Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Rantings of an Aliyah Cynic

It seems that not everyone who chooses to make Aliyah is able to see life in Israel through rose-colored glasses - case in point being an article in the Jerusalem Post by Noga Martin, 30, "the elder daughter of non-observant secular humanist parents - who never attended Hebrew school or had a bat mitzva".

Among Noga's gripes:
...If you think that... the minute your plane lands, you'll be "home," think again...

Anecdotal evidence seems to suggest that it's easier to stay married than for an immigrant to remain in Israel after the initial euphoria has worn off...

It's the small things - walking into a store and being ignored by the clerk, who is chatting on a cell phone. Banks that are open different hours on different days, and never when it's convenient. Shoddy merchandise that costs twice what it would abroad and falls apart three times as quickly. People who take your orders for coffee and then - after you remind them twice - still manage to get it wrong.

Shouting. Boy are Israelis shouters. Litter. People who don't pick up after their dogs. People who don't clean up after their children...

You'll earn far less than you would anywhere else. Most people live in debt...

Be prepared to lose any reticence you might have had about discussing financial matters. People will ask you how much rent you pay, or, if you buy an apartment, or anything else, how much it cost...

Israeli emigrants, however, visiting their homeland, are always careful to point out that there's no place like Israel.

Sure, they got out. They can afford to sentimentalize.

You know what? On a lot of these points Noga happens to be on the money. For the life of me, I cant figure out the schedule of banks and the post office in Israel, or why one needs to be at the peak of their physical fitness in order to avoid getting trampled while boarding a bus.

But, so what!?! Whoever said that living in Israel was boring, easy, or without challenges? If that's what you're looking for, move to New Zealand.

There is something special about living in Israel that can't be translated into $$$, a quality of life that just isn't possible anywhere else in the world.

Does life in Israel have its quirks and frustrations? Absolutely. Does the political / security / religious situation here drive me mad? All the time, but its a small price to pay to for the privilege of being able to take an active role in shaping the future of the Jewish People and building the Jewish State into one which will allow us to actualize our collective destiny.

Are things perfect here? Hardly. But for the first time in 2,000 years we have our own challenges, our own dilemmas, our own government, army, economy, education system... and that's something to be thankful for, and it’s exciting to be a part of trying to get it right – instead of just complaining about what’s wrong.

At the end of the day, this little country called Israel is home - the only one we have - and when you look at the bigger picture - where we have come from and where we are going, it all happens here, in Israel.

All in all, I'm happy to be here, and I don't regret my decision to leave NY for a second - even if our neighbor's dog won’t stop barking, and the neighborhood kids are a little loud.


They should be muzzled; and while they're at it the dog should also be taken care of.

By Anonymous Strong Bad, at Tue Dec 27, 07:52:00 PM GMT+2  

LOL StrongBad... :)

By Blogger Ezzie, at Tue Dec 27, 09:12:00 PM GMT+2  

Life in Israel is difficult in many ways. I hope potential olim are told that. (I think they are!)

I do wish Israelis would learn how to stand in line. Is it so impossible? Every time I go to Israel, I almost miss my plane back because of the stampedes that pass for lines at the El Al counters. If I wasn't married to a tall, strong, somewhat-burly man I probably would still be there, sitting on my luggage, waiting to get to the counter....

By Blogger Mirty, at Tue Dec 27, 10:27:00 PM GMT+2  

I was just in the bank to change 100 NIS bills 2 of them into 20's and small change.

The answer I got was, we don't have any money here go to another bank. This was all in Hebrew.

Uh excuse me? No money in the bank (after waiting 30 minutes in line)

I then started saying how is this a bank with no money a little louder, make a little scene and then the teller begrudgingly bends down and opens a safe and counts out the money I wanted.

He then slams it down on the counter.

Welcome to Israel. I snickered and walked out, and by the way this is MY bank.

But its sad that this is how it has to be, fighting for any type of service.

By Blogger JMH, at Wed Dec 28, 10:54:00 AM GMT+2  

Gilly http://gilbenmori.blogspot.com
already blogged about this, so if you want to know what I think, check out his replies.

By Anonymous PP, at Wed Dec 28, 11:06:00 AM GMT+2  

Mirty - I find myself, when it comes ot boarding buses, and people begin pushing - just taking a step back and smiling. I'm not in a rush to get anywhere, and i am happy that I don't resort to pushing - but it does make you feel like your part of the family - that everyone is so comfrotable with each other that we will offer unsolicited advice, fill a bus beyond standing room only capacity - and yet still get up for the elderly and pregnant women.

Josh - be thankful that they didn't charge you to give you change.

By Blogger Ze'ev, at Wed Dec 28, 11:27:00 AM GMT+2  

PP, I agree with your points - as I said, I recognize that Noga is right about al ot of what she says - but so what - yes, we have our share of challenges here - a work in progress if you will - but instead os ismply complaining about the challenges we face, she should perhaps take a page out of your book, and involve herself with some worthwhile causes and organizations (as you do - some more worthwhile than others) and work towards maaking a difference.

By Blogger Ze'ev, at Wed Dec 28, 11:34:00 AM GMT+2  


I'm feeling more Zionist by the millisecond!

By Anonymous PP, at Wed Dec 28, 01:08:00 PM GMT+2  

PP. how do you like that - a Zionist extremist like myself can instill within you a sense of Zionist pride...

By Blogger Ze'ev, at Wed Dec 28, 02:10:00 PM GMT+2  

Ze'ev - once again, it seems we agree on this point.

Wonders will never cease!

By Anonymous H, at Wed Dec 28, 04:31:00 PM GMT+2  

Must be another of the many miracles of Chanukkah!

By Blogger Ze'ev, at Wed Dec 28, 05:16:00 PM GMT+2  

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