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Friday, June 28, 2013

Olim get early education in Israeli reality

Hundreds of potential olim are getting an unwanted education in the realities of living in the socialist paradise. Let's hope this causes them to seek change rather than to reconsider.

Here in the socialist paradise, anyone can go on strike. Even diplomats. It's not quite that bad this week, but due to foreign ministry 'sanctions' hundreds of olim worldwide are having their aliya held up.
According to Jewish Agency director of aliya Yehuda Sharf, potentially “hundreds” of prospective immigrants worldwide have been told that they must put their travel plans on hold, as Israeli consulates are no longer issuing aliya visas necessary for obtaining citizenship.
Sharf told the Post that the Jewish Agency is “saddened by the distress to the new immigrants caused by the strike, and intends to do everything in its power to alleviate their problems.”
“We are very concerned that olim may suffer financial damages, as many of them have already made plans and sold their property,” Sharf said. “There are others who have arranged to start new jobs or registered for educational courses. There are even those who have been assigned a call-up date to the Israel Defense Forces.”
Prospective immigrants are among the thousands of people – including Israelis abroad, foreign statesmen and diplomats – caught in the crossfire created by the Foreign Ministry workers’ five-month-old labor dispute.
The ministry’s workers’ committee has steadily ratcheted up its sanctions, issuing directives last week to end all consular services abroad – a move that would include measures impacting prospective immigrants. This week, the workers announced that they would end all support given to foreign diplomats in Israel.
As a result of the sanctions, the Foreign Ministry has stopped providing logistical support for any ministerial trips abroad, ceased all cooperation with the IDF and the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) and refused to give assistance to visiting foreign dignitaries. On Sunday, Hungarian Human Resources Minister Zoltan Balog canceled his planned trip because of the sanctions.
In a statement to the Post, Foreign Ministry spokesman Paul Hirschson said that, as part of the work dispute, “consular services are being provided only in the following cases at present: anything to do with saving lives, personal medical requirements, the transfer of bodies for burial and anything to do with adoption and surrogacy.”
Therefore, as of Wednesday, all aliya was put on hold.
I'm thinking of where we were at this time in 1991 - the year we made aliya in August. There was no Nefesh b'Nefesh back then, and there were no Nefesh b'Nefesh flights. But by this time, our house was under contract and we may have had our plane tickets. In those days, you did all the visa paperwork at the airport. I would guess that the worst nightmare is for people who have sold their homes and given up their children's places in school for next year. I wouldn't worry too much about what people's plans are at this end - they're so used to this sort of thing that it will all sort out in the end. But given a five-month strike which seems to have little prospect of being resolved anytime soon, I'd be really nervous if I'd sold my house (and perhaps already had most of my worldly belongings on a ship to Israel), given up my children's places in school and suddenly discovered that I cannot get the visas to come to Israel. If you're in that position, my amateur advice would be to come as a tourist and make aliya once you're here.

Oh - and what's the strike about? We only get a hint of it from the relatively lengthy article linked above.
Speaking with the Post on Thursday, union chief Yair Frommer said that he was fighting for the very survival of Israel’s diplomatic corps.
“Today we are in the situation that one out of three diplomats that have been recruited to the cadet program leave after 10 years, and that is what I’m talking about,” he said. “People don’t see a future in the foreign service because of the working conditions.”
While he agrees with critics of the strike that “aliya is crucial for the State of Israel” and that immigration is “one of the most important elements in Israeli policy toward the Diaspora and Israeli identity,” Frommer said that it “is also one reason why we should have an acting professional foreign service; this is what we are fighting for.”
“Unfortunately,” he lamented, “this labor dispute is affecting many people, but I think that’s the only way to get the attention of policy-makers so they will understand how important it is to attend to the problems of the foreign service.”
And what are the problems? While I'm not 100% sure, I believe that we're talking about the age old problem about Foreign Ministers appointing cronies to key ambassadorial posts rather than longtime members of the foreign service corps. Honestly, this cuts both ways. While I would not have wanted to see Dalia Itzik as the ambassador to King James' court, the diplomatic corps has also produced more than its share of incompetents and embarrassments, not to mention people not capable of representing the country's policies. And there's also an element of Right v. Left here....

In any event, olim (immigrants) should not be paying the price.

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At 4:52 PM, Blogger Sunlight said...

Right, and Khmer Rouge Kerry will press for the "survival of Israel's diplomatic corps" because they have served, at least for '08 and '12 and possibly I just didn't notice it before, as campaign staffers for the Obama and who next (Hillary2016?) Progressive Democrat Party elections in the US. At this point, they are operating counter to the prospects of my flyover family... lined up with the Gaia Green $lu$h affordable energy wrecking crew (bringing child hunger to unprecedented levels where I live in flyover - but "what difference does it make" as long as the Gaia Green $lu$h (and now the BigBro $lu$h) keeps flowing). IT IS PHILOSOPHY THAT IS THE PROBLEM, NOT INCOMPETENCE OR EMBARRASSMENTS, Carl... The Israeli MFA is NOT representing Torah Economics at this point.


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