Moving to Israel. Some envisage this as coming to a third world country. Some think of the location, the Middle East, and think of sand dunes, camels and dusty dirt roads.
That's not the Israel of today. Israel is a modern country with a modern infrastructure. Cities and towns, factories and offices, telecommunications, computers, Internet service providers, cable television, hospitals, buses, trains, cars, planes, banks, real-estate agents, insurance salesmen, cellular phones, software companies, tourism companies, manufacturing companies, traffic, income tax, sales tax, government bureaucracy, it's all here.
And yes, Israel is in the Middle East, but the geography includes mountains, plains, valleys, beaches, a lake, and deserts. A full range of environments in a very small area.
Whatever the image you may have, Israel will surprise you. It will be
quite different from what you expect. Different environment, different
culture, different ways of doing just about everything.
Yes, that's right, real information.
There are many helpful aliyah pages. Some give you nice information about buying a stereo in Israel. Some tell you all about the different agricultural villages in Israel. Some give tidbits of advice but without explanation or context. (And some do indeed have valuable insights.)
You can also get some interesting information from pamphlets given by The Jewish Agency. They tell you about government benefits and other tidbits of data. But they tend to be vague or leave out key pieces of info.
But none of these sources are geared towards the day-to-day living issues that face new arrivals (actually, all Israelis) and their families. (Ok, one exception, they do give very good information about army service, which I won't cover in these pages.)
What they don't tell you is...over 30% of people making aliyah from
the U.S. leave and return to the U.S. within 5 years.
Why Do Over 30% of U.S. Immigrants Leave?
All the above cause bad planning. Changing the country you live in is a big deal (even if you do share a religious & cultural history), doing it with incomplete or inaccurate information can turn it into a nightmare.
How These Pages Will Help...
These pages will provide information that can make the critical difference between an easy or hard transition. All information and examples are by recent U.S. immigrants that have lived through it firsthand. So, go through the various topics to learn how to make your move a success!
How Current Is This Information?
These pages were written about an aliyah experience in 1996. Much has changed since then and Israel has officially become part of the ranks of first world countries. Organizations such as Nefesh b'Nefesh have arisen to streamline and smooth the aliyah experience, providing English speaking helpers on both sides of the experience (before and in Israel), performing some of the previously complex government steps, and even providing some direct funding assistance in making the transition.