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June 08, 1990 - Image 35

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1990-06-08

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

INSIGHT

ZE'EV CHAFETS

Israel Correspondent

L

aBelle was almost
empty when the two
young women came in.
Only Avi, the owner of the
popular Jerusalem restau-
rant, was behind the bar,
chatting with a middle-aged
woman who was sipping a
Scotch and water.
"Are you looking for
waitresses?" asked one of
the young women. "We just
got out of the army; we're go-
ing to be studying at the
Hebrew University, and we
need to earn some money."
Avi shook his head. He al-
ready had all the waitresses
he needed. "We've been
looking for jobs for two
weeks," said one of the wo-
men in a defeated tone.
"There's nothing, nothing at
all. All the jobs are taken by
the Arabs or the Russians.
Two years in the army, and
there are no jobs for Jews."
"The Russians are Jews,"
said Avi, whose own family
moved to Israel in 1962 from
Morocco. The two women
shrugged. "Ahmed,
Vladamir, what does it
matter?" said one. "They're
foreigners, and they're
taking all the jobs."
"How about a job in the
kitchen?" asked Avi. "You
could do some cleaning, help
the chef."
"What does it pay?" asked
one of the young women.
"Twelve hundred shekels
($600) a month," said Avi.
"No thanks," said the
woman, gazing in the direc-
tion of the kitchen. "It looks
hot back there."
The middle-aged woman at
the bar snorted. "My father
was .a professor in Ger-
many," she said. "Here, he
picked up garbage to make a
living. Today, kids are so
spoiled that they don't want
to work."
"That's not true," said one
of the students. "We want to
work, but it's not 1935
anymore. We want a decent
job. Your generation should
be worrying about us. We're
your children, not the Rus-
sian immigrants. They'll all
get good jobs and and
apartments and we'll wind
up living in Los Angeles. Is
that your idea of Zionism?"

As Soviet Jews are arriving in Israel in record numbers, not all Israelis are pleased with the consequences.

Are Soviet Jews
Displacing Israelis?

A disturbing number of young Israelis feel
that the Soviet Jewish influx will hurt their
own chances for good jobs and apartments.

Lately, conversations like
this one have become in-
creasingly common. As the
wave of Soviet immigrants
approaches 20,000 a month,
many young Israelis are
becoming more nervous
about the impact of mass
aliyah on their own futures.
Most, to be sure, still support
the notion of aliyah and
welcome the immigrants.
But in a recent poll, con-
ducted by the Dahaf In-
stitute, a disturbing 21 per-
cent of the country's
teenagers registered
dissatisfaction at the pro-
spect of more Soviet im-
migration.
Much of the resentment is
focused on the special treat-
ment accorded newcomers,
who have the right to buy or
import goods without paying
taxes (the customs charges
on a small automobile alone
often amount to $7,000);
receive government help in
finding work; and are given
housing aid in the form of
substantial rent subsidies
and difficult to obtain low-
interest mortgages. Many
young people feel that such
generous assistance often
comes at their expense.
This is particularly true in
the tight housing market.
The government provides
newcomers with a monthly
rent subsidy far greater than
what the average young
Israeli can afford. As a
result, rents have
skyrocketed. In the Galilee
town of Afula, for example,
the monthly cost of a two
bedroom apartment has
risen in the past year from
$110 to $270. In Jerusalem,
the rent on a typical three
room flat has grown from
$300 to $450.
"The Russians get around
$300 a family," explained a
Jerusalem realtor named
Ya'akov. "And they often
live two or three families to
a two-bedroom flat. They're
used to it, so it doesn't seem
overcrowded to them. That's
why the landlords prefer
them. After all, there aren't
many young couples or col-
lege kids who can afford
$500 or $600 a month in
rent."
Not surprisingly, such a
situation has caused con-
siderable bitterness among
young Israelis who have lost

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

35

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