web analytics
September 20, 2014 / 25 Elul, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘immigrants’

The Demographics of Israeli Politics

Thursday, June 21st, 2012

Israeli demographics have always made for a chaotic political culture. While to the outside world, it’s a nation of Jews, internally it’s a nation of Russians, Anglos, native Sabras, Yemenites, Syrians, Persians and a hundred others. Even the smallest group has its compartmentalized identities: the delicate differences between immigrants from a single country but different towns, the countless distinctions among its religious communities in their own way are united and disunited.

The politics of such a country encompass too many groups to list. There are the 19th Century Hungarian immigrants who came in preparation for the coming of the Messiah and have resented all other Jews who came before them or after them as usurpers: these form much of the Neturei Karta, a fanatical group that rejects the State of Israel. There were the German Jews who brought with them an equally fanatical efficiency, building chicken processing plants that were as clean as operating tables. There are the truly old Jerusalemites and the immigrants who have just arrived and are already learning to resent the new immigrants who get off the plane and expect to have everything handed to them on a silver platter.

Israeli politics are born out of the chaos of the nation’s demographics. Its Knesset is a room where fanatical atheists and the fanatical religious, urbanites and hill-dwellers, representatives of Russian and Middle Eastern Jews, settlers and Arabs, feminists and patriarchs, socialists and capitalists, scream at each other for hours, not always for the reasons you expect, and do nothing constructive. That makes Israeli politics a lot like everyone else’s politics, but it has its unique features as well.

The Israeli left is one of the few socialist movements in the First World to lose power because of immigration. Around the same time that Western immigration policies were being tuned to bring in populations with less investment in their new nations, new Israeli immigrants were more patriotic and nationalistic. To understand the effect, imagine that the United States today was being flooded, not with the morass of Mexicans, Haitians, Pakistanis and Kenyans, but with Irish and Italian immigrants who had no hesitation about flying the Stars and Stripes or identifying with their new country.

Russian and Middle-Eastern Jews who arrived in Israel (and the United States) were more likely to be conservative and to regard the left’s growing preoccupation with appeasing terrorists with suspicion. And in a two party system, their votes would have prevented the left from ever doing more than having a few token elected members denounce the state on the floor of the Knesset before slinking back to their cafes.

The Israeli left was never particularly fond of immigration to Israel. Their ideal from the start was a land settled by a cadre of young men and women, trained in their schools and indoctrinated with their ideology. British restrictions on Jewish immigration were not nearly as troubling to them as they were to the right. Israel, as they saw it, would be for a small chosen elite, a socialist enterprise that the vast majority of European Jews did not have the skills or temperament to participate in.

Their vision of a country consisting of collective farms and a few state-operated enterprises under a single union was ended by the Holocaust. While the right took the lead in smuggling Jews into Israel, particularly in the fading days of the war, the left had still not come to grips with a country being overrun by the kind of people they had wanted to leave behind.

The left seized power early on and, with the Altalena massacre, demonstrated that it was entirely willing to kill to maintain that power. But it couldn’t maintain it against the press of the ballot box. The system of patronage that it implemented was meant to marginalize the right, as well as those outside its club, the Holocaust survivors and Middle Eastern Jews, who were meant to play secondary roles in the life of the country.

One of the peculiarities of Israeli politics was that its left was nativist while its right took on the role of the defenders of marginalized minorities. A role reversal that was made possible because, while most Western leftist parties viewed immigration as a way to destabilize the nativist vote, the Israeli left saw immigrants as destabilizing their existing power base.

A Sane Israeli is a Leftist Mugged by Illegal African Migrants

Monday, June 11th, 2012

Israel has been under attack by the onslaught of illegal immigrants from Africa and over the past few months there has been an unbearable rise of crime — brutal rapes and assaults of teenagers and women in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Netivot, Lod, Netanya, Eilat, Or Akiva, Bnei Brak, Kiryat Sefer, and more. These illegal job-seeking immigrants are being deemed as “refugees” by all sorts of “aid groups” in Israel, who vocally protest all government actions to evict these illegals — estimates ranging from 90,000 to 700,000. Many of the same “social justice” advocates who demand a better quality of life for Israel’s lower and middle class, are also demanding equal rights for these thousands of illegals as well.

