Monday, March 07, 2011

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FREAKING OUT – Part 2, Economics

by Reb Akiva @ Mystical Paths

In Part 1 I wrote about the general chaos and world threats going on, and some specific Jewish targeted threats as well as mystical warnings.  In this part we discuss the question of coming to Israel.

Should a Jew come to Israel?  We can talk about mystical reasons, religious obligations and the connection of a Jew to the Holy Land.  But let’s start in a very worldly way…economics.

In the last 30 years Israel has undergone a staggering transformation.  Founded and operated as a socialist country with central control, stifling innovation and preventing personal achievement, Israel was just another third world country going nowhere.

Starting 30 years ago Israel began (and continues) step after step leading to personal economic freedom, release of financial controls and central controls.  Israel has drawn stifled highly educated Jews from throughout the Eastern Bloc / Soviet Union / Russia who brought their skills, ambitions, and frustration of having been denied opportunities because their identity cards said Jew.

The combination of factors resulted in an explosion of success in Israel.  Israel became the #1 destination for high-tech investment capital, the most per capita in the world.  It became the premier location to host Research and Development centers for major technology corporations (of all sorts).  It became the #1 location for high-tech start-up companies and internet companies and has more companies listed on U.S. stock exchanges than any other nation.

Israel has become a place of entrepreneurism and opportunity, both for individuals and companies.

While this has been happening the U.S. and Western Europe has been turning the opposite direction.  Unbalanced finances, excessive entitlements (some hidden as government employee pensions) and 10 years of major war spending have literally bankrupted the wealthy nations.  The responses to these issues made it worse with stimulus funds completely wasted and literally stolen, a massive increase in regulations stifling economic growth and entrepreneurial opportunities, and a literal outlawing or regulatory shutdown of the economic engines of the past 20 years.

Today Israel’s economy is growing and becoming more free, and next year the country (which did all of this with no natural resources for export) will begin to benefit from the discovery of massive reserves of natural gas (allowing for the reduction in taxes, increased spending on national infrastructure and improvement of the educational system) while the United States economy is still shrinking (for 3 years straight), becoming regulatory stifled and less free.

If you are a young Jew from 16-30, planning on getting or with a college education, there is no question today Israel offers growing opportunities while the U.S. and Western Europe does not.  (For U.S. young people this has already been titled the “lost decade” as they start their careers in a market where it may be almost impossible to start in their field with no entry level positions open.)

For Jewish retirees Israel offers other types of major benefits.  Low levels of taxes on unearned income, a functioning reliable health care system of much lower cost than the U.S. with longer average life expectancies and a more healthy physical environment (warm temperatures).

Those in the middle have a harder economic decision.  For ages 30-60, transition with children older than 10 is hard.  Some professions won’t translate well to Israel, and middle level managers won’t easily be able to step into a similar role in a different language and culture.  (Independent professions such as doctor, lawyer and accountants will be able to.)  And if you have a home you may be worried about selling it and losing much of it’s financial potential.

(Un)fortunately Hashem has helped some (far too many) with these problems.  If you’ve (G-d forbid) lost your job and can’t find another or have been forced to abandon your career path because of job cutbacks, then you’ve got nothing to lose coming to Israel (as you’ve already lost it!)  Similarly if you’ve lost your home or your home is underwater (less worth than the remaining loan value), you’ve already lost your prime asset!

If you’re young or of the greying generation, Israel offers many solid benefits.  And if you’re in the middle, you may have already suffered the pain of loss and really don’t have anything to lose (and possibly good opportunities to gain).

5 and 4 years ago a number of tzadikim and mekubalim said Jews, come to Israel. You can find some of those statements here in our blog archive, and yes those statements led me personally to make aliyah a bit over 3 years ago.

Today the young and old can still come b’kavod.  Those in the middle…if you’ve already been hurt and lost job, career or your home, you’ve already paid the price.  If not, it’s a harder economic decision…for the moment.  But for many it’s still going downhill, so it makes sense to cut your losses today.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi, I would like to say that no matter what happens, I think it is very important in these life-changing decisions that one consult a Rav that he/she trusts 100%.

