Many of formerly loyal Israelis are searching for an exit and obtaining second passports as protests and reforms shake the country.
In recent weeks, an increasing number of Israelis have either begun actively considering relocation or have already begun doing so. Not to another city, town, or suburb, but entirely outside of Israel.
The national anthem is being chanted as a growing number of Israelis take to the streets in a show of solidarity, carrying Israeli flags, two symbols that have long been associated with right-wingers but are now being reclaimed by the left.
The same people will probably be doing both: fighting for the Israel they fear losing, but also growing weary of that fight and preparing for the worst-case scenario.
The natural, unconditional connection they once had with their state has now been weakened, most likely permanently, as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu‘s far-right government pushes through radical judicial reforms intended to fundamentally alter Israel’s governance.
Giora Shalgi’s radio interview was a remarkable occurrence for Israelis. Between 1998 and 2004, the 84-year-old man oversaw the Israeli military’s Rafael Advanced Defense Systems (previously known as Rafael Armament Development Authority).
However, three months into the current administration, despite dedicating his life to Israel’s military, he told an interviewer that he was no longer committed to remaining in Israel.
I’ve been offered lucrative salaries abroad over the years; My coworkers were as well. He stated, “I even didn’t listen.” Shalgi continued, “when people like me start to entertain these kinds of thoughts and start to wonder, “Why am I here?” There must be a serious problem.
“The question is irrelevant to me because I am 84 years old, but it is relevant to my grandchildren. One of my grandchildren has already made the decision to move to Spain; The other is thinking about going to Canada. They don’t want their children to grow up here.
The interview made headlines because, according to Israeli standards, Shalgi is a symbol of Zionist dedication.
Numerous others who are now considering leaving do not make headlines; rather, they carry on as usual. whereas many more continue to entertain the possibility of leaving. Some of them openly discuss it out of defiance, while for others, it remains a private choice they are embarrassed to make in public.
After all, even a decade ago, leaving Israel was regarded as a betrayal-like act. Emigrants were referred to as “a cascade of wimps” by the then-Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in 1976, which is the closest Hebrew translation for a more offensive term. The unmistakable Israeli essayist Stomach muscle Yehoshua said they were tainted with an infection.
A New Home
This attitude and the terminology have evolved over time. A more neutral term has replaced the negative term used to describe those leaving Israel: relocation”.
The changes and enraged manner of speaking of the present government and the colossal fights they have incited have even legitimized wantaway sentiments inside what was left of the old “Israel as it were” unit.
Even just talking about relocation has become an act of resistance to Israel’s changing face. There is a growing number of people who are either actively involved in the process or considering “relocating.”