Don't Scrap Home Because It’s 'Easier to Live in Berlin,' Lapid Tells Israelis

One reader responds to Yair Lapid on Facebook by noting that some expats 'go from a situation where they barely made ends meet to being financially comfortable.'

Finance Minister Yair Lapid has criticized Israelis who leave the country for financial reasons, after a series of reports on the topic on television’s Channel 10.

“A word to all the people who are fed up and leaving for Europe,” Lapid wrote Monday night on his Facebook page - a frequent sounding board for the leader of the centrist Yesh Atid party. "As it happens, you’ve caught me in Budapest," he noted.

“I came here to speak out in parliament against anti-Semitism and remind them how people here tried to murder my father only because the Jews had no state of their own, how they killed my grandfather in a concentration camp, how they starved my uncles, how my grandmother was saved from a death march at the last moment. So forgive me if I’m a bit impatient with people who are willing to throw the only state the Jews have into the garbage because it’s easier to live in Berlin,” Lapid posted.

Lapid’s comments drew hundreds of responses. According to one reader, “I grew up in the United States and lived half my life there. Every time I come back here, to Israel, I do it out of love for the country and an honest desire to give the Jewish state one more chance.

"But each time I leave, in a moment of honesty with myself at the gates of Ben-Gurion Airport, I know I’m leaving for a better future. I know I won’t be living on the edge, barely able to make ends meet. I know I’ll be able to support myself with dignity, and I’ll really be able to save some good money.”

One woman wrote: “Many people move to Berlin because it’s one of the most affordable cities in Europe, and then they go from a situation where they barely made ends meet to being financially comfortable. That’s how it is when everything costs half as much there. It has nothing to do with ideology. I’m sure that if people were able to make the same kind of living in Israel, everybody would stay. Unfortunately, that’s not the situation at all. In fact, it’s a far cry from being that way.”

Another woman wrote: “As the child of a Holocaust survivor, I read your post and identified with it completely .... But as a mother of young and talented people who can’t cope with the tough situation here and still depend on my single salary, I have to say that I understand the people who leave, with all the pain it entails.

“I’m reading pained and angry responses here of people who have lost hope, people who would very much like to live here and not leave. They expect understanding and immediate change from you because they’re afraid they’re going to go under. This is a cry for help because this is their home, and nobody is really happy to raise their children in a foreign country, and definitely not in Berlin. But there’s no hope left .... Yair, none of us believes that someone up there is going to make the situation better for us.”

Emil Salman