These “activists” live in fiscal fantasyland.

Israel’s conservative fiscal policy is the last barrier preventing Israel from plunging into a recession that has befell most of the developed nations around the world since 2008. As the Eurozone stronger countries struggle to keep Greece, Spain, Portugal and Italy afloat with hundreds of billions of Euro in bailout loans, Israel has no such financial sugar daddy. No one will bail out Israel’s fledgling economy if we over-spend. No one will come to our fiscal rescue if we go bankrupt providing services and social benefits to the tens of thousands of migrant workers who have illegally infiltrated Israel. We’re on our own, and our first responsibility is to ourselves.

Despite the ongoing rabble from the “refugee aid groups” who routinely pine on the Israeli guilty conscience that “we too were refugees, and its our responsibility to accept these illegal Africans,” MK Ophir Okunis correctly stated this morning on IDF Radio that 99% of these refugees are NOT legally considered refugees. Less than a few dozen have actually fled their countries due to political or military persecution and have directly entered Israel. They have all entered Israel via Egypt, via Libya, and via other countries. Once the refugee left their country where they were persecuted and entered another country where the threat of persecution ended, they are no longer refugees from their country of origin. As they continue their trek to Israel via other countries, they are no longer in search of protection, rather in search of opportunity and jobs. Entering Israel via Egypt they are here in the quest of economic opportunity and the benefits which Israel’s left are more than happy to offer.

Unfortunately, Israel as a Jewish Democracy cannot tolerate this situation; not economically, not demographically, and certainly — not the awful crime wave which has descended upon us.

Left leaning Israeli Journalist Guy Maroz slammed right-wing MKs in March 2010 for wanting to create “labor camps” for these illegal workers. He was among the most vocal activists demanding that Israel not deport the children of these illegal immigrants with their families.

Till it hit home for him.

Till he woke up and realized that the problem isn’t only in South Tel-Aviv or Eilat (which obviously aren’t his problem because he doesn’t live there)…and the illegals started flooding all of Israel, his hometown as well.

In a heartfelt letter to Israel’s Prime Minister via an opinion piece in NRG/Maariv, Maroz begs PM Netanyahu to take action against the surge of illegals:

“The writer of these lines, and his wife were among the most strident activists against the expulsion of the the children of [illegal African] foreign workers. That is why I permit myself to scream today, “No More. No more flooding of the streets and lives of Israel’s poorest citizens [South Tel Aviv].

This week a friend hesitantly told me, and she is one of the most enlightened and liberal people I know, ‘they have also come to us, to Hod Hasharon.”

And they have arrived here as well.”

Israel needs to quickly take decisive action to quash the illegal immigration from Africa.

This isn’t racism. This isn’t intolerance. This isn’t immoral.

This is self-preservation. This is the responsibility of survival of the Jewish State, for us, our children, and generations to come.

Follow the Muqata on Twitter.

Immigration Police Round Up Sudanese for Deportation

Monday, June 11th, 2012

Israeli immigration police arrest dozens of South Sudanese illegal immigrants in Eilat on Monday morning in a raid intended to curb the influx of unauthorized entrants from Africa.

At approximately 5:00 AM, immigration police raided a neighborhood which has become known as a way station for the hundreds of migrants who breach Israeli borders from the south.  Police gave the individuals time to gather and pack their belongings before being deported.  Eight South Sudanese migrants were arrest by the Immigration Authority on Sunday.

Last week, a Jerusalem court ruled that Israel could deport South Sudanese citizens back to their country.

The Knesset on Monday will dedicate special sessions to dealing with strong Israeli reactions to violence and theft brought on by the wave of Sudanese and Eritrean illegal immigrants, in particular in South Tel Aviv and the port city of Eilat.  Discussions will include ways to deal with the various classifications of immigrants – including opportunists as well as asylum-seekers – as well as Israeli violence against the migrants sparked by public outrage at immigrant conduct.

On Sunday, the Ministerial Committee for Legislation supported a bill to punish Israelis who employ or migrants and Palestinians who are inside Israeli illegally.

