“When people hear I’m from Israel, they always ask me, “How is it over there now?”. Or, “Why did you leave? Because of the situation there?” And also, “I’ve heard it’s a wonderful place”. Everyone has an opinion about Israel.
I came to Europe fourteen years ago to study in Rome. I met my Dutch wife there who was staying at the hotel I owned. Her work meant it was better for her to live in the Netherlands, and I was ready for a change, which is how we came to live in Amsterdam.
I found the city absolutely fantastic. Really refreshing. Rome is very old-fashioned and narrow-minded. Amsterdam is broad-minded. I would say that Tel Aviv and Amsterdam are actually quite similar in many ways. Tel Aviv is very liberal. And also small. And in some ways quite multicultural. One difference is that Tel Aviv is very chaotic, while in comparison I find Amsterdam a restful city. The one occasion when Amsterdammers tend to be less patient, is when they are on their bikes. If you move to slowly, they’ll start to shout at you. And if you try to push into a queue, you’ll be immediately called back. Amsterdam is small and pretty. I like the fact that there isn’t much poverty here. There’s no struggle to live. This is why life here is much more pleasant.
My wife and I lived in the centre for five years. We now have a baby - our son, Raz - and live in Noord. We try to raise Raz in as open and honest a way possible. I speak Hebrew with him, my wife Dutch. I also teach him about the Jewish holidays and food. Even though he’s not yet a year old, we’ve already thought about what kind of school he should attend. We have decided on a state school, and not a Jewish one. Which we will go to on the bicycle. Because if there’s one thing I’ve learned to do in Amsterdam, it’s ride a bike. I’ve also become more open-minded about different nationalities and cultures.”
1587 people in Amsterdam have the Israeli nationality