Israelis on social media are being encouraged to immigrate to other countries as their hopelessness sets in about the conservative nature of the incoming coalition and concerns liberal-religious and nonreligious groups have for their safety and wellbeing.
They are mainly concerned about religious and haredi (ultra-Orthodox) politicians’ declarations regarding issues of religion and state and also the expansion of settlements in Judea and Samaria.
A daily message is sent to dozens of groups active on social media: “Hi guys, we decided to organize this group as an answer to what is happening in the country: A change in regimes, the nature of the country changing for the worse and just the fact that life is not the same as it used to be.”
“Hi guys, we decided to organize this group as an answer to what is happening in the country: A change in regimes, the nature of the country changing for the worse and just the fact that life is not the same as it used to be.”Israelis who want to leave Israel
The groups are all headed by the same few people and titled, “Leaving the country – together.” The goal is to organize so that they could all leave together, with a goal of 10,000 set as the first goalpost of expatriation.
Why do Israelis want to move abroad?
The main organizer behind the groups is Yaniv Gorelik, who did not respond to queries by The Jerusalem Post. He has been very active in demonstrations against Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu over the past few years and has been very vocal against the “forcing of religion” as he sees it playing out in Israel as well as opposing haredi political power.
One of the active members of the group is Mordechai Kahana, an Israeli-American businessman and philanthropist most notable for his work with refugees from the Syrian civil war.
“I made aliyah to the US in 1991,” Kahana said of his immigration, using the Hebrew word aliyah (ascent), which defines the opposite – immigration of Diaspora Jews to Israel.
Asked why he called his immigration aliyah, he said, “I raised my standard of living, and I’ve raised the level of my own and my children’s education.”
Kahana said as an Israeli who grew up in distressed neighborhoods in Jerusalem, he was imbued with religious-Zionist ideology.
“Zionism runs through my veins, yet I came to New York to make money,” he said. His wife helped raise more than $1 billion for Israel in her work for the Jewish Federations of North America and the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, he added.
A few days ago, Kahana tweeted: “After years of smuggling Jews from war zones in Yemen, Afghanistan, Syria and Ukraine to Israel, I’ve decided to help Israelis make aliyah to the US.”
He was active in a group of Israeli-Americans who ran in the last elections for the World Zionist Congress. They only received enough votes to send one delegate to the congress in Israel.
“The members of the Israeli-American party thought I was a bit extreme because I told them it is time to offer the Zionist movement an alternative in case things in Israel keep getting worse,” Kahana said. “I don’t wish for our country to be destroyed, but what will happen if it is destroyed?”
“I see great brotherly hatred, and I see the Iranians with accurate missiles pointed at Israel,” he said. “Two thousand years ago [when the Second Temple was destroyed], it was exactly the same.”
Half of the funds raised by Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael-Jewish National Fund should be allocated for Jewish education in North America, Kahana said, “since we are half of the Jewish people. Let Jewish education be free, or at least subsidized. Jewish education is too expensive in the US.”
Kahana said he has received dozens of requests from Israelis for emigration help, mainly those who run small tech companies who are interested in relocating their entire firm to the US.
“I saw people in a WhatsApp group talking about immigration of Israelis to Romania or Greece, but I personally think that it will be a lot easier for them to immigrate to the US,” Kahana said. “I have a huge farm in New Jersey, and I offered Israelis to join in order to turn my farm into a kibbutz.”
“With such a government in Israel, the American government should let every Israeli who owns a company or has a sought-after profession in the US, such as doctors and pilots, immigrate to the US,” he tweeted.
The Jewish people never knew how to rule their own land and are destined to live in the Diaspora, Kahana said.
“The Second Temple was destroyed because of hatred, which resembles what is going on in Israel in 2022,” he said.
Kahana said he was willing to offer seven families to move to his New Jersey farm and establish an American kibbutz, called “Kibbutz Plan B.”
“I have a farm that has seven buildings that can be turned into apartments,” he said. “I’m happy to offer seven Israeli families to move to our farm and establish a kibbutz.”
Kahana said all of the dozens of Israelis who approached him for advice and connections were all secular.
“I have not spoken to a religious person who wants to leave Israel,” he said.
One of the members in the group is David, an Israeli who said he spent the past few weeks in Italy.
“I’ve been in Italy for almost a month, with a rented car and apartments, and it’s been a lot cheaper than living in Israel,” he wrote in the WhatsApp group on Sunday.
Israel has many “unnecessary taxes,” while “the biggest tax robbery in the world is in the [Israeli] housing tax,” David said. Israel’s supermarket prices for basic foods and groceries are “among the most expensive in the world,” he added.
David urged people to “get up and do something today. Even those among you who are in the more financially successful side of Israeli society, you better wake up since your fall will be much more painful than those who aren’t as successful.”
Still, there are only a few hundred Israelis who are members of these groups on all social-media platforms. They opened smaller groups for assistance in immigration to 26 countries, including Canada, Romania, Ukraine, Australia, Thailand, Germany, Greece, Portugal, Spain and the US.
This Thursday, the group of “Leaving the country – together” activists will meet virtually via Zoom for the first time. If the Zoom conversation is anywhere similar to what happens in the social-media groups, there will probably be many disruptions against this small, yet vocal group.