« Embarrassing Technology Malfunctions | Main | Photo Friday (Vol. XXVIII) [sunshine edition] »

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Not for love or money

Israelis are, by nature, gamblers.

They love their Lotto games, and back during more peacful days they flocked to Jericho in incredible numbers to visit the casino there.  One could even say that the very nature of this great Zionist experiment was a huge gamble... although one could also argue that there weren't too many other places for the Jews to place their chips at the time.

However, I've noticed over the past few months that the Jerusalem Post's web site has been advertising another gambling opportunity to it's readers; a chance to enter the US 'Green Card' lottery. 

For those who don't know what this is, 'Green Card' is the slang term for a document issued by the US Government to resident aliens allowing them to legally seek work in that country.  This is the first (and probably most important) rung on the ladder a foreigner must climb in order to move up from being a visitor (legal or otherwise) to being a permanent resident/citizen of the US. 

In recent years the US has started issuing a certain percentage of its 'Green Cards' by lottery so as to avoid the appearance of favoritism (or G-d forbid racism) in who actually gets one.

I don't know about any of you, but the idea of advertising the 'Green Card' lottery on the Jpost site just makes me sad.

I had always assumed that the majority of The Post's online readers were either Anglos ('expats' from English-speaking countries) living in Israel... or English speaking (or at least English understanding) Jews living in the diaspora.

I turns out that I didn't take into account another, less obvious demographic; Israelis brushing up on their English in preparation for a move to the US.

Look, I can't judge anyone for making a personal decision about where they want to live.  I was born in one country and made an adult decision to move somewhere else.  It would be a bit hypocritical of me to suggest that an Israeli isn't entitled to the same freedom of choice.

However, there has always been a lot of emotional baggage associated with moving away from Israel (making 'yerida').  I touched on this subject briefly here and don't think it needs too much rehashing since most people reading this are at least minimally aware of the ideological/sociological issues at play.   

Suffice it to say that years ago it was considered a mark of shame to move abroad (many emmigrants insisted for decades that they were only there temporarily).  More recently the economic and security situation have made emmigration an acceptable, albeit sad option for Israel's war-weary and impoverished citizens.

I just wasn't aware that moving abroad had become such an acceptable mainstream option as to be openly advertised as some sort of a prize. 

I much prefer to see banner ads on the Jerusalem Post web site advertising matchmaking services and business opportunities.  At least those kinds of gambles - for love or money - I can understand.

221_16_5_9

Posted by David Bogner on June 2, 2005 | Permalink

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
https://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d8341c581e53ef00e55051f3db8834

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Not for love or money:

» The Green Card Lottery from Xcountrymove
Green Card Lotary I was just looking for the Permanent Resident Alien Address Update Form for my wife when I came across some interesting info regarding the Diversity [Read More]

Tracked on Jun 30, 2005 12:32:42 AM

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

I'm actually pretty disturbed by the JPost's ads in general. At one point I followed one of their ads to a site that looked disreputable -- I forget exactly what it advertised, but it was some form of snake oil. I wrote to the JPost about it and the ad stopped appearing, but I don't know whether this was because it was pulled or because its contract ran out.

Then there are the Google ads, which sometimes include so-called "Messianic Jewish" sites.

Finally there are the pop-ups that advertise emoticons. As if (as you observed) people were going to pay for that kind of thing! Plus there's the chance of downloading other unknown and unwelcome stuff to one's computer at such sites.

I understand the need for advertising revenues, but I could wish that the JPost would be a bit more discriminating in this regard.

Posted by: Rahel | Jun 2, 2005 12:54:52 PM

This doesn't at all address the actual point of your post (which I appreciated, by the way), but to protect yourself from having to see all those awful ads (see no evil?), use the Firefox browser (instead of IE) and get the AdBlock extension. It cleans all the ads, flashing or not, out of web pages. It has made my browsing experience indescribably more enjoyable.

Posted by: Reuven | Jun 2, 2005 2:55:03 PM

I'm rarely religious but for the articles sake:

"It is written, `For you (Israel) shall be a land of desire, says the L-rd of Hosts’. Just as the greatest scientists will never discover the limits of the enormous natural resources which the A-lmighty has sunk into the land ("everything came from the earth"), neither will anyone ever find the limits of the great treasures which lie within Israel - G-d's `Land of desire.'"

If you ask me [for the record], anybody leaving will yearn to be back someday regardless of a war or impoverishment.

Posted by: kakarizz | Jun 2, 2005 3:58:17 PM

I know that the GC is not the same as a passport...but can I ask this way round still: who of you expats living in Israel for the sake of creed and commitment has returned the non-Israeli passport for good?

Posted by: mademoiselle a. | Jun 2, 2005 4:29:04 PM

If only these ads were limited to JPost! When I log onto my mail at yahoo I am constantly having these ads flash in my face IN HEBREW.

