Bureaucratic restrictions and a rejection of Jewish tradition impede Israel’s economic development and aliyah

Israel is a country full of contradictions where many things are upside down. Why does Israel need to spend a fortune importing foreign workers while there are more than 7 million Jews in the diaspora? Bureaucratic restrictions. Why import Filippinos to care for Holocaust survivors instead of idealistic Jews from abroad? (Perhaps this would give Jewish liberals something better to do than lobby for disadvantaged people elsewhere. Unfortunately most bureaucrats seem to be too busy thinking about their own positions to bother about new ideas.)

Studying and trips to Israel are nearly always restricted to people under the age of 30. Even many institutions of the so-called ‘Left’ exclude people above a certain age limit. So if you theoretically have another 60 years to study and work and are above the age of 29 there are no scholarships available because according to the stipulations you are ‘too old’ to study. While the job or course in question is for a year.

דלא מוסיף יסף

Jewish tradtition calls for life-long study. In the Mishna (Ethics of the Fathers, Chapter 1, 13) it is written that those who do not continue studying regress.

Bureaucratic regulations influenced by political constituencies

Governing funding is usually geared to helping members of existing political constituencies. Hence today’s governing institutions seem to prefer young and wealthy Jews from the diaspora. Theoretically this ‘cream of the crop’ will eventually spur economic development. However people whose prime motivation is money are usually not interested in making sacrifices for ideological reasons. So most of the immigrants of recent decades are non-Jews or ideologically motivated olim from newly discovered Jewish communities. (And theoretically all one has to do to get most of the votes of people from the Former Soviet Union is yell: ‘The commies are coming’.)

Aliyah: most diaspora Jews excluded by bureaucratic restrictions

Idealistic Jews from the West do not belong to one of ‘the Right’s’ preferred voting blocs while ‘the Left’ has nothing to offer but outdated restrictions.

Why is a country which finds its strength in Judaism copying a (for the most part) Anglo-Saxon mindframe?

No reason to protest against collapse of health system?

In a recent letter to The Jerusalem Post a reader wrote: “Once upon a time, people worked under abnormal conditions and were exploited by employers, who were only interested in increasing their profits. Workers’ strikes were the only possible way to act effectively against such employers…Such strikes are no longer justified in a country such as Israel.” The reader undoubtedly lives in Israel, but not on this planet.

The letter referred to a recent killing in which a ‘Holocaust survivor’ suffering years of neglect set fire to an overburdened nurse. Why kill a person who according to the press was a smiling angel? There are no funds to help people with mental issues and overburdened doctors and nurses often take the brunt of their frustrations. However in order to attain availabe funds one needs a strong lobby and for lobbying one needs money, so the funding is often not availabe to the people who need it most.

Modern and traditional

Modern Israel is also a traditional country with an extremely diverse population. Progress is best achieved by getting rid of regulations which pose all sorts of restrictions on immigrants and returning residents. These restrictions make it extremely difficult and often impossible to attract new olim from the West.

About the Author
Asaf Shimoni is an author, journalist and translator who returned to Israel on October 1, 2023 after spending more rhan 40 years abroad, most of them in the Netherlands. He is currently milking cows on a kibbutz after living for five months in Haifa. He grew up near Boston, made aliyah while living on a kibbutz (from 1973 to 1976), and graduated from Syracuse University in 1978. He also lived some 5 years in Sicily. He believes that the media should be as critical and truthful as possible.
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