A recent poll by Israel’s Channel 10 has revealed that 51 per cent of Israelis have considered migrating to North America. The majority of the respondents attributed their desire to move to the high living costs in Israel, including rents.
The figures do not include those who have already left the country following the protests in Israel in 2011 against rising costs. According to the report, every group of friends who participated in the 2011 social protests is missing members who have upped and left the country. At least one person per group has left the country to study, work or simply emigrated.
Morne Wilkobic is a 32 year old journalist from Yihud neighbourhood who now lives in Berlin; she is married to a Dutch citizen. “At the age of 30 people return to stay with their families and their parents because they cannot afford to rent an apartment so they tell themselves, I have returned to the same apartment and the same bed I slept in when I was a teenager,” she said. “It is frustrating. Throughout my life in Israel, my bank account balance has always been negative. However, now my bank account is good and stable. Berlin is the best place I ever got to.”
Israeli real estate broker Yihaeil Scornaik pointed out that a two bedroom apartment in central Berlin costs between 500 -700 Euros a month. In addition to the cheap rent, the apartments are legally protected and the owner cannot threaten to expel the tenant if he refuses to pay an extra 50 Euros a month. “This is not the only temptation here,” he said. “The public transportation in Berlin is cheap compared to Israel and the average shop in a supermarket costs much less.”
According to ex-soldier Zohar, “You cannot accuse me of not loving the country. I was a first lieutenant in the army. I have served for 12 years, but when I got married and began to search for an apartment I realised how impossible my attempts were.” The economic situation in Berlin is much better than in Israel, he added.