Given our current struggle to remain here at home and not become a split-continent family, it goes beyond being annoying, it's painful. Thanks Reuven for the great tip on the AdBlock extension for FF.

And for the Messianic folk up ahead of me, sorry, in most circumstances Bible verses don't put pita on the table. (Don't get me started...)

Posted by: jennifer | Jun 2, 2005 4:36:28 PM

Rahel... Ads in general are a part of the free market. You can block many of them and ignore the rest. I was simply making an observation about how leaving Israel has gone from shameful to understandable to some kind of jackpot.

Reuven... Thanks for the tip. I use Firefox at home but am stuck with IE at work (not that I surf at work, mind you, ahem). unfortunately, the ad I was referring to is a banner and not a pop-up. I wasn't aware of the adblock feature... I'll have to try it.

kakarizz... I think you are right. That's probably the reason that even decades later there are Israelis living abroad who insist that the arrangement is temporary.

mademoiselle a. ... I'm not sure if that is a fair comparison. My holding on to an american passport is a matter of convenience. It allows me to easily travel back to visit family (not to mention it is a marginally safe passport on which to travel elswhere in the world). By seeking a green card, an Israeli is making clear his/her intention to move to the US. I don't need to burn my US passport to prove allegience to Israel. My presence here is all the proof I need.

Jennifer... I hadn't thought of this issue from your vantage point. Of course you're right.

Posted by: David | Jun 2, 2005 4:50:10 PM

Mademoiselle A., I realize that people may view holding on to their birthplaces' passports as "insurance," but not everyone sees it that way. (I don't.) There may be perfectly sound reasons why a person has to return that have nothing to do with personal gain. A couple I know recently went back to the US, after decades of living here, in order to care for the 94-year-old mother of one of them. If there is no legal reason for us to have to give up our American citizenship, why should we?

(Dual citizenship in the US and Israel wasn't always permitted. A man I know had to renounce his American citizenship when he made aliya in the late 1940s or early 1950s.)

Posted by: Rahel | Jun 2, 2005 4:50:24 PM

A sad post indeed. It reminds of a close friend of mine
who is a Jewelry manufacturer. He was really interested
in making aliyah and ended up convincing his wife to take the leap with him. I was really excited for him knowing he was finally going to realize his dream. Unfortunately he was unable to support his family (6 kids) and had to move back. He had to settle for a much smaller house and a much larger mortgage upon his return. It's always upsetting when people need or want to leave Israel. I was lucky enough to play with one of the most talented Jewish bass players: Aryeh Volnitz. Although not very religious he one day told me he was making Aliyah. When I asked him why he basically told me he felt America was not a good enviroment to raise his children and he wanted to make the move. It was quite inspiring to me.

Posted by: shloimy | Jun 2, 2005 5:18:00 PM

It cleans all the ads, flashing or not, out of web pages. It has made my browsing experience indescribably more enjoyable.

This is off topic, but I sell online advertising for some publications that some people here likely know. I am not going to tell you which, but I can tell you that ads drive the publications and if you want to ontinue to be able to read them for free then you must accept them. End of off topic nonsense.

If memory serves Los Angeles has the largest population of Israelis outside of Israel. There are parties, festivals and restaurants that you can hit out here that make it easy to see as English is clearly not the primary language.

As someone who has considered making aliyah it has always been hard to see that. Not that I begrudge them for being here, but sometimes it is hard to see them give up something that I have wanted to do.

Posted by: Jack | Jun 2, 2005 5:45:09 PM

Sad indeed. Just wait, soon there will be the reverse Nefesh B'Nefesh organization. They would help with the green card, finding a place to live, a job, etc. even the $50 flight to Kennedy! Oy...

Posted by: yonah | Jun 2, 2005 7:17:59 PM

Ugh, I hate that ad! I keep wanting to write back to them and tell them. "I LEFT the USA. I'm not crazy enough to ever want to go back.
I have no desire to go back to the USA whatsoever. Israle is my home; I'm privleged to live her.

Posted by: Rachel Ann | Jun 2, 2005 9:36:41 PM

Some corrections are in order here.

USA has been conducting these kinds of 'lotteries' for some years. Its official title is 'Diversity Immigrant Visa Program'. Each year, mandated by Congress, citizens of certain states are allowed to apply and some are not. Excluded this year are citizens from:

Canada, China (excluding Hong Kong, Macau, or Taiwan), Colombia, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Haiti, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Pakistan, Philippines, Russia, South Korea, United Kingdom (except Northern Ireland) and its dependent territories, and Vietnam.

Nnote the unhappy placing of the UK here. Puts us in our place doesn't it.

See:

http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/conline/pubs/alerts/lottery.htm

for the gory details.

For reasons even Congress cannot explain, around 45 % are reserved for citizens of the Irish Republic.

