Thursday, Feb. 25
Written by Rabbi Joel Nickerson
Our trip was off to a good start this afternoon. We met with Paul Liptz who laid out some of the major opportunities and challenges facing Israel right now.
A few examples:
– Did you know that Israel is ranked as the 11th country in the world on the Happiness index?
– Did you know that Israel was recently included in the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) as the 36th most democratic country in the world, categorized as a ‘hybrid democracy’?
– Did you know that most Israelis earn half, or less, of their equivalent American colleagues?
– Did you know that Israel is placed as 56th out of 135 countries in terms of gender equality?
– Did you know that unfortunately, half of the Arab Israeli population is living under the poverty line while at the same time, 21% of the undergraduate students at the prestigious Technion University are Arab Israelis?
– Did you know that while Russian immigrants have successfully integrated into Israeli society and the workforce, Israel continues to struggle to incorporate the nearly 135,500 Ethiopian Jews into society with their monthly income close to $1,700 less than the average Israeli?
– Did you know that the average number of children in Israeli families (Arab, Secular Israeli, Ultra-Orthodox, etc.) is highest in the developed world at about 3 per woman?
And we learned so much more!
We gathered at the Windmill in Yemin Moshe to mark the start of our journey and tomorrow will be a full day around Jerusalem as we prep for Shabbat!