How to Keep Young Israelis in Israel
At one of our Rosh Hashanah meals, my son-in-law mentioned that of the team of 23 soldiers that he commands in an elite IDF unit, six have left Israel. That is over a quarter. One is in Italy, two are in Germany, one in Bulgaria, one in Spain and one is wandering around the world.
In other words, most of them have left Israel for less economically sound countries than Israel. Yet, they are doing well there.
I asked him to tell me about each and every one of those soldiers. They are all salt-of-the-earth, volunteers, high socio-economic background (some even very well off) and all of them feel it is important to retain their identity. But when one of them compared the salary that his wife would earn as a doctor in Israel as opposed to in Germany, he was astounded by the difference. In Israel, 5000 shekels base pay, as opposed to 7000 Euros in Germany, plus a full year for maternity leave.
“You have to understand,” my son-in-law said, “they all want to remain here. But young people in Israel – even those who are successful – are busy with survival. Do you know how much we had to pay just to get through the summer with our children? And who can think about saving for the future? One of those six soldiers won the right to buy an apartment at a discount in the government housing lottery. Now he is working in Milano in order to pay the mortgage here…”
I remembered Netanyahu’s clever video for the New Year, about how everything is so wonderful here that it is boring…There is no doubt that Israel is advancing at an amazing pace, and I am happy to give Netanyahu the credit that he deserves. But the bottom line is that if one quarter of my son-in-law’s elite team has left the country, and if the French Jews prefer to leave France for Canada and not Israel, and if the children of both will almost certainly intermarry, then we have failed miserably.
Israel’s economic progress has amplified the failure. If in the past thirty years Israel’s economy has grown tenfold, but our children work more hours than we worked at their age and all they manage to do is survive, if the chance to own a home is more distant and they are leaving the country at a frightening pace – then something here is rotten to the core. The abundance is not reaching the places it should. It is being blocked by one million state workers, twenty ministerial offices that are extraneous, budget-based pensions, a bloated, ineffective army, truckloads of cash and free electricity to Gaza and more. In short, it is getting stuck in the government and its political interests.
The root of the evil is in government interference in the economy.
To get the abundance to the people, Zehut proposes:
Elimination of duty charges
Elimination of extraneous regulations
Drastic reduction of government mechanism
Transfer of land for construction from the Israel Lands Authority to the public
Simplification of the process of authorization for construction.
In short, with Zehut’s economic platform, our grandchildren will also be Jewish and will celebrate the holidays with us in Israel.
Wishing you a good and sweet year.