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The strongest shoulders should determine Israel’s media and aliyah policy

Though many thousands of Jews work to improve Israel’s image, our homeland remains the most unpopular country on the planet
An aliyah fair in France. (Jewish Agency)
An aliyah fair in France. (Jewish Agency)

Although many thousands of Jews work relentlessy to improve Israel’s image, our homeland remains the most unpopular country on the planet. This could change if Israel were to expand its public broadcasting system.

Hasbara has become politicized

Hasbara has become politicized for the glorification of current government policies and politicians — not the country as a whole. The same holds true for aliyah. As far as attracting the seven million Jews in Western countries is concerned, funding is geared to attracting those who support the current government.

Israel could easily attract tens of thousands of Western olim a year. The Israeli population and the Immigration Ministry are extremely supportive of new olim and returning residents.

Zionism or ego?

However there are an untold number of government regulations which are meant to thwart immigrants who do not fit the bill every step of the way. It does not matter how motivated or qualified you are or how much you can contribute. Many Israeli bureaucrats are apparently more interested in their own egos and positions than in Zionism or the good of the country.

Are those who cut corners the strongest shoulders?

The Israelis with the strongest shoulders are the half of the population that works for up to 100 hours a week for 7 to 10 dollars an hour – while raising a family. Not to speak of the hundreds of thousands of soldiers, elderly, disabled and Holocaust survivors who have to get by on even less. The salary of teachers and health professionals is also much lower than in most developed countries.

Unfortunately these unsung patriotic Israelis have little to say about rules concerning new and returning Israelis — not to speak of media policy. While those who earn the most are often touted as having “the strongest shoulders,” this is not always the case. They have often arrived at their positons by acting immorally or cutting corners and would never survive if they had to work as hard as those they apparenty despise.

Employees tell their superiors what they want to hear

The many hundreds of qualified journalists who worked for decades and were unceremoniously dismissed have few prospects of work or a pension. Arrogance and paranoia reign supreme.

Israel’s social policies are now among the worst in the developed world while government employees continue to tell their superiors what they want to hear.

Hopefully policies concerning aliyah and the Israeli media will change before the arrival of the Messiah. Then Israel will attract more than an extremely small percentage of Western Jewry and Israeli journalists will have the opportunity to export Israeli culture. We must show the world that not everyone in Israel has lost touch with reality.

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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