Those making aliyah, or “moving up” to Israel, have been increasing in number with furor since the late 1800s, and more so especially since the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948.
But Israel is no longer the malaria infested swamp that it was during the Ottoman Empire. Israel boasts some pretty impressive statistics, a few being:
1) Relative to it’s population, Israel absorbs the most immigrants of all the nations in the world.
2) Over 90% of the homes in Israel use solar energy for hot water – the highest percentage in the world.
3) Israel’s got the biggest number of scientists and technicians in the workforce – 63% more than in the US.
4) Israel has companies listed in NASDAQ than all of Europe, India, China and Japan combines – more than any country in the world, next to the US.
Israel is truly an inspiring and amazing place to be. It’s not always easy, but as the rabbi’s say, according to the struggle is the reward. So, if you’re ready to make the big move, here are a few things that you should know.
1) Real estate prices are high but interest is low. So buy now, if you can do it. It’s worth it, because rental prices can really fluctuate.
2) Your children will acclimate! I can all but promise you. No matter the age, they’ll find their place here – they certainly won’t be alone. Israel, as mentioned above, is the home to many, many immigrants of virtually every age.
3) Learning Hebrew is hard, but possible. Don’t despair. Learning a language is always hard, especially for adults (this adult, anyway) – but slowly, slowly, as they say. And if you’re an English speaker, life will be a bit easier for you, as most Israelis do know a bit of English. Ulpan, or intensive Hebrew classes, as provided for free upon immigrating.
4) People will help you. If you are what I call a “lone oleh” – an immigrant with no family here – try not to worry too much, people will help when you need help, you’ll find your “chevre” – your people. It can take a while, but it happens. When you move to a place that feels like home, it’s hard not to recognize the feeling.
5) The internet is your friend. Again, if you’ve decided to make the big move now, remember that many, many others have paved the way for you. There are lots of resources online including: Nefesh b’Nefesh, the amazing organization that will give you monetary assistance (if eligible), pack you on a plane and bring you here (and not forget about you once you’ve arrived), Janglo and Craigslist, two incredibly helpful online bulletin boards, Kehillot Tehillah, who will help you with your pilot trip, Jerusalem ReUseIt, and scores of others. What you need to know, often times, is a Google search away.
So, are you ready to come home? Pack your bags and get ready! Because believe it or not, more that you need Israel, Israel needs you!