Ich bin ein Berliner. I would like to be at least. And so would a lot of Israelis who are leaving for Germany in search of a better life according to a recent series of TV reports here in Israel. Berlin is awesome. And clean. And spectacular. One of the greatest cities in the world. With a thriving underground art scene. And a vibrant gay community. And a real chance to make a decent living. But there are much better places we can migrate to in the world to raise our standard of living. Not that I’m advocating leaving Israel. Unless you would like to own a home, have a decent paying job and a secure future for your children. In which case consider the following locations for your departure:
1. Kampala, Uganda. Many of us forget that this African nation was once supposed to be the promised homeland for the Jews. That’s right. The Uganda proposal. And think how much happier you would be there in Africa. First of all, the weather is magnificent year round. Sunny and hot all the time. Africa hot. Not Asia-Minor meets Africa hot. Central Africa hot. You could work in one of Uganda’s many burgeoning industries. Like in a cobalt mine. Just think how proud Theodore Herzl would be of you.
2. Manila, The Phillipines. First of all you’ll be the tallest person there. Secondly you can grow old gracefully and never have to worry about finding someone to look after you in your old age. Finally, your shekel goes a looooong way in the Philippines. So if you’re like me and can telecommute to your job in Tel Aviv, find a mansion in the Philippines and pray to the local deities that no tsunami or cyclone destroys your paradise.
3. Havana, Cuba. We Israelis love us some communism-lite. Think about Kibbutzim and the socialist principles upon which Israel was founded. So we’d fit right in in Cuba. And we have sooo much in common with our amigos Cubanos. We are both very hot tempered. Both countries have universally (poor) health care. And both countries print the same exact amount of Che T-shirts annually.
4. Rome, Italy. Israelis and Italians have so much in common its ridiculoso. First of all, Israeli men, like their Italian counterparts, are tethered to their moms. They only leave home when they are married, and even then still eat there at least three nights a week. In terms of aggressive driving the Israelis and Italians are brothers from another mother. In terms of sexually harassing, greedy and corrupt politicians it’s like we’re twins.
5. Pyongyang, North Korea. I know what you’re thinking. It’s a ruthless dictatorship run by a megalomaniac who starves his own people. And you would be right. But that would be focusing on the differences. Let’s focus on the similarities. Both countries have a vast nuclear arsenal and are most likely to use it in the coming decade. Both countries have pissed off the USA and Obama. Both countries have a strange, unhealthy fascination with retired NBA basketball stars. Most importantly you will land a job and finally shed those extra few kilos you’ve been carrying around in a forced labor camp.
6. Kingston, Jamaica. It’s no secret that we Israelis love smoking the ganja. As do our politicians apparently. But it’s illegal here. And expensive. So hit up the land of the Rasta and you won’t have to worry about anyone tossing you in jail or laughing at you. No matter how utterly absurd your professional aspirations are. Or how delusional you are. Or how difficult it is to understand your English, man.
7. Nicosia, Cyprus. Well it’s a beautiful island on the Mediterranean and it’s close to home. You can easily get married. To anyone, really. If you’re feeling like you’re in the mood for a Turkish bath, a hamam, head to the north. If you’re in the mood for some moussaka head to Limasol. You can be a wedding singer. Or a wedding planner. Or just open up a falafel shop.
8. Buenos Aires, Argentina. Everybody knows that Israelis loooove meat. We barbecue all the time. Independence day. New Year’s day. Tuesday. You pick a day and someone here is throwing some steaks on a makeshift grill in the parking lot right beneath your apartment. Think how much money they could save if they lived in a country where meat was cheaper than water? Oh, and think about all the Nazis you could hunt in your spare time. Bonus!
9. Hawaii, USA They seem pretty chill there. The weather is nice. No dress code. Plenty of weed and good surfing. Yeah and everybody’s fatter than you which is awesome. And it’s an island so no annoying neighbors to fight with to the death. But the cost of living is high and there is a slight chance that global warming, a volcano or a shark will kill you before you enjoy any of the above.
10. New Delhi, India. This is a no-brainer for young Israelis. You don’t have to buy a plane ticket because you’re already there. You’ve been there for like nine years already. Ever since you got out of the army. And if your English is halfway decent you can get a job at a USA outsourced call center for DELL. Namaste.
And the Germans are all about precision. And showing up on time. And wearing suits. And being courteous. And respectful. Which aren’t our strong suits.
And life here is never dull. Ever. And yes you could earn a decent living somewhere else. And you could have a savings account. And a house. Maybe a nice car. And you could vacation in Bermuda. Or The Seychelles. But when it comes down to it you’ll miss the thrill ride of existential uncertainty that can only be experienced in places like Israel.
And one day, when you least expect it, you’ll feel that pang in the deepest recesses of your soul. And you’ll get nostalgic. For peaceful Friday nights. And Goldstar beer. And the beach. Or the air in J-town. Or whatever. And it’s like the siren song in Homer’s Odyssey. Or Ice Age 4. And you become hopelessly and desperately homesick.
And one day you’ll come back.
Sooner or later we all come back.