You read the title of this article correctly. In the last few years, a total of 20,000 young, energetic Jews have moved to the “White City” called Tel Aviv. In case you can’t figure out why, please read this article which explains what this amazing city offers. (Note: Thank you to Jay Shultz, President of “Am Yisrael Foundation” for providing much of the information in this article) Tel Aviv is among the most exciting things happening in the Jewish world today. Many consider that this great city will be the savior of the Jewish nation! Let’s face it; returning to Israel is more than a Biblical prophecy, it has become a practical necessity for our continuity. With painful levels of intermarriage and assimilation in almost all Jewish communities worldwide, connecting to the Land of Israel and Jewish identity through Observant Zionism has never been more important. Israel is our native habitat. This is where we can best actualize our potential as individuals and as a Nation. The White City is the most desirable place in the Land for most young Jews living around the globe to move to. From New York, London, Paris, Buenos Aires, Sydney, Cape Town, Toronto, Los Angeles, Rome etc…Tel Aviv is currently where most young Jews head to when making the noble decision to come Home. Beyond its physical appeal as a modern multicultural international city, Tel Aviv offers both the career and urban cultural infrastructure that is ideal for young Jews to integrate into, and to sustain their lives over the long term. Tel Aviv-Yafo has always been a major port of Eretz Yisrael, and specifically the main physical and spiritual port for Yerushalayim. Since ancient days, when Shlomo HaMelech brought in the foundations of the Beit Hamikdash through this holy port city, Tel Aviv-Yafo has been both a literal and figural lighthouse and gateway for the Jewish People to connect to the Land of Israel. Rashi posited that the entire reason for the exile was to ensure that the Jewish People brought the sparks of holiness that were spread around the globe to the Land of Israel. As it was in antiquity, Tel Aviv is again the first touch-point for the best of the international arena to enter our Land. Tel Aviv is where the great Rav Kook initially settled in the Land and became its first Chief Rabbi and the former Belzer Rebbe famously called the city, “Tel Aviv Ir HaKodesh”. Today’s new vibrant young international community of Tel Aviv is the spiritual inheritor of the original sixty-six founding families, all of whom were Olim themselves. Tel Aviv today has over 20,000 young western Olim. This astonishing number reflects a niche community that has tripled in the past six years alone, and represents the tip of the iceberg in terms of massive waves of Olim coming in the next few years. When writing this article, I called Jay Shultz – the man considered the father of the Tel Aviv Olim community – and asked him what his organization’s goals are. Here is what he had to say; “It is our goal to entice young Jews from around the globe to come live in Tel Aviv and we have chosen to sponsor many non-profit community platforms within the city. We know that these new young Olim want to give to Israeli society far more than they are looking to take. Once we help establish
these young Olim, giving them a significant foothold and comfort level in this city, they will quickly repay the favor in quantities far outweighing our original investment in them. Investing in young Olim and related organizations does far more than simply benefiting a few thousand people. The paradigm shift of Tel Aviv as the preeminent destination for young Jews has ripple effects for the entire Jewish world. Not only can this significant new movement move the dial towards inspiring a whole new generation that is afflicted with gross apathy and disconnection from Jewish identity, but each young Oleh brings substantive economic benefit to Tel Aviv and Israel as a whole. Giving to young Olim is just good business.” I asked Jay to explain what he meant by “good business” and his answer was very informative; “A study conducted by the accounting and consulting firm Deloitte Brightman Almagor Zohar shows the overwhelming contribution western immigrants to Israel have made to the country’s economy. This analysis was conducted based on accumulated data of about 18,000 US/Canadian immigrants who made Aliyah between the years 2002-2008. According to the study, households of these immigrants “pay back” the Israeli government’s investment in them within the first year of their arrival, and are already a significant source of income for the country within five years. The 6,493 households which made Aliyah through between 2002 and 2008 have yielded a whopping 989 million shekels, with the cost of absorbing them standing at only NIS 528 million, leaving the immigrants’ contribution at NIS 461 million in that short period. Visiting friends and family of the Olim in this study also gave a boost to the economy by supporting the national tourism industry to the tune of NIS 347 million. Adding this to the tally, Olim were accountable for a total GNP contribution of NIS 808 million (over $212 million) within those six years. Considering the passage of a few years since this study was conducted, and the continued employment and success of these western Olim, that number could be higher than NIS 3 billion today. The success of these western Olim can be tied to three key factors: 1. The high level of higher education found among western immigrants. Their level (75% have a bachelor’s degree or higher) is significantly higher than the average in Israel. 2. Western immigrants tend to arrive with considerable valuable assets. 3. Many tourists are attracted to Israel by these western Olim, whose families and friends have pumped hundreds of millions of shekels in tourist dollars into the economy. Other interesting findings include the high employment eligibility of these western Olim (81% of adult western immigrants are at the age of employment), and their overwhelming success in finding a job (almost 90% are employed within one year of arrival).” Jay concluded by telling me just how much he believes in Tel Aviv. “I love Tel Aviv, and hope the entire Jewish People see the unique value this city will have for our shared bright future. Come home to Tel Aviv and join 20,000 others!” For more information, please go to www.AmYisrael.com. More good news from Israel next week!