, SLR photography and editing. Stern graduated with honors, from the University of Miami with a degree in film production and Political Science and studied abroad at the renowned Film, Arts, Music University in Prague.
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