Posted by: ExpatEgghead | Jun 2, 2005 10:38:35 PM

I think it's a bearable comparison - any Israeli signing up for the GC won't be even halfway able to profit from all the advantages an american double-citzienship Israeli citizen is entitled to profit from. And if it turns out an Israeli ultimately goes for American citizenship through the GC [which is yet the easiest way, once you're in and given that marriage is not an option], they're basically claiming for themselves the convenience many others are already having.

Isn't it that from looking at the piece of pie others can enjoy, one gets hungry for the same?

Posted by: mademoiselle a. | Jun 2, 2005 11:42:44 PM

Yonah-those organizations you're talking about already exist, just look in the Friday newspaper. They also expect a hefty compensation, which is difficult for cash-strapped folk looking for a better life somewhere else.

mademoiselle a, maybe folks wouldn't need to look for pie elsewhere if they were getting enough pie at home.

Muchos apologies to David, you know this is a sore subject for me.

Posted by: jennifer | Jun 3, 2005 7:49:02 AM

Geez, I'd say get as many passports as you can. They can save your life- or your family's- in a pinch. My husband has lived in this country longer than he lived in Sweden and still has his Swedish and EU passports. And I plan to get an EU passport and don't feel that it undermines my patriotic feelings about the US at all. I know two holocaust survivors who lived because they were patricularly good at getting passports.

Posted by: Alice | Jun 3, 2005 8:27:43 PM

I strongly agree that it is very unsettling and disappointing that the JP is allowing those ads and it is equally upsetting to me whenever an Israeli who travels abroad decides not to go back to Israel or pre -plans the move from home. I think Israel needs all the support it can get especially from it's own who understand better than anyone else all the sacrifices it makes daily. But as sad as it is, I do understand why they leave (and even the young ones whose maturity and understanding of life is way beyond the years of their American counterpart.) I have realized as I have gotten older that real life responsibilities such as a family, a job, a mortgage, an education, far outweighs the zealousness of my youth when it comes to ideology (and for many of you spiritually), and I have no right to pass any judgment on those who decide to leave their beautiful and difficult home and pursue a green card in the States.

In Israel, they see a luxurious and easy lifestyle through the movies, tv, magazines and from their American neighbors and friends who live in Israel. How many of the average Israelis have a housekeeper, or a gardener, or car(s). How many can afford to buy a villa, have their children enrolled in numerous activities or send them to camp? How many are able to travel abroad every year for several months? How many are able to buy all the latest gadgets, appliances and electronics without being deep in debt? This is something many of the American olim (and other Westerners) take for granted. Many have enjoy these "luxuries." Many shipped their furniture and appliances and have a nice nest egg when they make aliyah. Many are not suffering the economic hardships that most Israelis endured. It's easy to pass judgment but how many olim still are working for American companies and making the same salaries as they did in the States. How can you really be empathetic when many American olim are not in their shoes.

No wonder so many Israelis are green with envy.

Posted by: Ginger | Jun 17, 2005 6:40:34 PM

I strongly agree that it is very unsettling and disappointing that the JP is allowing those ads and it is equally upsetting to me whenever an Israeli who travels abroad decides not to go back to Israel or pre -plans the move from home. I think Israel needs all the support it can get especially from it's own who understand better than anyone else all the sacrifices it makes daily. But as sad as it is, I do understand why they leave (and even the young ones whose maturity and understanding of life is way beyond the years of their American counterpart.) I have realized as I have gotten older that real life responsibilities such as a family, a job, a mortgage, an education, far outweighs the zealousness of my youth when it comes to ideology (and for many of you spiritually), and I have no right to pass any judgment on those who decide to leave their beautiful and difficult home and pursue a green card in the States.

In Israel, they see a luxurious and easy lifestyle through the movies, tv, magazines and from their American neighbors and friends who live in Israel. How many of the average Israelis have a housekeeper, or a gardener, or car(s). How many can afford to buy a villa, have their children enrolled in numerous activities or send them to camp? How many are able to travel abroad every year for several months? How many are able to buy all the latest gadgets, appliances and electronics without being deep in debt? This is something many of the American olim (and other Westerners) take for granted. Many olim shipped their furniture and appliances and have a nice nest egg when they make aliyah. Many are not suffering the economic hardships that most Israelis endured. It's easy to pass judgment but how many olim still are working for American companies and making the same salaries as they did in the States. How can you really be empathetic when many American olim are not in their shoes.

No wonder so many Israelis are green with envy.

Posted by: Ginger | Jun 17, 2005 6:43:10 PM

Where are those olim making an American salary? I want that job! Ginger, you're right but the real problem is that Israel doesn't want to enact economic policies that will encourage economic growth and allow Israelis to have all those material goods and still have money left over. Sadly, this country still values socialism over capitalism. To me, capitalism is something to take for granted -- it's clearly a far superior economic situation yet here in Israel being a capitalist is an essential part of my identity but all it is is that I support an economic policy that will help everyone who works hard do well for themselves.

Posted by: avi | Jun 21, 2005 2:52:31 PM

Post a comment

If you have a TypeKey or TypePad account, please Sign In