Many people have different ideas as to what constitutes a leader. For me, a
leader is someone who doesn’t just talk, but rather acts.
their core are problem solvers. They see a problem, they form an action plan to
solve that problem, and then they delegate to implement a
Israel is a country with no shortage of problems.
most people will agree on the severity of the security threats Israel faces both
externally and internally, I don’t believe those serving in the Israeli
government truly understand the severity of the problems that young people in
Israel trying to build a life here face.
One of the major problems today
facing young Israelis – both olim and native Israelis alike – is buying a home.
This problem is not new; within the past decade, housing prices have risen at a
rapid pace while wages have remained stagnant.
My boyfriend, Moshe, and I
both have steady jobs, but despite making what are considered respectable
incomes, we cannot buy an apartment without help from both of our
For Moshe’s parents, as for many Israeli parents, this is a
given; they knew long ago that they would have to lend some assistance to their
son for him to buy an apartment. When I tried to explain to my American parents
that I would need some help (a lot of help) to afford an apartment, you can
imagine that they weren’t exactly thrilled, despite the fact that my parents are
very giving people.
Both of my parents are several months away from
retirement, and the money they have saved up is for them to live on when they
retire. How is it that I am nearly 30 years old, have a stable job in hi-tech,
and have to ask my parents for a considerable amount of money to help me buy an
apartment? Many Israelis are not looking to buy apartments in upscale areas, yet
despite this the prices are still skyhigh.
Several weeks ago, Moshe and I
visited several of the builders in the Yehud/Or Yehuda area – areas once
considered affordable. To begin with, none of the builders are even building
three-bedroom apartments, only four-bedrooms and higher, which of course means
steeper prices. When one of the builders we paid a visit to told us the price of
a four-bedroom apartment, we literally laughed out loud, and Moshe said, “Where
are we supposed we get all that money?” To which the nonchalant response was,
“The bank gives.”
Encounters such as these with builders in Israel are
not unique. Some two years ago tens of thousands of Israelis stood in Kikar
Hamedina during the big protest against the government and the housing/economic
situation. I was one of the young people there, but I honestly did not get the
severity of the situation.
I wasn’t looking to buy an apartment then, and
I just didn’t get it.
Some people will argue that one can get by in
Israel without buying an apartment (which many are forced to do), but others
would like the security of knowing that once they start a family, the rent won’t
suddenly be raised ridiculously, or the owner won’t want new tenants, or sell
the apartment. How can a couple have young children in such a situation without
a great deal of stress and continual uncertainty? I wrote that a leader is
someone who acts, and now I ask: where are Israel’s leaders? Israel’s economy is
predicted to grow by 3.9 percent in 2014, but most Israelis struggle daily and
the question once again is: where is the money? Part of the answer is obvious; a
lot of the money goes to Israel’s defense, which it rightfully should, but that
certainly isn’t all of it. Where is the plan of action on the part of Israel’s
leaders for example on the housing situation, which is one of the biggest
internal problems Israel faces? There is talk among Israel’s leaders, but no
noticeable concrete action.
Since the protests in the summer of 2011,
prices have increased. Taxes have been increased because the government is
running such a deficit, further burdening the “have-nots” in Israel’s society.
We are told that this is necessary for the next couple of years, but with the
way Israel’s government is set up, who can guarantee that in a few years the
same people implementing these measures today will still be in power to see them
through? Leadership starts from the position of prime minister down to the local
councils. My hope is that this post will serve as a call to action for the prime
minister and his ministers. Mr. prime minister, if my boyfriend and I decide in
the future to move to the United States because we simply cannot afford to build
a life here, you will have lost two people who could have contributed greatly to
Israel’s society and its future.
My dream as an olah is to raise a family
here in Israel, for my children to be Israeli and not have to read in a textbook
what the Land of Israel is, but to rather live it. Let me fulfill my dream of
raising a family here in Israel. Do not point fingers, do not blame this person
or this party – act.
The author has lived in Israel just over six years,
works in sales, and currently resides in Shoham.
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