Recently on Israel National News, there was an article discussing the new Aliyah policy of Israel and the Israel Agency. Are they right or wrong? Who cares? Its an agency that should be doing more and is not focused. Which is a lot like the rest of the government these days.
For Israel to continue having high numbers of Olim yearly, which from the year 2000 has dropped dramatically, the entire country has to focus. The entire government is at fault, not just the Israel Agency. High taxes, lack of employment, lack of security in many areas that should be secured and low amounts of reasonable areas for families to live and grow, on top of many other, deeper issues, make the job of the Israel Agency more difficult, many times over.
So how should proceed? Where should they center their focus?
Think Like an Oleh
Religious Ideology is the main factor of a Jew from the Diaspora moving to Israel. Regardless of their affiliation within Judaism, a Jew moving to Israel is a deeply religious experience, but in an era where religion is being put on the back burner for reasonable places to live, earn a living and raising a family, Israel must bring themselves to be the forerunner. A place where religion and reasonable living can coexist.
How does Israel expect to attract new immigrants if there is no way to make a living? Israel is on the forefront of Research and Development, Information Technology, Medical Research and many other things. As great as this is, however, not everyone hoping to move to Israel is a Doctor or an Engineer. There are many contractors, plumbers, electricians, store owners and office workers, who would become great citizens of Israel. They would move, go to work, pay their taxes and keep the economy flowing in the local environment and the national environment.
Why are they not being sought after? After all, isn't there a "residential crunch" in many of the major Metropolitan areas? Wouldn't building outwards, filling Israel in the South, North, East and West with families of good, tax paying citizens help Israel, via money and security? I can guarantee that money speaks when security is being discussed. In fact, if Yehuda and Shomron had more tax income producing businesses and business parks in their borders, do you think the government would be so quick to dismantle outposts and relocate their own citizens? Not that there isn't an economy in Yesha, but it is not enough to make the government's ears perk up.
Jew or Non-Jew, in or out of America, every time I speak to someone about Israel and making Aliyah, the most often asked question I get is "Aren't you scared?"
Short answer, yes. Yes I am. Who wouldn't be? All we hear today is the horrible atrocities perpetrated by the PA against Israel and its citizens, which include Muslim Palestinians as well. Who in their right mind would want to have neighbors like that?
Long answer, no. The last few years, Israel's security infrastructure, including the IDF, has earned a bad reputation for lack of training, lack of proper equipment and lack of a true understanding of their enemies. When I read "34 Days: Israel, Hezbollah and the War in Lebanon" by Amos Harel and Avi Issacharoff, it was almost embarrassing to read the mishaps of the military on such a level.
However, law enforcement agencies worldwide come to train in Israel in anti-terror tactics, the Israeli Air Force is deadly accurate and the IDF, as flawed as many people may make it seem to be, are true warriors fighting for their country. There are mishaps and other very stupid and wrong things done in the Israeli Military (i.e.; Gaza Withdrawal, Second Lebanese War,) but as it is in any country, its not the soldiers, its the leaders.
This subject was brought up because it ties into the first subject, Jobs. A growing economy, citizens producing for the state, so to speak, will bring the security that the country so desperately needs. Money is what makes Israel a viable companion to the USA, Canada, South America, Europe and Asia. The idea that its Democratic leanings is why America backs it is ludicrous. America does business with China, enough said. Israel is a solid partner in economic dealings, its political stances merely sweeten the deal.
Whether people like to admit it or not, we in the US, have become accustomed to a certain standard of living. In New York, its a little more cramped, on the West Coast, it is a sprawling skyline. In Israel, roughly being the size of the state of New Jersey, has taken the initiative to build up, not out, in many places. Americans for sure, and I am assuming Europeans, are not as accustomed to the living situations in Israel. Maybe if you're from New York.
Although I am a Conservative, I will never call for the destruction of natural spaces for the need of Human beings, but ANWAR needs to be drilled and the Negev and much of the vast open lands of Israel must be populated. The security and the economic tidings of the State depend on it. The stacked living arrangements have gone on long enough, its time to start building single family houses, developments, including apartment buildings and commercial centers, in scarcely populated areas. Israel leads the field in desert living technology and would be able to turn the most desolate areas of the Negev into beautiful oases of communities of Israelis, living and growing, making Israel stronger with each new Oleh or each new birth.
The Israel Agency is not to blame. They are only a small appendage of a bigger problem.