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John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY NAOMI ZEVELOFF IN DESERTPEACE

 

“Why Do A Third of Israelis Want To Leave The Country?”

You first have to wipe away all the old myths, misty-eyed sentiments, and government propaganda, but when you do, you find that for most of its inhabitants, Israel is not a good place to live.

It has a poor economy, hugely dependent upon immense foreign subsidies, and there are few prospects for improvement over time.

The subsidies come in many forms, but who believes subsidies continue forever? They don’t.

It is an armed camp with constant tensions and fears, and there is the fact that any children face conscription into an occupying army.

Prices are high, and some things, like housing, are simply not affordable for large numbers.

Life is much, much better in other places where many Israelis can go because many are in fact dual citizens. I suspect, but do not know, that dual citizenship is concentrated in Israel’s more affluent classes. Even if that is the case, there is still an effect on the psychology of ordinary people, knowing as they do, that the already-privileged have fool-proof means of escape if things go too sour.

You cannot live forever eating and breathing ideology. It grows tiresome to say the least.

Israel is condemned, by the structure of its population, to a government constantly driven by extremists who always hold, and will always hold, the balance of power. Israel’s ultra-Orthodox and Settlers are cut from the same cloth as any hateful, unthinking extremist religious or political groups you care to name anywhere.

A future declining population without new immigration, but what is there to attract numbers of immigrants? And the world pool of potential immigrants is quite tiny with only something like 15 million Jews in the entire world and Israel willing to accept no other kind of people.

A future growing population of Palestinians, people who, owing to their lesser economic state, have more children which is just the natural pattern for populations everywhere.

Living with millions of people who must unavoidably harbor resentment for what you have done to them, done to them owing to nothing they ever did to you, is I am sure less than pleasant.

There is the need to learn a genuinely useless language in the schools, Hebrew being about as useful in the world at large as Mohawk or Welsh.

And there is the just living in a society heavily, heavily dominated by soldiers, security services, and police. It is in fact a garrison state not so very different than what the Crusaders established centuries ago. This is not a lot of people’s idea of a good lifestyle environment.

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