Thursday, December 30, 2010

Why Israelis leave ... (any reason is good)

"... AGAINST this intellectual backdrop, the US Census Bureau has just released new figures on the number of Israelis living in the US at the end of 2009. According to the data, the number of individuals born in Israel now living in the US grew by about 30 percent since 2000. Some 140,323 people living in the States at the end of 2009 were born in Israel, up from 109,720 in 2000. Of the Israelis living there, 90,179 had US citizenship; 50,144 did not.
Some observers will doubtless be tempted to interpret this rise as a direct result of disenchantment with Israel’s failure to reach a peace agreement with the Palestinians. But, strikingly, Walt, Lustick and others claiming that “moderate” Israelis are abandoning the Zionist project, ostensibly fed up with Israeli policies, have never actually troubled to ask the Israeli expatriates why they left.
Now, several immigration sociologists have done that. One of them is Lilach Lev-Ari, who heads the Oranim Academic College of Education’s sociology department. From in-depth interviews with hundreds of Israeli expats in North America, Lev-Ari has reached the conclusion that “push” factors such as the two Lebanon wars, the two intifadas and suicide bombings had negligible impact on emigration. In contrast, economic “pull” factors have dominated since the 1970s, when Israelis began to go abroad en masse..."

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