Tzvi Szajnbrum
To ease the immigration and absorption process for Olim

The Pain of the Immigration Process II

This is the second article regarding this painful issue – The immigration process

Israel has a huge diversity of people from all over world. Successful immigration varies from person to person. Like most things we experience in life, there are good and bad. For those who have been successful in Israel, it is easy for them to say that Immigrating to Israel needs to be marketed to obtain as many potential Aliyah candidates as they can.

I agree that we should NOT stop trying to sell people on the idea of making Aliyah. However, the actual present marketing tactics used by Aliyah organizations are very misleading.  They are doing a disservice to the immigration process and are essentially hurting new immigrants who are arriving believing one thing and quickly realizing that they were not given the correct information.

As a result, a large number of new immigrants move back to their originating country within the first years.  Others, struggle to overcome obstacles that they were not expecting in order to make the immigration process livable.

The number of sad stories we have accumulated over the past years are shocking. Too many of these cases were the result of misguided Aliyah candidates or simple misunderstandings from the people working in these organizations.

This is just one of many examples.

Language: 

After 2 semesters of night Hebrew classes at a College in the United States, Sally dropped out because someone in one of these organizations told her that “there  was no point in learning Hebrew from Americans because Israelis spoke differently and that she would eventually pick it up in the State sponsored  “free Ulpan” when she arrives in Israel”.

As a result, Sally arrived in Israel with no basic skills in Hebrew and for a number of reasons she was not able to take the “free Ulpan” until more than a year after arriving. This was enough to cause Sally hardship because the Ulpan stressed reading and writing and not conversational Hebrew. Sally would have been much better off completing the college course and then taking the Ulpan.

Employment: 

In my opinion, secondary to learning of the language, employment is the main hurdle for making a fast and easy assimilation into Israeli society.

Not one of these organizations is preparing new immigrants with the true facts of finding potential employment in Israel after you arrive. The employment numbers are shocking, especially for those over 40 years old.

These organizations have been hiding or neglecting to gather essential facts from future immigrants. Simply being American or European does not make you an ideal potential employment candidate.  Most employers do not really care.  Your CV is not made out of gold just because you are an American, Canadian or have any other Nationality.

The job market in Israel is very discriminatory. It is extremely difficult to find a job if you are over 45 years old and have never served in the military or national service and many good professionals return to their country of origin because they couldn’t make enough money to support their families in Israel with only temporary or low paying jobs.

If they had been told the truth about the difficulties with finding a job in Israel, they may have been able to prepare themselves more appropriately. Had they been given the realistic information on new immigrants finding jobs, they would have adjusted their expectations and adjusted their job searches.

A lot of immigrants have come to Israel without adequately planning financially for potential hard times. They did not have enough money to survive a lengthy job search or a low paying remedial job.

These people were never told that they would have to consider living closer to more potential available jobs or even changing their field of expertise.

The Last Word:

There needs to be some sort of factual data sheet or website available to potential immigrants that really reflects the trials and tribulations of migrating to Israel.

This may be the “homeland” of many but that fact alone will not guarantee a successful immigration. Potential immigrants need to educate themselves with unbiased data reflecting the struggles they could potentially experience when making Aliyah.  The emphasis with the Aliyah agencies should be how to keep as many new immigrants in Israel and not how to attract as many people as they can with the hopes that they will succeed.

About the Author
Passionate about helping new immigrants, Tzvi Szajnbrum, Attorney at Law and Notary, founded the Voleh Organization, through which he and a team of volunteers provide “pro-bono” guidance to English speaking new immigrants, helping to ensure their successful integration into Israeli Society. As a former officer in the Israeli army, Tzvi is also able to help lead new immigrants in the right direction regarding the IDF. CEO of The Szajnbrum Group
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