This year, the number of Israelis leaving Israel for good will top 25,000. In the past three years, 60,000 people have left the country.
Interior Minister Ophir Pines-Paz says the country must do some soul searching, and hopes the "Gaza pullout and the improved economic and security situations that will follow" will bring about a positive change.
But the ones leaving are not the poor and the elderly, but rather the young and ambitious. They are drawn by the allures of other countries, because the spiritual values that drew Jews to the Land of Israel are no longer enough to keep them here.
Also this year, there has been a sharp rise in the number of youths avoiding military service. Overall, 12.5 percent of those legally required to serve were released for "psychological reasons."
Just as the émigrés, the shirkers do not come from the weaker sectors of society. Most are "good kids," and the IDF personnel branch is fully aware of the reason: "A loss of values in Israeli society. More and more soldiers are asking themselves 'what's in it (military service) for me,' rather than 'what can I contribute to the country.' "
The results of the recent Likud Central Committee vote came about as a result of a similar phenomenon: Ideology against (Knesset) “seatology.”
Personal interest vs. national emotions
These three phenomena – emigration, shirking military duty, and cynical "me first" politics – are reflected in the murky waters of the "new" Hebrew language.
The word "land" has disappeared, replaced with "real estate."
Similarly, war, enemy and victory have been erased. We die from a "conflict" that cannot be "won," but rather we must find a "political solution."
It's not the Palestinian people who murder us, but rather "terrorism." Therefore, in this "conflict" there is no enemy.
The phrase "Land of Israel" is also gone. Even the weather is described as "in the country". The IDF didn't withdraw or flee from Gaza, but rather "disengaged."
Also in Gaza, there was an "evacuation," not an expulsion (just like the Spanish evacuation of 1492.)
Redemption (personal, national or land-based) is now considered nothing more than a fanatic hallucination, as has the vision of our forefathers (try calling Israel "the inheritance of our forefathers.")
Revenge is rejected as a primitive instinct, settlements and settlers have become derogatory words, "homeland" has become "territory.”
The classic Hebrew phrases "aliyah," which means "going up to live in Israel" and "yerida" which means "going down from living in Israel," are also on the way out, in favor of the more sterile "immigration".
Judea and Samaria are simply called "the West Bank."
The use of the word "terrorist" is suspected of being subjective, and so is replaced with "activist" ("Hamas activist.”) In Israel, the word "terrorist" is reserved for Jews who kill Arabs.
Here in Israel, we still use some phrases taken from classic Zionist ideology, but only to belittle ideas long ago rejected as insane or pure fantasy.
Also, there are no more "Jews" here, only "Israelis." "Jews" live overseas and pop up once in a while down in Hebron, usually for some criminal purpose.
But let the reader be warned: These new language rules apply only to Jews. For the Palestinians – land, homeland, honor and national pride, expulsion and revenge – are all very much alive, and are treated with great respect.