Everyone from young children through seniors, can find their niche. With many of the first wave of southern Olim nearing retirement age, they are welcoming contemporaries coming to retire in the sunny south. “We’re seeing a new trend,” Greenberg comments. “Seniors are coming, knowing they can find affordable homes here, live off their pensions, enjoy nice weather and enjoy a built-in English-speakers network of people their age.”
For younger folk looking to work in the south, there is also good news: Companies are hiring and local yishuvim and kibbutzim have ambitious business ventures that require talented employees/members. As Greenberg summed up the scene “Although there are perhaps fewer jobs specifically for English-speakers, there is also less competition for those jobs.” It only takes one right offer to launch a new life.
Newlywed Bernie Malaky is in the midst of launching his new life, in Ashkelon. 29-year-old Malaky, whose wife Dikla is a native of the city, has been living there for three months. Malaky, who designs and produces events, upscale simchas and theater productions, is busy developing a new client base in Israel. “Compared to what people outside of Israel are accustomed to, commutes are reasonable,” he reports. “The whole country is small. Ashkelon is called the south, but it’s actually just a hop skip and a jump from the center of the country. Tel Aviv is less than an hour by train and so is Jerusalem. I go to Jerusalem once or twice a week. It’s a super smooth ride, and the scenery is much better than when I used to commute from New Jersey to New York. The trains are clean and quiet, and the buses are surprisingly on time. Frustratingly so sometimes,” he says with a laugh.
In terms of drawbacks, Malaky only has one complaint. Life in Ashkelon occasionally makes him forget why he’s there. “We’re very fortunate. We live two blocks from the sea and there’s almost always an ocean breeze. Every yard here has a fruit-bearing tree. This time of year you can pick any kind of fruit in your own backyard, or ask your neighbors to pick from theirs. Sometimes I have to remind myself that this is a day-to-day life and not just a vacation.”
Got that pioneering spirit? You’re invited to help build Israel’s periphery by planting roots in southern soil.
To learn more about the Go South initiative click here.