Israelis in Berlin

The insidious, and mistaken, media meme around the irresistible story of Israelis choosing to live in Germany

Israelis in Berlin: Is anything cooler, more postmodern, more transgressive, more emblematic of our hip, new borderless world? In October, New York Times Jerusalem Bureau Chief Jodi Rudoren wrote of an Israeli “Exodus” to Germany spurred by rising rents and prices of consumer goods in the Jewish State. Not to be outdone, the Washington Post chimed in the following week with a similar story about the “waves of young Israelis” bringing “the long-lost scent of freshly baked rugelach and hamantaschen cookies back to the streets of Berlin.” Meanwhile, the Economist asks, “Is Berlin the new Jerusalem?”

There’s not much new to report about Israelis in Berlin, which has been a “thing” for years. Fania Oz-Sulzberger, the daughter of Israeli novelist Amos Oz, wrote a book about the phenomenon, straightforwardly titled Israelis in Berlin, nearly 15 years ago. Modern Hebrew, she pointed out to me in a recent phone interview, was spoken in Berlin in the early 20th century, long before it became the official language of the Jewish State. In the 1960s, around the time that official diplomatic relations were established between the postwar Federal Republic and Israel, a “trickle of Israelis” began returning to West Germany, many of them German Jews “who couldn’t live with their longing,” for the land of their birth, as well as “hard-core socialists” who moved to the German Democratic Republic in the East. [...]

Click here for the complete article by James Kirchick.


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