Dozens file into Rabin Square October 14 to learn about how to emigrate to Berlin.
(photo credit: Lahav Harkov)
The man behind the ‘Milky Protest,’ encouraging Israelis via social media to immigrate to Berlin, revealed his identity Friday: He is Naor Narkis, 25, from Ramat Gan.
Narkis served in the IDF as an officer in Military Intelligence’s research department, he told Channel 10 News.
When he finished the army, about a year ago, he moved to Paris and then to Berlin five months ago.
The “Milky Protest” began on October 5, when Narkis, under the pseudonym Olim L’Berlin, “Ascending to Berlin,” using the term for immigration to Israel, posted a photograph on Facebook of the German equivalent of the Israeli chocolate pudding- and-whipped-cream treat Milky, along with a receipt showing that the cost is less than a third of what it is in Israel.
“I didn’t think this would cause a national uproar,” he told Channel 10.
While the picture was shared thousands of times and sparked public discourse on the cost of living, with even Finance Minister Yair Lapid and President Reuven Rivlin commenting, the number of Israelis who are moving to Berlin or emigrating at all is lower than ever, according to Central Bureau of Statistics data.
In addition, a protest in Tel Aviv last Tuesday encouraging young people to leave the country, organized by a then-anonymous Narkis from Berlin, drew fewer than 100 people.
Narkis denied to Channel 10 and The Washington Post
that he had any financial interest in Israelis moving to Berlin or that he worked in real estate in Germany.
He does, however, give language classes and claims to speak Hebrew, English, Arabic, German, French and Spanish.
According to Narkis, Milky pudding is “just an example of a simple pleasure that became expensive, that too many parents have to think about twice before putting in their shopping cart.
“Everyone knows that the issue isn’t Milky, it’s the whole package – education, housing, health and welfare,” he told Channel 10.
“Israel is too expensive for young people, and if that doesn’t change, it will lose a generation of us who will move away,” Narkis told the Washington Post, adding that the cost of living is “forcing young people into exile.”
The Israeli told the US paper’s Berlin bureau chief, Anthony Faiola, that he found Berlin to be welcoming to Israelis and pointed out that German Chancellor Angela Merkel recently led a rally against anti-Semitism.
“I think young Germans and young Israelis share a lot in common. We both grew up in the shadow of the Holocaust. And in that sense, we understand each other,” he explained.
Narkis said that he loves Israel, but his parents, who are unable to help him financially, support his efforts. Still, Narkis told the Washington Post that, while he originally planned to stay in Berlin for a few years, he may leave sooner.
“I miss my parents and they miss me,” he said.