The Milky Wars- is Berlin the new Tel Aviv?
If you haven’t been immersed in holiday preparations, you heard about the anonymous Israeli living in Berlin who posted to Ynet’s Facebook page about how cheap food prices are in Berlin compared to Israel. Some of the examples he brought up are fresh squeezed orange juice (1.5 euro), Emmental cheese (2.79 euro), rolls (0.13 euro), 500 grams of shnitzel (2.79 euro), milk (1.5 euro), organic eggs (1.39 euro), bolognese sauce (0.79 euro), sliced bread (1.39 euro), and a copy of the beloved Israeli dessert, Milky, for only 0.19 euro- 0.87 agorot.
For this reason, he says, he will be staying in Berlin. Israel, has become the home for only the very rich. To stay in Israel is to deprive yourself and your family of food, education and a place to live. To continue to live in Israel is economic abuse for your entire life. See you in Berlin!
As you could imagine, the storm this 25 year old man’s post has created is without comparison. From Knesset members to op-ed writers, the feeling has been virtually unanimous- “Yes, food is expensive here. But is that a reason to leave Israel? And davka to Berlin?” “Let him stay in Berlin- if he doesn’t remember the Jewish people’s history with Germany, he will soon be forced to remember.” “Israel is a new country. It takes time to create change. Change can only come from within the country- not from without.” “As soon as the rabbanut recognizes more foreign kosher supervisory authorities, we will flood the market with lower-priced food items.”
In response, Rami Levy lowered the price of regular Milky and Moo for 1 shekel each for a short time and Victory lowered their price of regular Milky for 90 agorot until 16 October 2014.
Despite the overwhelmingly negative response, the heads of the organization “Berlin Protest” say that they have received over 9000 applications from Israelis who want to move to Berlin. One of them was interviewed by Arutz 2 and said that he plans to petition the German government for 25,000 work permits and has turned to German economists to figure out how to lower food prices in Israel. “If Germany can supply cheap food,” he says, “why can’t Israel?” He was interviewed by Der Spiegel this week, bringing the issue to the broader German public. The interview can be found in English online. His most poignant comment: “For me, Tel Aviv and Berlin are twin cities.”
For me, that last sentence says it all. Something has gone quite wrong in Israel when our youth can find no difference between Berlin and Tel Aviv; that they have lost the central reason why we are living- struggling- here in Israel and not in Berlin, Marseilles, Miami, or Melbourne. The fact that we are Jews and that this is a Jewish State seems to have been removed from our children’s curriculum. Yes of course we need to have fair prices. And it most definitely does not mean that Israel is perfect. But to see Jewish youth fleeing Israel for economic opportunities alone, similar to our grandfathers who fled Russia to America, is sad because it means that we as a country have failed to instill in them the most important value that we have- the necessity and reason for Israel’s existence.