Though it is difficult to estimate how many illegal immigrants from Africa are currently in Israel, Ministry of Interior estimates, as of April 2012, 59,858 Illegal immigrants who were never imprisoned in detention facilities have infiltrated into Israel.  A fraction of those are entitled to refugee status, while Eritreans – comprising a whopping 34,000 of those – will not be deported due to the opinion of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees that Eritrea has a difficult internal situation and a forced recruitment and that Eritrean immigrants should be defined as a “temporary humanitarian protection group”.

Quiz App, the Next Big Thing, Brainchild of US Olim Startup

Thursday, May 24th, 2012

These days, the dream of Aliya often goes hand-in-hand with the dream of making it big in hi-tech. An increasing number of immigrants are entrepreneurs.

It is no secret that all the hi-tech giants are big in Israel, too, because of the hi-tech brain trust that bustles within this little country. IBM, Intel, Apple, Google, Microsoft, Sears, even the Ford Motor Company, each have made significant investments and inroads in Israel.

A group of highly educated, creative and motivated brainiacs is at the core of what is now commonly referred to as “Start-up Nation.” Indeed, dozens of Israeli start-ups have become funded and are recognized worldwide as leaders in their individual spaces, including: Conduit, Shaker, Wibya, Wix, Boxee, Face, Gigya, Soluto, Taykee, SmartApp, StartApp, and NDS (which Cisco just acquired for $5 billion).

QuizRevolution is yet another new Israeli company vying to become the next big thing. It is an industry leader in interactive multimedia engagement. Their platform offers an easy to create quiz or training window, currently on over 200,000 websites. Users simply go to the QR website and create quizzes which can include training videos and unlimited pictures, pausing between each question with a series of multiple-choice of fill-in answers. The number of questions on a quiz is unlimited and each quiz can be embedded and re-embedded on any web page. .

QuizRevolution just introduced a fast ramp to launching custom Facebook Game Apps. Anyone can create a quiz on QR – about anything – and quickly turn it into a Facebook-ready App. Play the demo here.

The JewishPress.com website runs its daily News Quiz on QR:

Over the last year, the company has added to its customer list Vanity Fair Magazine, The History Channel, Wired Magazine, the Governor of Hawaii, MTV, Popular Mechanics, and Monster. This in addition to thousands of individual users who have been flocking to their product.

Rich Brownstein, who moved to Jerusalem from Los Angeles in 2003, is QuizRevolution’s CEO. From 1990 until making aliyah, Brownstein was founder and owner of The Transcription Company, Hollywood’s premier transcription service, having built it from scratch in his apartment in Pico-Robertson.

By the time Brownstein sold his company in 2003, every movie studio and television network had become a client. His company was responsible for the production and sale of transcripts for NPR, ABC News, and Oprah.

In Israel, Brownstein met David Goldberger, a Netanya, Israel-based American ex-patriot, who introduced the former Hollywood executive (Brownstein had produced movies and videos in Tinseltown) to the idea that eventually became QuizRevolution.

Chief Information Officer David Goldberger

Chief Information Officer David Goldberger

Goldberger, the new company’s Chief Information Officer, had already spent three years developing and perfecting the QR technology. Their team was rounded out by Chairman Ben Turin, a Lakewood, N.J., resident, with his eye on Aliyah. The team has grown in the past months to include Answers.com founder Bob Rosenschein, who is chairman of the company’s Technical Advisory Board.

The Quizzes are fun and engaging. In a world of diminishing attention spans, the average time spent on web pages with QuizRevolution embeds exceeds 10 minutes, while a global standard is 30 seconds. To date, more than 45 million user-created quizzes have been served by QR.

For example, a Sudoku tutorial has been served over a million times. Monster.com uses the product for a Virtual Job Interview. And the Governor of Hawaii uses QR to highlight his accomplishments

And this multimillion dollar system – which is bullet-proofed on cloud-based technology – has been internally funded. When asked if the company is seeking investors, CEO Brownstein commented, “We would never turn away a good partner, our door is open.”

“We are very excited,” he added, “by our rapid growth and the potential for publishers worldwide.”

It is no coincidence that QR usage is high throughout the Internet in all languages. “Although we know we are not the next Facebook,” mused Brownstein, “our viral product has gained interest from many Fortune 100 companies because of its versatility and stickiness. We have a formidable team, we are an industry leader in our space, and the sky’s the limit!”

