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.