Rise in aliyah figures can’t hide the facts

April 08, 2009 10:34

Western Jews are apparently planning on flocking to Israel in their droves because of the global financial crisis – according to a prominent aliyah agency.

Nefesh B'Nefesh reported last month that from September 1 until December 31, 2008 - the first four months of the crisis – they recorded 2,947 inquires, while during the same period in 2007 only 1,398 people called, an increase of over 100 percent.

And perhaps it’s no surprise that people are considering their future in the Diaspora as jobs become scarce and financial security elusive.

The trouble is they won’t find much prospect of commercial success in Israel.

Areas where potential Western immigrants often look to find work in – tourism, hi-tech and finance - are especially suffering.

The other argument is that people are becoming more ideological as the financial crisis makes people re-asses their values.

Again, does Israel offer a coherent values system, particularly for secular Jews who won’t necessarily feel ‘closer to God’ when their feet touch Israeli ground?

Might they in fact struggle to fit into an Israeli society which is far less idealistic than the state of old, especially those who are too old to play a prominent role in the IDF?

Whether or not these inquiries lead to an increase in aliyah will probably only be determined over the next couple of years, but do British Jews really think it might be a good time to ride off into the sun?

April 08, 2009 10:34

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