You heard it here first.
By 2030 there will be over 1 million American Jews living in Israel.
The new Exodus won’t be a result of Zionism, persecution, or even personal conviction. People will come for the simplest of reasons – personal interest.
Here’s how millions of American Jews will find themselves in Israel within the next two decades:
The economic fortunes of America and Israel are moving in opposite directions. For the first time since World War II, the U.S. government has amassed a debt load equal to its entire economy. Instead of putting tax dollars to work investing in education, infrastructure, and commerce, America is forced to spend $420 billion a year on interest for its debt – most of it to creditors outside the country. Interest rates are currently at all-time lows. Once interest rates “revert to the mean,” the portion of the American economy dedicated to interest payments will at the very least double.
The only way America can pay its credit card and keep growing is by printing money, raising taxes, or both. Economically, America has always been “streaky.” It enjoys decades of abundance like 1919-1929, 1949-1968, 1982-2007, and it suffers through times of restructure and pain like 1929-1949, 1969-1981, and 2008 to today. Until America reinvents itself, it will continue its economic paralysis. Growth will be slow, unemployment will remain above average, and the amount of money going from the paycheck to the pocket will shrink.
Compare that to what’s happening in Israel.
Israel national debt is 77% the size of its economy. Israel has just discovered $1 trillion in natural resources off its coast. It’s prospects are so attractive that unlike European and American nations who have seen their debt ratings downgraded by S&P and Moody’s debt ratings agencies, Israeli paper has been recently upgraded. After the 2008 global crisis, Israel was the first developed nation to raise its interest rates, signaling its quick return to healthy growth. The next 20 years will see massive development of its newfound resources, as well as its export to the world. Even as deficits force Israel to borrow more over time, their economic expansion is outpacing their financing. By 2030, Bezrat Hashem, the ratio of debt to GDP could be closer to 50%, a very healthy number.
The State of Israel will not have to print money to meet its obligations. As the economy grows, tax rates can stay the same, even go down, and the government will still see more money in to its coffers.
If you are an American Jewish family, you are seeing your taxes go up, and the value of the money you have left go down. Costs for kosher food, Jewish education, and suburban life is already beyond the reach of many younger families – to say nothing of college grads just beginning to enter the work force.
If you are an Israeli family you see little changes to your taxes. As the shekel appreciates against the dollar and Euro, costs for imported goods will become cheaper. Your income is going up, and the value of the money you keep after taxes is becoming more valuable.
Israel has vowed to invest the lion’s share of its oil and gas royalties into education. More institutions of higher learning means more scholarships and more grants. More opportunities for scientists, engineers, doctors – which there is a shortage of in Israel. This translates to more patents, startup companies, and international IPOs meaning more jobs available for everyone. Higher tax revenue means better health care for everyone, subsidized prices for food and other basic essentials, more aid to the poor and needy, safer cities from a stronger police force, and fire rescue services.
The Nation of Israel has appointed an American immigrant as head of its central bank. History may see Stanley Fischer as the prototype for the 21st century Zionist Pioneer. For the first time since King Solomon, a Jew will move from his diaspora to Israel for the very same reasons he wanted to stay in the diaspora in the first place.
It will start with the doctors. Out of national necessity, Israel will offer members of the American medical profession all sorts of perks to work here.
It will continue with the pensioners. Pensioners receive fixed amounts of money for the rest of their lives. They live on their savings. If inflation were to hit America due to its three rounds of quantitative easing, the real value of this fixed amount will go down dramatically. Currently low interest rates prevent pensioners from earning anything significant on their money. They will come here to augment their dwindling savings with what the Israeli government will give them – starting with high quality health care at less cost.
Then the college grads will come – if they wait that long. What will a twentysomething, with hopes and ambitions for his future do after his five hundredth resume goes unanswered? What will he do when he realizes that his only options are to wait twenty years for the next period of plenty to arrive while working at McDonalds or move somewhere where he has a better chance at something better? He will have the education, the energy, and be living in the ideal time in his life to take such a chance.
What happens when the government of Israel begins to reach out to high school graduates in the American Jewish community? What happens when a Jewish Agency representative offers a free 10 day trip to Israel for anyone ages 16-18 and the trip ends with an offer: come to Israel. Join the army for two years. Spend half of that time learning the language. In return, Israel will pay for your university education. All you have to do is complete your service and remain in the country (except for visits to parents and stuff like that) while you get your degree. Upon graduation, grants will be available for further post graduate studies, proper job placement in Israel, or a business grant or low interest loan to get you started on whatever you want in life. When asked what he was going to do with the government’s share of the oil money, the Prime Minister did say, “Education! Education! Education!”
Norman Moskowitz will lose his job as a Senior VP at the local bank. With no way to keep up his family’s lavish lifestyle, he makes the drastic move of bringing everyone to Ra’nana. At first, everyone in his local shul will assume he’s lost his mind. He continues to skype all of his friends in Bay Ridge while the local pool puts 3-1 odds on his imminent return. Meanwhile, he tells his fellow board members at the Shul about the warm weather. He’s emails his former boss that he harbors no hard feelings because his termination was the best thing that happened to him. He tells his friends about the cheap health care, and gets a laugh from his uncle about opening up his own import/export business. Then he informs him about the tax benefits incentives the government gives new immigrants. His uncle becomes his partner. His mother bursts into tears as he boasts about her grandchildren who now speak fluent Hebrew while defending Jerusalem.
Our new Israeli becomes the buzz of Bay Ridge.
The families stop laughing. Mockery turns to outright envy. Then Stuart Weiss loses his job. Marty Smeltzer loses his biggest client and his business goes in the red. Even as they put on a strong face, in the back of their heads they are thinking the same thing: if Norman can do it, they can too! Pretty soon it is the Smeltzers and Weisses who are skyping back to confirm everything Norman said.
G-d Willing, without depressions, persecutions, or wars, This is how Hashem will commence the last, great Aliyah to Israel.