Akiva's analysis, as far as I understand is very good and it does seem that the US is going down while Eretz Yisrael is going up!

Nevertheless, there are many other factors to consider, including shalom bayit, having a Torah environment that is good for you, and (for me) still having a good job here in the US.

As great as LazerBeams and Mystical Paths is, one shouldnt and must not live his life according to a blog! It is so important to have a Rebbe/Rav to talk to. It's been proven for thousands of years already!

Israel is a great and very challenging place. One needs to be spiritually ready for the challenges there.

Motive is also critical. Im I want to make Aliyah to fulfill the mitzvah of yishuv Eretz Yisrael, to come closer to Hashem then KOL HAKAVOD!

However if I want to move there so I can make more money, or so I can run away from ObamaLand and save my rear - then perhaps I need to rethink my reason and daven to want to live in EY so I can get closer to Hashem!

Hatzlacha for those who have or are considering Aliyah!

Devorah Designs said...

This is the kind of level-headed advice that I have been looking for. The reality of Israel today - alot has changed it seems in the past ten years or so. And recently, with the economies 'flipping over' with the dollar dying, and Americans standing to lose everything anyway, Israel goes up. Hasn't it been like that for ages....Esau up, Jacob down. Esau down, Jacob up! You said some very practical things here, I appreciate that. Even how you see the different age groups and what is reality for each. I'll keep reading you. I want to know more. THIS is helpful!

Anonymous said...

If the only thing holding you back in your decision to make aliyah is your older children (teen years), there are American style schools in Israel.

Devash said...

Correct me if I'm wrong, but the last time I checked, college tuition was 2000 sheqels a semester and for olim, your first degree is free. I don't think there is a student-loan industry in Israel.

Anonymous said...

Have you all considered a temporary residency in Israel? It will give you a 1-3 year real-life experience, seeing and living Israel before committing to becoming an ISraeli citizen. Even tourists walking 4 amos in the land is considered part of the Yishuv mitzvah.

In addition, there are many who choose to live in EY without becoming citizens. Some even renew their tourists visas indefinitely.

Anonymous said...

to mystical paths it doesnt really matter if 25,000 unlikely frum jews from diaspora moved from diaspora to alyah tomorrow . will never happen . They are entrenched by rebbes other then kahane like chabad and satmar and modern orthodox and carlbach etc . This is a very complicated exile and its looking like hashem is waiting till the last minute to reddeem us from golut and send a messiah !

Dov Bar-Leib said...

For those who want to consult a Rav about coming here, consult one with your hashkafah that is already here. I personally consulted several Rabbanim here, the Amshinover Rebbe, Rav Scheinberg, Rav Yosef Scheinberger ztl formerly of the Eidah Chareidit, and others. Had I known at the time, I would also have consulted with Rav Shalom Arush, shlitah. The key for me was that all of these Rabbanim were here not in Chul. They all had a clear perspective of what was going on here and what was best for me and my family. Rav Scheinberger ztl specifically told me to move to Kochav Yakov because of its strategic location overlooking Yerushalayim on the other side of the green line, and he was on the Eidah Chareidit. He told me real estate here in KY would explode because no Israeli government could ever abandon the place. He turned out to be 100% right, and I have not regretted the decision for an instant. The value of my home, bli ayin hara, has gone up by 80% since 2003. It is time to accept the reality that Jews outside EY can no longer make the economic excuse for not coming here.

By the way, the excuse that someone has kids with special needs and will not find education here is also nonsense. My daughter has major issues concerning her development, Yet, there is a perfect religious school for her in Yerushalayim which specifically meets her needs and still gives her a well-rounded Torah centered education. She is flowering in a way that would have been impossible if we had stayed in the US, especially in the Midwest. Yes, I have issues with the quality of Israeli made products and Jewish road rage, but these things will be healed in short order with the coming of Mashiach ben Yosef.

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