Interior Minister: We Must Deport African Refugees

Wednesday, May 16th, 2012

The day after police arrested four Eritrean and Sudanese men for robbing and raping a 19 year-old woman in south Tel Aviv’s Neve Sha’anan, Israeli Interior Minister Eli Yishai said most African illegal immigrants should be rounded up and either deported or arrested.

Speaking to Army Radio on Wednesday, Yishai (Shas) distinguished between those seeking asylum and those who came to Israel as opportunists, interested in taking advantage of Israeli  humanitarian benefits or engaging in crime.  All those involved in crime should be jailed, according to Yishai, and the majority of the remainder deported, except for those who are truly threatened in their countries of origin.  “One cannot forsake the security of Israelis,” Yishai said.  Under his plan, the deported would be provided financial assistance by Israel.

South Tel Aviv has become a center of African illegal immigrants, who primarily enter the country with the aid of Bedouins through Sinai.

MK Danny Danon (Likud) on Wednesday wrote on his Facebook page that he will take steps to remove the illegal immigrants from the country.  “I intend to hold a national emergency hearing on the issue of the illegal infiltrators. The current situation is intolerable! We should expel all the infiltrators before it’s too late,” he wrote.  Danon advocates evicting over 80% of illegal immigrants from Africa and Eastern Europe.

Haaretz published parts of a report on Tuesday in which Israel’s Foreign Ministry recommended investigating the possibility of deporting refugees whose lives would not be threatened by the measure.

MK Dov Hanin (Hadash) called Yishai comments “incitement and populism”.

There are between 700 and 2,000 South Sudanese illegals in Israel, according to estimates.

On June 3, the government will issue a response to the District Court for Administrative Matters in Jerusalem regarding Israel’s ability to withdraw protection from South Sudanese asylum seekers.

Far-Right Victories in Greece Frighten Jewish Community

Monday, May 7th, 2012

Jewish leaders in Greece expressed concern and disappointment after the fascist Golden Dawn party was poised to enter the Greek parliament for the first time.

Speaking to a news conference on Sunday, Golden Dawn leader Nikolaos Michaloliakos warned Greece’s enemies – inside and outside the country – that they should be “very afraid.”

“We are coming,” said Michaloliakos, one of the party’s only nationally known leaders. He came to prominence when he won a seat on the Athens City Council in 2010 and celebrated by giving the Nazi salute at the first City Hall meeting.

The party had campaigned on an anti-austerity, anti-immigrant platform, preying on the fears of ordinary Greeks who have seen their neighborhoods overrun by the nearly 1 million immigrants who have flooded the country from Asia and Africa hoping to use it as a gateway to the European Union.

With most of the ballots counted, Golden Dawn received nearly 7 percent of the vote in Sunday’s elections as Greeks punished the mainstream parties they blame for the country’s financial crisis and accepting harsh European austerity measures.

“It is very disappointing that in a country like Greece, where so many were killed fighting the Germans, that a neo-Nazi party is now in parliament,” David Saltiel, president of the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece, told JTA.

It was a major victory for Golden Dawn, whose flag closely resembles the Nazi swastika. In the 2009 elections, the party garnered just 0.29 percent of the vote. In Greece, a party needs more than 3 percent of the vote to make it into parliament.

Saltiel said Golden Dawn entering the parliament was of ” very great concern because they are extreme right,” but he expressed his hope that the party may now moderate its positions.

“We are looking at how the situation will be in parliament and what their positions will be,” he said.

During the elections, young party supporters with shaved heads and wearing black shirts with the Golden Dawn symbol set up vigilante groups to protect Greeks from  immigrants. They have been blamed for several attacks on foreigners; the party denies the charges.

The party’s election platform included plans to landmine Greece’s borders, immediately arrest and expel illegal immigrants, and set up special labor camps for legal immigrants who commit crimes.

Its manifesto does not specifically mention the country’s small Jewish community, saying only that the party would tolerate religious freedom “except in cases that affect national interest and undermine Hellenism.”

However, the party openly displays copies of “Mein Kampf” alongside works on Greek racial superiority at party headquarters and the party symbol has been found at the sites of anti-Semitic attacks in the past.

