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Israelis Leave Israel For Germany — Tell Other Israelis To Do Same: 'Exodus' Campaign To Berlin Sparks Outrage in Israel

They say Israel has become too expensive to live in and they tell Jews living in Israel to dump the Zionist-controlled country.

Israeli Asaf Lev, center, attends a gathering encouraging others to immigrate to Berlin in
Tel Aviv, Israel. (AP)

By Aron Heller and Kirsten Grieshaber (AP)
A group of young Israeli expats have unleashed controversy back home by encouraging others to join them in Berlin, touching on two of the most sensitive issues in Israel: the country's high cost of living and Jews' tortured history with Germany.

An Israeli Expat's Facebook Post Boasted That "Milky Desert"
Costs Less in Berlin Than in Tel Aviv

While Israelis have been angered after learning that food prices are much lower in Germany, they are also outraged that the youngsters' form of protest has been to give up on the Zionist dream by leaving the Jewish state, and relocate to the birthplace of the Nazi Party to boot. It rankles many in a society that once considered emigration shamefully akin to treason, at a time when many Israelis want to stick together after a brutal summer war in Gaza underscored greater political and security woes in Israel.

The uproar began several weeks ago when a 25-year-old former Israeli army officer flaunted photos of his grocery receipts — including those of a popular chocolate pudding that sells in Germany for one-third the price in Israel — and boasted about the good life in the German capital.


RELATED STORY: Several years ago TV ads beckoned Israeli expats in the US to "return" To Israel.
The campaign was criticized by US Jewish organizations and the
Israeli government removed the ads amid the outcry.


Now known as the "Milky" protest, after the pudding's Israeli name, the Facebook campaign has received 17,000 "likes" and pictures of Israelis holding signs asking German Chancellor Angela Merkel to give them a visa have gone viral. Israeli TV channels have sent reporters to Berlin to cover the thriving Israeli expat community there.

The campaign marks a new channel for economic discontent, three years after a massive protest movement by hundreds of thousands of Israelis demanding lower prices, more affordable housing and a narrower gap between rich and poor, largely failed in its goals.

But the political backlash has been even stronger, with the idealization of Berlin viewed as a hurtful provocation. Less than 70 years after the end of the Holocaust, in which 6 million Jews were killed, memories are still fresh — especially among Israel's large community of survivors — and there are those who still refuse to visit Germany or buy its products.

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