Eretz Yisrael Time

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Monday, October 01, 2007
Ha’aretz and Channel 10 did a video piece on Israelis living in America.

It interviewed a number of Israelis that live in Israeli enclaves and as much as they all said they are in America temporarily and for just a short period of time… they all seemed quite happy in their “golden prison” as one called it, and after years in America, they clearly weren’t in any rush to leave.

What I found most disturbing was when they interviewed some Israeli academics at Stanford University. They spoke the truth. They were describing how easy it was to succeed in the academic world in the US as opposed to Israel. As she was talking about the availability of jobs in your field, I got the impression that she was talking about the whole academic atmosphere (lack of strikes, laid back atmosphere, etc.).

What is disturbing is how true it is.

Why does it have to be so difficult in Israel? Why does everything seem like an uphill battle?

Is there a lack of business connections? Is it the limited resources? Doing business with large organizations, the most common phrase I hear is that there is no budget available for their department (despite the amount of money flowing through their organizations).

Does the Israeli atmosphere of sink or swim (it’s you or it’s the person next to you) override the understanding that cooperation is often more necessary for success, than beating down your neighbor?

Is that why when driving down the street you often feel that you are on a racetrack – that the person swerving back and forth in front of you is driving to win, and not driving to reach his destination?


Anonymous said...

I am surprised that you are surprised at the problems in the business and academic worlds in Israel. You have lived here for a while and know what is going on. I will remind you....Israel was founded by people inspired by Marx and Lenin. This means "the ends justify the means", "we have to be in power no matter what", "class struggle means our opponents not just must lose, but must be destroyed", "there is no such thing as a loyal opposition", "loyalty is more important than competence", "so what if we lose money, we will be bailed out by big brother",etc, etc,.

Fortunately, there has been improvement over the years, but there is still a long way to go. A friend of mine told me that his brother was pushed out of a job in a major university because the head of the department didn't like him. This head of the department was the offspring of a VERY famous, senior official who paid someone to write their Ph.D thesis and was given the job because of proteksia. With a mentality like that, it is amazing that things aren't worse. That is why we, the Religious Zionists, particularly those from the US and UK should be pushing for true democratization of Israeli society. This is the only way things will improve. Religious Jews should lose their fear of democracy, even if it means giving a certain amount of recognition to non-Orthodox streams of Judaism, for example, or guaranteeing legitimate rights to Arabs. In the end, we will benefit even more and a fairer, more just society will be the result.

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