Sunday, August 1, 2010

How many new Nefesh be'Nefesh immigrants fail in Israel ?


I would be very much interested in how many new immigrants (Olim Chadashim) arriving in Israel with Nefesh be'Nefesh actually fail and make their way back into their "home" countries.
We all know the huge advertising campaign from Nefesh be'Nefesh for making Aliyah to Israel. Nice pictures with friendly and happy Jews arriving at Ben Gurion Airport. Everyone is just so terribly happy to build a life in Israel. And as we know, NBN is investing large sums of money into the new immigrants participating in their programme making it quite convenient for the newcomers. When I came with the Jewish Agency from Germany, no one was really interested and neither did I receive thousands of Shekels nor an immediate apartment / house but had to fight my own way through. No, I am not jealous because NBN Olim receive huge amounts of money and an instant place to live. Maybe even a job.

Making Aliyah in a "normal" way is much more appreciated by Israelis. Fighting your way through, learning Hebrew, adjusting to a totally different mentality and culture. This is what Israelis want to see and not someone being paid off to come to Israel and neither learning the local language nor the Israeli mentality. Making Aliyah means becoming Israeli but many new immigrants have an Israeli passport and that's about it. They are not Israeli but Jews from foreign countries living in Israel. 

I have spoken to quite a few Americans who came here with Nefesh be'Nefesh and many of them told me about their disappointment. NBN hadn't told them the truth how hard life is in Israel. Many of those new Olim returned to the States after living in Beit Shemesh or Jerusalem for a while. 

Unfortunately NBN doesn't publish how many of their participants actually fail in Israel. How many people go back to their home countries and how many stay in Israel. 
I would be very much interested in those figures !


  1. intresting thought! why dont u ask NBN directly

    i know a fair amount of NBN olim that have managedto sttle in RBS and are very happy here

    we did aliyah from UK and didnt get any money etc, we did it DIY and are here for 11 years, and we are here to stay FOREVER

  2. B"H

    Good idea and I have done so ! Hope to get a detailed response.:-)

    Years ago, we Westerners didn't get too many rights anyway but if you made Aliyah from the UK with NBN today today, it may be different.:-)

  3. r u sugesting we move back and go thru the whole thing again?

  4. B"H

    Oh, no, not at all !!!

    But what I do recommend to EVERY Oleh Chadash / Olah Chadasha is to get adjusted to one's new home. Go out, learn Hebrew, look for a job, be together with Israelis and not only with English, French or Spanish speakers. Or wherever you come from.

    Make Israeli friends and go to Israeli events. Thus you learn mentality and the language.
    I, for instance, didn't make Aliyah in order to be with Germans but I made Aliyah to ISRAEL. If someone is making Aliyah from the US in order to continue with his English language and compares everything to the US, he will remain in his own little American bubble.

  5. While NBN does offer loans to come (which become grants only after you stay for 3 years), you have to qualify financially. It's not as easy as you might think--they don't give away big checks at the airport.

    As far as I know, they do NOT offer housing.

    We did make aliyah with NBN last year--we found them incredibly helpful in the immediate 2-4 weeks after we arrived for streamlining the paperwork and interfacing with the various govt offices, but in the long term we relied much more heavily on our friends and family already here. Of course we could have done it ourselves, but when you are starting your life over from scratch, it IS helpful to have exact instructions for what to do.

    I am sure that some people DO return--if I had to guess for financial reasons. (Maybe some cultural adjustment? I can't say.) NBN does not get you a job, they don't reduce your rent, they don't educate your children, etc.

    Not everyone who moves to Jerusalem, Beit Shemesh, Raanana or Modiin is interested in being in an American bubble--let's face it, all of these places are in/near the center...WHERE MOST OF THE JOBS are.

    I agree that ulpan is very important (I did it and it helped me a lot), but throwing yourself into a totally new culture/community as as adult is difficult enough without being someplace where you CAN call a local friend and speak in your native language. I'm sure people do it, but it's not for me personally. Am I a failure? Not in my eyes.

  6. B"H

    A friend of mine checked out the NBN forms and said that they are asking for too much information. She claims that they want personal information from ten years back.

    I think that no one should make Aliyah without having been to Israel before or, even better, has lived here for a while. Then you won't have such a culture surprise.

    In Modi'in, Beit Shemesh or Jerusalem you definitely have Anglo communities. Just look at the AACI or the Israel Center (OU) but no OLim should stick to that but go out and get to know Israelis or go to Hebrew cultural events.

    So far, I haven't received a response from NBN.

  7. NBN isn't available for Jews living in Australia or New Zealand.

    Not everyone has had an positive experience with NBN from what I've heard.

    Then again not everyone wants to make Aliyah. We also know that once you make Aliyah you can not actually leave Eretz Yisroel with a few exceptions.

  8. B"H

    The more I talk to Jews making Aliyah with NBN, the more I find out that NBN does have an agenda. Only certain Jews are accepted for the actual Aliyah process. Call it "people with a profession, a good education" and if you are too old and without any financial resources, you are out of the picture. It somehow reminds me of a selection. Either you fit in or you are doomed.

    The Jewish Agency was different and every Jew was accepted for Aliyah. In case that NBN doesn't accept you, then you still have the chance to make Aliyah on your own. Come to Israel and go to the local Ministry of Interior. Bring all your papers such as birth certificates, written proofs that your are Jewish. Don't bring any copies but original documents ONLY !!!

    Bring any certificates you can get hold of and a few passport photos.

    If you are making Aliyah this way, you are still entitled to receive certain rights but not the big NBN money. :-)))))

    What NBN does is telling their participants where to live. For a few years, you are bound to one place, if you like it or not.

    About not to be permitted to leave the country I haven't heard any opinions and thus I don't know.

  9. B"H

    By the way:

    After writing the top article, I sent an inquiry to Nefesh be'Nefesh asking for any statistics of new immigrants returning to their home countries.

    NBN has never answered my e - mail !

  10. There is a prohibition of leaving Eretz Yisroel.

    One of the reasons one would be able to leave is to earn parnossoh to support ones self and family.

    Some hold the opinion that one can leave temporarily and others (minority) believe that one should only leave if forced to do so.

    As for leaving Eretz to visit nations for instance who were known antisemites. There is no reason what so ever to be travelling to such countries.

    As for NBN the new program is to settle olim either in the North or South.

    I know a few people to come from six months to a year and visit different communities prior to making Aliyah to find a community that they feel they could live in.

    Also it depends when factoring in age, family, minhagim, work and qualifications and type of community one would like to reside in.