By: Roie Kaner
In the shadow of the progress of the Russian invasion of Ukraine , the issue of assisting the Jewish communities in Ukraine and the evacuation of Israeli citizens, as well as those entitled to return to Israel- seeking to immigrate to Israel, has recently come up on the public agenda.
In the case of any traumatic event (terrorist attack, sudden change of government, economic crisis and of course anti-Semitic incidents) in places Jews live, the State of Israel is quick to encourage Jews in distress to immigrate to Israel. Indeed, such times are times in which the State of Israel is allowed to do more to promote immigration to Israel. But, encouraging the aliyah to Israel alone is not enough.
Immigrants from Ukraine at Ben Gurion Airport
( Photo: Hadas Porush )
In order to produce a real wave of immigration, which will strengthen the country with tens of thousands of excellent citizens who will immigrate here, expand and enlarge the settlements, and also contribute to the economy, it is not possible to be content with information and campaigns. Such a strategic move should also correspond with the existing reality in Israel. Therefore, the state must first and foremost address the economic problems that exist in Israel, first and foremost the housing crisis and the cost of living.
Real estate prices in Israel are usually significantly higher than what the Jewish public living abroad is used to. Also, the less-than-ideal housing benefits currently given to new immigrants, such as a discount on the purchase of electrical products and a different calculation for purchase tax (which in some cases does not even benefit the immigrants), cause quite a few families to give up the idea of moving to Israel, even though they want to move to Israel, the conditions are too difficult. The state should assist those families in bridging these price differences and lend a hand to every Jew who wishes to return to the Land of Israel, wherever he/she is in the world.
Now presents a true opportunity to offer real benefits to immigrants by purchasing apartments in various cities throughout Israel and to encourage the absorption of immigrants in growing localities and the periphery; not only in the center of the country, where most immigrants settle. The state must also provide additional economic incentives to encourage immigration, such as various types of tax relief and other payment assistance, even at the outset. This way, it will give those families an incentive to make aliyah and aide in economic peace and stability during the period of adjustment- which marks as the first few years in the country.
If the State of Israel is serious about its intentions to be home to every Jew in the world, it must prove it by deeds, not by words. It must present a serious and budgeted plan, which will be made public and show the Jews of the world that the State of Israel is aware of the situation and is ready to act in order to allow those families to immigrate to Israel and live with dignity.
Roie Kaner is an expert in marketing Israeli real estate to international clients and new immigrants and is the CEO of Montefiore Real Estate Group, Israel’s top luxury real estate agency for internationals.
- This is a direct translation of an article written by Roie Kaner, company CEO and specialist in luxury real estate in Israel working with international clientele