Broken Fingers Art Installation

Broken Fingers Art Installation

If you were to take a sunny afternoon walk around the hip district of Kreuzberg in Berlin these days you are very likely to hear the strangely recognizable sounds of the holy language. In the last five years Berlin has become a Mecca for Israeli immigrants. The same city in which, not so long ago, the “Final Solution” to the Jewish question in Europe was planned. At present time there are about 15,000 Israelis living in Berlin and the numbers are on the rise. Why is that?

It is no longer a secret that the Israeli middle class is on the verge of collapse, housing prices go up and salaries stay low. A lot of Israeli students finish their studies and realize that their options are very limited; Shared housing and constant over draft or a mind numbing job in the flourishing “High Tech” sector, not to mention the always present conflict with the Palestinians and mandatory army reserve service for about a month out of every year. Some Israelis opt out.

Former Israeli PMs on street signs!

Former Israeli PMs on street signs!

Berlin is a reawakening city that is recuperating from years of division, the rents are low, groceries are cheap (especially Milky brand, Israeli chocolate pudding) and it’s also home to one of the most productive art scenes in the world. In addition to that it also houses an impressive night life culture where parties can last for about three days. All and all not a bad deal.

The new Israeli community in Berlin has already managed to establish a Hebrew library and a Hebrew magazine by the name of “Spitz” not to mentions a very vibrant on line presence in Facebook forums such as “Israelis in Berlin” where newcomers receive tips about working visas and used furniture for their new apartments in the city and in case you were wondering, there are three Israeli hummus restaurants (and a couple of Palestinian ones) to support this Israeli national addiction.

But what about the past? Well, the past already happened, the Nazis are (mostly) gone and modern Germany is an open democratic country and even in comparison with the rest of Germany, Berlin boasts a rich multi cultural and ethnical diversity. The new arriving Israelis are a small part of this rich tapestry of foreigners and highly world open Germans that enjoy their hummus and tapas alongside their potato and sausage lunches.

For now this Israeli German experiment seems to be a successful one. So if you feel like partying all night and then having a discussion about the political situation in the middle east with a guy called Jörg and his Syrian friend Jamila over a plate of steaming Hummus, Berlin is the place to go.

Guest post by Eyal Roth (32) Born in Haifa, Israel. Currently living in Berlin, Germany where he guides educational Jewish tours of Berlin

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