Life in Israel intolerable

Op-ed: If you're not rich, a criminal or have strong connections, you have no chance of succeeding here

My name is Naor, I'm a 31-year-old Israeli and I have been living in London for the past two years. Unlike many Israelis, I did not move to London to study, nor did I move to develop a career or as part of a temporary job relocation. I moved because life in Israel simply became intolerable in my opinion, and I have no problem admitting it.


Like many born Israelis, I also went through the regular Israeli road of life – studies, military service, working for a minimum wage – and then with some connections and luck I also found a good permanent job with a fine salary, but unfortunately it wasn't enough to keep me in Israel.


As opposed to many young people, I did not travel to India after the army and I did not take a big trip abroad because I believed in saving money and wasting only what I have, and the country seemed big enough at the time to enjoy.


Until the age of 26 I had never left the country (unfortunately), and then I flew to London for a short vacation and was in for a culture shock. Experiencing a different culture is something that no matter how much you read about, you cannot fully understand until you see it with your own eyes.


After the second time in London I decided that I wanted to emigrate and live there. I spent about three years investing time and effort in issuing a European passport and citizenship which I was entitled for, and I saved money for the move. In July 2011 I made the big move, and I don't regret it for a minute.


So why London of all places? Because in London people are polite, and the public transportation is efficient and operates 24 hours a day (buses). There are indeed things which are relatively expensive, like rent, restaurants, public transportation tickets, but products from supermarket and online shopping are very cheap, sometimes half the price of what is sold in Israel.


As opposed to Israel, in London I have yet to encounter homophobia, religious coercion and xenophobia, and it's not because they don't exist. They exist everywhere. It's because it's not the norm here. Such behavior and expressions put to shame whoever voices them in public and are not a sign of national pride.


Although Britain is considered a Christian country, religion here is so weak that almost every Christian English person I have asked about the issue claimed to be an atheist and expressed no interest in religion. Religion is not tightly linked to the state and does not affect the way of life.


Even the governmental bureaucracy is London is more convenient than in Israel, queues are managed better, there is more accessibility to take care of things online or on the phone and courteous customer service in almost every area.


Life just flows

Beyond the big things, life in Britain just flows and the despair is convenient, much more convenient. There is an underground, in every supermarket there is a self-service and self-checkout area, preventing long queues, and basic banking is provided for free.


I get 25 days of paid leave a year from my workplace, there is no threat of war hanging over the head every day, and words like "excuse me," "thank you" and "please" are obvious and not unusual. The English people's main obsession and greatest concern is mostly the recent piece of gossip about the royal family.


I don’t hate Israel and don't "trash" the country in front of those who don't know it. I do tell the truth about Israel for better or for worse and let the listener judge for himself. I also don't believe in only presenting the positive side or negative side because there are always two sides to every story.


The same applies to Britain as well: It's nice and convenient to live here, but there are also the negative aspects. A significant part of the English people appear cold and "unemotional," the massive size of London in particular and of Britain in general creates a strong atmosphere of alienation (for better or for worse), and there is no strong sense of unity here but more of a sense of every man for himself.


London is a large city of immigrants with a large number of members of different nations. I have met people here from different places and discussed their emigration with them, and they all told me that they took this step for economic reasons and out of a desire to live in a foreign country as part of a cultural experience. None of them were given the common derogatory nicknames I "earned" from different people in Israel.


Many before me have already noted that emigration is a natural thing for nations and for human beings. People want to emigrate in search of a better life, and that's all I did. I didn't abandon Israel, I didn't betray the country and I didn't sell its secrets. I just relocated to a country which I find more pleasant to live in than Israel.


The government and Knesset members have demonstrated their hypocrisy towards Israeli emigrants by using derogatory nicknames against them – until former Israelis won the Nobel Prize and then those "emigrants" were suddenly considered Israeli-Jewish pride.


Whoever wants to emigrate should emigrate, regardless of what others say. The State of Israel has proved that it does not care about the ordinary citizen. In Israel if you're not a rich person, a criminal or an associate with very strong ties, you barely have a chance to succeed. And no, living one month at a time is not living; it's just existing.


Naor Krekoano, 31, is originally from Ashdod. Before moving to London, he lived in Tel Aviv for about 10 years. Today he lives in North London and works for a British credit card processing company.



פרסום ראשון: 11.20.13, 11:03
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