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.