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Israelis Want Out

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Israelis Want Out

Israelis are voting with their feet and leaving.

by Stephen Lendman

On December 15, Haaretz said "almost 40 percent of Israelis are thinking of emigrating." Recent poling said they'd leave if financially able.

Who are they? Why do they want out? What can be done to keep them?

Israeli governance combines militarism, repression, corruption, and neoliberal harshness. It's no fit place to live in. Many Jews vote with their feet and leave. Others prepare by securing foreign passports. 

Many of Israel's best and brightest leave. New Central Bureau of Statistics data said last year over 14% of Israeli science and engineering doctorate holders lived abroad for three or more years. They left to work or study.

They're in no rush to return. Many never do. Current data confirm a long recognized brain drain. Holders of other advanced degrees leave permanently. 

Israel tries hard to woe valued emigres back. Efforts so far fell short.

A 2008 Menachem Begin Heritage Center survey showed 59% of Israelis consider emigrating. They do so by inquiring about foreign citizenship and second passports. Growing numbers hold them.

Bar-Ilan University researchers say over 100,000 Israelis hold German passports. Thousands more acquire them annually. More than a million Israelis hold other foreign ones. 

America is a popular choice. Over half a million Israelis hold US passports. Thousands of applications remain pending. A quarter million Israelis live in America.

In 2005, the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics said 650,000 Israelis away for over a year haven't returned. Most were Jews.

Growing numbers remaining are ideologically committed. Many are extremists. Others are indifferent, aging, unable to leave, or aren't sure where to go. Emigrating abroad isn't simple. Cost is a factor. Uprooting takes a toll. So does adjusting.

Gideon Levy once said, "If our forefathers dreamt of an Israeli passport to escape from Europe, there are many among us who are now dreaming of a second passport to escape to Europe."

It's "an irony of history, because Israel was established to become a shelter" (for Jews). Now Europe becomes a shelter for the Jews living in Israel."

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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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