English-Speakers Laugh At Life in Israel

Thursday, March 1st, 2012

“Sh*t Anglos in Israel Say”, an English-speaking Israeli meme of the popular Youtube video Sh*t Girls Say”, earned 57,000 views in two days, taking comedic aim at the life of the average young English-speaking immigrant to Israel.

With such typical oleh quips as “I’m going to the post office, I’ll be back in 4 hours,” “You’re going back to the States? Oh, can you bring me back some NyQuil?” and “You have last year’s Cosmo?  Can I borrow it?” the film poked fun at the frustration, confusion, and occasional desperation of Israelis harkening from the US, Canada, England and Australia.

The video is the brainchild of Shira Rottner and Yosef Adest, a freelance video producer and photographer who made aliyah in 2003 from New York.  A self-proclaimed optimist, Adest – who is now 31, single, and living in Tel Aviv – says that while his video is a critique of Israeli society, it was also a labor of love.

“The whole video is a stab at Israel and Israelis,” Adest told The Jewish Press.  “It’s about what is wrong with this place, but looking at it and smiling at it.  We laughed the whole time we were making it.”

The video centered around the characters’ struggle to adapt to a sometimes brusque and foreign-seeming Israeli culture while remaining within the safe and familiar environment of the Anglo community, with its recognizable products and comforts. “What we joke about in the video is all true, it’s all fact,” Adest said.  “It’s not a reason that Israel is bad or challenging, it’s just how Israel is.”  The key, he said, is attitude.  “I feel great that I’m in a place now that I can say no, I’m not an Israeli and I’ll never be, but I completely feel like I fit in and I can call this place my home.”

“We grew up with ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ – we’ll always be different,” he joked.

Yet while Anglo Israelis frequently feel themselves to be apart from native Israeli culture, they can also grow to feel that they no longer relate to the culture of their past, either.  “I was in America, and people were getting in line to get on the bus, and I was like ‘really? You need a whole line?  Here, let me help you with your baby’. I really felt like a foreigner,” Adest said.  “And that’s crazy!  I’m not an Israeli, but I’m no longer American. I’m in the middle.”

Young and old, recent and veteran immigrants to Israel posted comments and kudos on Youtube and Facebook commiserating and laughing with the cast and crew.  Some commenters expressed sheepish surprise at how much the stereotypical immigrants sounded like them, while others shared their joy at being able to identify with the comical trials and tribulations of the actors.

At one point, one of the characters said “I hate it here”, which Adest said is something he has heard some immigrants say.  “Myself and everyone involved, we all love Israel, but we included that statement because people really say that,” Adest said.  “But I think at the same time, most people who grow frustrated with the challenges love it. I think you can get to a point where you can really appreciate it all.  We can make fun of it without harming the integrity of our love for this place as our home.”  Incidentally, the character expressing her frustration with life in Israel was immediately answered by a friend saying, “Oh, I love it here”.

As for himself, Adest made Israel home for different reasons than the ones he loves Israel for today.  “When I made aliyah, I came for very spiritual reasons, but I’ve actually come to love the Israeli culture, the Israeli mindset as well, completely separate from the religious and spiritual significance of the place,” he said.  “I think that’s when you can completely be absorbed here, when you can appreciate the whole gamut.”

JewishPress.com Managing Editor Yishai Fleisher expressed pride in Adest’s accomplishment.  “I first met Yosef Adest at Jerusalem II pizza in Manhattan when I was hosting a pro-aliyah event.  Later, I greeted him as he got off the Nefesh b’Nefesh plane on aliyah,” Fleisher said.  “It was obvious then that here was a young man who was coming to Israel with great ideological passion and a tremendous love of the land and the Jewish people, and since aliyah, he has put his talents to good use.  This video is entertaining, but it also shows the normalization of aliyah in American Jewish life and is a stepping stone in the process of the ingathering of North American Jewry to Israel.”

Yishai Fleisher and Yosef Adest have produced two films together – one about the mass priestly blessing which happpens at the festivals in Jerusalem, and one humorous short about shaking the lulav and etrog on Sukkot.

For more videos by Yosef Adest, visit www.yosefadest.com

 

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/english-speakers-laugh-at-life-in-israel/2012/03/01/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: