Aliya and psychological barriers

There’s an old joke: “How do you make a million dollars after one year in Israel? Answer: You come with two”

The joke reflects a perception many “Anglo Jews” share with regards to their financial opportunities in Israel. The implication is that the only people who go on aliya from English speaking countries are the very strong ideological and/or religious, while the rest simply cannot.

However, I believe that, within those two poles exists a gray area consisting of a huge mass of fine, talented young Jews who have seriously considered aliya many times and perhaps been on Birthright. However, they hesitate, because they’re stuck in this false perception.  They need a new and  intelligent push.

Additionally, the false (or historically partially true) perception doesn’t end once they come on Aliya. It continues to haunt those who make the jump and have joined Aliya Nation. However, the perception is completely out of proportion and indeed works as a negative psychological barrier upon the hopeful Oleh’s perhaps distorted view of their opportunities in Israel. So even though they come as Harvard graduates, they end up in night-shift Call Centers and often feel as part of a chain gang.. Why?  Because the fear of “not making it” causes the mind to shift into a survival mode, and a lot of creative energy is wasted. The Olim are simply falling short of their potential. I believe that Israel is only reaping a fraction of the fruits from the “Anglo” potential out there. And that’s a paradox, because the fact is that Israel attracts far more venture capital per person than any other country: $170 in 2010, compared to America’s $75. So if anything Israel is the land of opportunities. While the real barrier is just a  construction, based on a false perception.As a very famous Israeli saying goes: “Hakol ba Rosh” (it’s all in the head).

 So the question remain: What can Israel do to reverse this false perception?

About the Author
Jonni Niemann made Aliya from Denmark 7 years ago and is the co-founder of Aliya Incubator. Aliyah Incubator is an Aliya program focused on encouraging Jewish entrepreneurial supertalents from English speaking Countries to make Aliya and to successfully launch a High-Tech Start-Up in Israel.