Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Israeli Society

I'm here in Israel with the first-ever mission of the Farash Foundation. In a packed itinerary, we’re experiencing the challenges and horizons of Israel, and the work of the Joint.

One of our most impressive meetings was an introduction to Israeli society and its challenges by Professor Jack Habib, Director of Myers-JDC-Brookdale, our foremost applied-social research institute.

Jack gave a superb overview of the challenges that Israel faces, which in some ways are even more striking than any other country:
(1)   huge immigration, per capita more than any other country
(2)   massive cultural diversity
(3)   and huge diversity in social capital, wide gaps and inequality.

From 1948, with two populations (Ashkenazi-Sephardi) widely different in their education, culture, understandings, then absorbing an immigrant population and doubling the size of the State in two years … to 1990, when 5 million Israelis absorbed a million Russian speakers in less than ten years. The challenges have been immense. But we shouldn’t forget the successes.
In 1992, at the height of immigration, unemployment in Israel was 25%
Just four years later, it had dropped to 6%.

When we invest in immigrants, we get great results.

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