(from the ‘Aliyah Manifesto’)
First couple of years, it is hard trying to figure out your way. Finding jobs is hard the first couple of years. Many people give up and become a security guard with no training in basic self-defense.
You now realize that your college degree was pointless and you can’t speak the language. But you will make it, because Israel is the Home Land and you have faith. You are in Israel, you are an immigrant and you are useless.
The real problem is family. If you have children, you have to make a living. Even if you just have a wife, they do not like living on the streets. All that romantic stuff and looking at the stars isn’t for them. The real romantics are the men sleeping under the stars next to Crack Square. Women aren’t romantic like that. Women want money. They are more into the diamond kind of romantic, the ‘you just spent $5,000 on me and you are going to be sleeping under the stars because you are now broke, while I find another man who can pay for this new house of mine’ kind of romantic. You can try making it look cool without a car. And it looks smooth when you take a woman’s hand and say, ‘Why don’t you join me for a walk?’ But when she is living with you, she knows that she is carrying the groceries home, because you have no car.
So if you are a family man, you need a job. You are married and the car is an expression of love. Without it, you won’t have any.
So you can work for somebody, but who moved to the Promised Land for that? Become an entrepreneur. This is the start-up nation and you know nothing about technology.
Being that you have no idea what is going on, and you can plead ignorance if you can’t pay your rent, because you don’t understand the contract, you can start a business. That is the best way to lose all of your savings.
Starting a Business: I did this. This is the best option for somebody who doesn’t want to work like normal people and make money. If you like waking up late and showing up to work late, this is for you. The only issue is that you have no boss to complain about. As the foundation of any good job is based on a few hours after work, to complain about somebody else, it can get hard. You can complain about your staff, but you are a small business owner, and you cannot complain about your wife, when you go home. You don’t want to lose your staff and your spouse at the same time. That happens, you don’t need a job anymore.
For lack of a boss, every business owner complains about his job. I learned that my first couple of years in Israel. I learned that the most important part to having a business in the Middle East is to not have repeat customers. If there are repeat customers, you let them know how difficult it is to run a business. The first cab I got into, the driver was telling me how much he hates driving. Then he started getting angry about how people explain where they live and give him directions. As he didn’t turn on his signal, I told him turn left. I asked the makolet guy how his day was and he gave me his financial statements. He started his speech, ‘Business is down. The raising rent. Check out my banking statements.’ I paid and told him to have a good day. I just wanted milk.
Lesson was taken.
Over the years, I have tried many legit businesses. It is hard. As a new immigrant, you are relegated to certain businesses. Here are a few businesses I was involved in:
– I tried opening a bathroom, charging a shekel. That went down when the hotel opened next door, and gave people bathroom use for free.
-I tried working security. Turns out people were lying when they said they didn’t have guns. They fired me when they realized I was learning Hebrew.
-I tried working in America, then I made Aliyah and I realized that my commute to work was very long- worse than commuting from Long Island to The City (New York that is, which is The City- at least Manhattan). I would have continued commuting, but I didn’t want to live in Chashmonaim. Chashmonaim is a town near Modiin and their slogan and ad is ‘Live in Israel, work in America… Have you not seen your family this past month. Are you not a sailor. Chashmonaim is the perfect place to leave your children. Let them run around and get lost. We will post the lost child on ChashmoChat for you…Want to live in America? Come to Chashmonaim and forget about Israel, until you pick up your groceries at Ram Levi.’
-I tried selling Ahava skin cream products in malls, but I wanted to live in Israel. I felt bad using the suggested sales technique of ‘You are ugly…now that you feel disgusting and are crying, buy this product and you might feel a little better about your uni-browed ugly self.’ The selling of Israeli products in the malls was the greatest idea. There are not enough tourists coming to Israel nowadays and it is important to export Israel’s number one product of scamming Americans. Ripping off Americans is what Israelis are good at. What is better than getting them to buy Israeli products that are packaged.
Start Your Business. If you want to be creative and enjoy what you do. That is what I did and that is why I was not successful.
You must be careful with taxes. At the time I started, I didn’t know that they take taxes. They even take taxes for having a place. The taxes on your location are not even on what you make. You can make nothing and they will still tax you on your location. My business was in minus (as they call it in Israel) before I spent a shekel.
Lesson: If you want to stay married, find a way to not pay all of your taxes.
Either that or find a boss you fryer.