Photo: Amnon Meranda
Favorite Destination (Illustration)
Photo: Amnon Meranda

The Israeli way

Effort to attract ex-Israelis welcome, but why not invest in citizens before they leave?

Bravo. The government of Israel embarked on a campaign to bring former Israelis leaving abroad back to Israel. We are now offering absorption packages, benefits, aid, and various types of temptations. The question is, however, why don’t we invest in them even before they decide to leave?


I chose to ask this innocent question because on the same day we were informed of this campaign, I saw another news story: In the past few years, the number of young couples who realized their entitlement for a mortgage declined by 60 percent.


I asked a friend who understands economics to translate the story to Hebrew for me. He explained that those young couples do not have the ability to pay back loans. When we add this to the university strike, the school strike, the low level of personal security, the dozens of years of investing in wrong priorities, and the sense that people only care about themselves, which the government has adopted as a policy– one easily understands why people choose to leave Israel and head to other countries.


This welcome campaign to bring back former Israelis (and let’s hope it succeeds) is yet another example of our government’s conduct in almost any walk of life: Short-term solutions, lacking a worldview, lacking a vision, without long-term objectives that we should be striving for. When there is a fire, they try to put it out. When there is a problem, they come up with a campaign.


School strike as an example

During the last general strike, the one that also included an airport strike, we received gut-wrenching reports about families who sought to go on vacation. We saw interviews with suffering fathers, sorrowful mothers, and children who were prevented the right to fly to Turkey and other desired locales.


The distress of the deprived was being heard loud and clear, tears were flowing, and prayers were making their way to the heavens. All of us were shocked. Even the heart of the Histadrut labor federation’s chairman broke, the airport’s gates were opened, and Israelis were on their way abroad within half a day.


And now, we had a teachers’ strike that lasted almost two months. Everyone talks about the importance of education, but for two months there were no classes held in Israel’s high schools. The truth is that like many others, I don’t quite understand what’s going on, but one thing is clear: Israeli students were out of school for two months.


When the prime minister was finally kind enough to intervene, after he characterized the demands for him to do so as chutzpa, he did it too late and too meekly, using the twisted excuse of inviting the teachers’ representative to light Hanukah candles together.


What can I say: we’re lucky to have the holidays. This enables us, instead of rolling back our sleeves and addressing the problem with the deserved seriousness, to invite our opponent to join us for silly events such as eating sufganiot together. This is what it looks like, and this is what it’s worth.


פרסום ראשון: 12.14.07, 13:57
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