It's a real struggle to get by in Israel. High taxes, low salaries and the prodigious cost of big ticket items--housing, cars, Gillete Sensor razors (double what they cost in Canada)--are the main reasons. Like many Israelis, our bank balance is generally on the negative side and, like many Israelis, we survive on Visa and its convenient eighteen easy payments plan.

It's 1 March: rent time. A sort of mini Asian crisis descends upon our household--unfortunately, we don't have access to the IMF. Please God, let there be enough money in the bank. Well, how about half?

The tough economic conditions together with the regional tension, hot climate and extraordinary pace of events here, make life in Israel a pressure filled proposition by any reckoning. It's like living in a permanent state of WinZip.

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