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Israelis Want Out

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"The existential danger that once connected us is now separating us. That's because the state has failed to generate compensation or a fair exchange for the existential problem in our region." 

"The classic mistake is to try to connect people to the state through patriotic symbols, when what they are looking for is mutual commitment."

They want equality prioritized. Polar opposite policies impede it. Career opportunities for qualified Israelis are shrinking. Emigration patterns follow education levels. 

Academic degree holders are more likely to emigrate than high school graduates. Doctorate holders and other highly skilled Israelis leave more often than those lesser educated.

Career opportunities drive them. Advancement is prioritized. Prosperity is sought. Leaving doesn't preclude returning. Some do. Others don't. Visits maintain family ties. 

Data suggest one in five Israeli emigres return. Those gone longer term don't come back. Career opportunities plant deep roots.

Professor Dan Ben-David also serves as Taub Center executive director. He studied Israel's brain-drain phenomenon five years ago. America benefits most.

"There are eight Israelis in the Computer Sciences Department of Stanford, which is almost a sub-department," he says. He's concerned about Israeli academia, national character and image.

He's "apprehensive" about "reach(ing) a point of demographic no-return here," he added.

"Demography refers not only to births, but also to those who remain here to live. At present, it is still possible to shift the country onto a sustainable track, but in another decade that will no longer be possible." 

"Today, half the children in Israel receive a lower-level education than is the case in third world countries, and that number is only increasing. That's what the elections should be about."

At issue is more than about losing skilled computer science talent. Across the board skills are threatened. The percent of highly skilled Israelis leaving is far higher than from the general population.

Israel, Italy, and perhaps other troubled Eurozone countries are the only ones where highly educated emigres exceed skilled immigrants. Poor countries follow this pattern.

Why live where government priorities do more harm than good. Why choose poor career opportunity environments. Israelis are like people everywhere. Who can blame them.

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I was born in 1934, am a retired, progressive small businessman concerned about all the major national and world issues, committed to speak out and write about them.

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