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Israelis abroad

by: Etty Abramov, Ynetnews - Last updated: 2005-09-28

Israeli flag

Israeli flag

A total of 25,000 Israelis have left the country so far this year. Apparently yored, the once derogatory term for an Israeli who leaves the country, no longer rhymes with boged, Hebrew for traitor.

The Ministry of Immigrant Absorption, which is also responsible for returning Israelis, says that there are 750,000 Israelis living abroad. This is according to the numbers compiled by Israel consular offices worldwide: some 60 percent are in North America, 25 percent in Europe and 15 percent in other places.
The Interior Ministry and Central Bureau of Statistics recently published a report indicating that some 25,000 people will leave by the end of the year, compared to 19,000 in 2004.
One of the most popular Internet forums on the subject, "Israelis Abroad," features round-the-clock discussions among Israelis in Australia and Israelis in Canada, Israelis in Europe and Israelis in Asia. The most frequent questions revolve around finding jobs, immigration issues and accommodations.

Limor Abis, moderator for the Tapuz website, which hosts the forums, says the number of participants is growing. She cited the group of Israelis in Asia as one of the newer chat rooms that Tapuz has set up.

The most frequent reply to why people left is: “The question is not why we left, but why it took us so long to do so.”

Israelis in Australia wrote that “maybe it’s the lunatic working hours; the lack of leisure culture, a government that cares more about its minorities (settlers, ultra-Orthodox, etc..) than us; political intrigue, the gridlock at the Glilot junction while the Jewish settlements have bypass roads to their bypass roads.”

And that is the message that repeated itself in every interview we carried out.

The terror attacks didn’t drive Israelis out in the same way that the pre-peace climate is not keeping them here.

These are people who had jobs, who were not starving and if they really tried, would have done well in Israel. But they are sick of the lunatic race just to maintain even a modest lifestyle. They want to live better.

Typical of the latest wave is 23-year-old Eli Zitoransky, who has been in Los Angeles for two months after a stint in Canada. He hopes to start studies in business management in the near future.

“What brought me here was essentially the hopelessness, the politics, the economy, security," he says. "Everything feels hopeless in Israel.”

He said his friends in Israel said that if people like him leave, who will be left?

“So, I thought about that for a few minutes and decided to leave anyway. Friends already in L.A.urged me to come. I guess that Israel is such a patriotic country, anyone who leaves feels guilty so he looks for 'partners in crime’ abroad. People who will reassure him that what he has done is OK," he says.

"In conversations with other ‘yordim’ we do not use that word, and when it comes up, we rationalize our decision to leave, we remind one another how we served in the fiercest IDF combat units, how we sacrificed for the country but how terrible our lives became afterwards.”

Reproduced with permission: Ynetnews