Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The eternal Oleh Chadash (New Immigrant)


About two weeks ago, I had a meeting with one of my German blog readers here in Tel Aviv. We went for a cup of coffee and the visitor started telling me about the old Yekkes (German immigrants in the 30ies and 40ies). Even the cafe where we were sitting used to be German in the old days. When I told him that I don't know any Germans in Israel, he couldn't believe it. He offered giving me addresses but I wan't interested at all.

I am quite sick of being identified as a "New Immigrant - Olah Chadasha)" after 15 years of living in Israel and told the following story to the visitor:

After my official Aliyah in June 2000 (I had lived in the country before for about four years), I joined an Ulpan (Hebrew language course). It wasn't really an Ulpan but rather a course where new immigrants learn how to look for a job in Israel. In other words, how an Israeli CV should look. 

One of my classmates was constantly starring into his dictionary because he didn't want to make any mistakes. Our teacher freaked and asked him whether he thinks that Israelis get up in the morning and start reading in their dictionary ? It is not easy learning a new language but it comes after a while. Don't worry !

You are a new immigrant for the first three weeks but then your are Israeli. Do you know why ? Because after a couple of weeks you will be struggeling as almost every citizen in this country. As soon as the struggle for survival begins - Welcome to Israel - You are Israeli and joined the club. While the newcomers are just getting off the plane, you already know what the country is like. What it means to get used to a new crazy mentality, listen to the clerks yelling, running from here to there finding a job and getting bureaucrcy done. 

I cannot understand people always defining themselves as new immigrants. For how long can you be "New" ? I am a person who wasn't born in Israel, doesn't speak Hebrew like a native and has different kinds of attitudes. Israelis see in me an Israeli who was born abroad but everything else is not such an issue. Neither at work nor with friends. When we talk, we talk about life, private matters, work and the daily life. We talk about the NOW. 

In order to go on in life and get something started you need to get away from this stigma "New Immigrant" and just live your life.

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