Get Out Now

While recently reading an article in a Hebrew newspaper about the quiet emigration of Jews from France during the last year and a half, I was suddenly overcome with a very uneasy feeling. It wasn’t the alleged trigger for the emigration, namely a marked increase in violent anti-Semitic attacks in France and in other European countries, which left me feeling uneasy but rather the fact that many of the French Jews purportedly wanted to move to Israel but due to the considerable financial difficulty which relocating to Israel involves today, they were forced to settle elsewhere.

Whether or not these Jews are honestly not coming to Israel because of the growing financial hurdles entailed in aliyah or simply because they’re wealthy Jews who prefer an easier life elsewhere, is irrelevant. The fact is that unlike seventeen years ago when I made aliyah and one was still able to manage here with relatively little, today in Israel settling down or just getting by is becoming more and more difficult. Thus for nearly any Jew who is not somewhat well-off to seriously consider moving to Israel today, it will be nearly impossible for him to buy a home and in many places even quite difficult to rent an apartment. The prices through the years have simply skyrocketed.

The sudden recognition of this fact, namely that due to steep economic hurdles aliyah is becoming less and less of a realistically viable option for Jews living in the Diaspora even if they truly want to move to Israel, is what left me feeling unsettled. I started to have a very strong feeling, almost like a premonition, that after years of the door being wide open for relatively easy aliyah to Israel, God, for reasons known only to him, is slowly closing the door.

I don’t pretend to know God’s ways and why he would choose to do such a thing. Like everyone else, I can only speculate. Unfortunately when I do my conclusion is that it’s a bad sign, actually a very bad sign, for Diaspora Jewry in general and European Jewry in particular.

I realize that for some people the “God factor” is either irrelevant or perhaps even a joke. Nevertheless for many believing Jews, of which I’m one of them, it is very, very real. And it is this “reality”, together with the uneasy feeling that hasn’t left me for days, that has caused me to expose myself to possible ridicule by writing this very brief article.

I hope I’m wrong regarding what I’m thinking but if I’m not I only have one message for my Jewish brethren in Europe; Get out now.

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3 Responses to Get Out Now

  1. Wally - pseudonym says:

    I estimate that I would need from $800,000 to $1,5M to make a go of it in Israel, that is if I wanted to own a flat (apartment) and decent car.

    I have tried aliyah on MUCH much less than that and failed – in spite of being a highly skilled professional with 100% FLUENT Hebrew.
    No connections!

    So, regretfully, bye bye Israel….

  2. Batya says:

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  3. rutimizrachi says:

    When we arrived for our first wide-eyed and hopeful visit to Israel in 1991, we were actually told by a representative of one of the liaison organizations (who shall here remain nameless, as their current crop of reps is much more encouraging) that we should “not even bother to make aliyah if we had less than $100,000.” We didn’t have anywhere near that much. So his statement was one of the things that caused us to wait 16 years before making aliyah.

    Lo these many years later, we still never amassed that great fortune. True, we have a decent pension. But given that we have no large cash stash, nor a 401K, nor investments of any kind, we will probably never own a home here, and we just make ends meet (more or less) every month.

    But we are making it. Our quality of life is better than it ever was in the States. We are in the eye of the storm of Jewish (and perhaps world) history. We have a sense of purpose here, and so does each of our children. Most of all, we know that we are where we need to be to thrive as Jews. I do not mean any condescension to Jews who live elsewhere. For us, the air and the thought processes are clearer in Israel than they were outside of Israel. We truly feel that — even if it is a struggle to pay the bills — it will always be better for us here than anywhere else in the world.

    My prayer is that every Jew who wants to come Home will find a way to make it work.

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