Sunday, 6 June 2010

My Aliyah Story - So Far...

By Mike Diamond

I arrived in Israel on the 31st December 2008 from Cape Town. We were all taken to a special area and given our money and ID book – except me – but being so tired and excited I decided to wait until I got to my hotel in Jerusalem.

Regarding the ID book, I approached an organisation associated with helping South Africans, in the hope that they could help, and asked them for assistance. There were promises, but nothing happened. I went to the various administration departments on my own, and finally managed to find the right person. To my disbelief, the lady I spoke to said that I had lived in Israel for the last 20 years so I should have already been given an ID book. I gave them my reference letters from my last companies and the various letters I had stamped in court. Finally, they accepted my version and gave me my book. I then went to the office for my Sal Klita (absorption basket) money and sorted everything out with them.

We were then taken to our hotel and settled in. I then went down for supper and met all the other South Africans, which was great – as we spoke about our dreams and what we would like to do for our future.

Two necessary processes are necessary when coming to Israel – choosing the right bank for one and joining a Kupat Cholim (a health fund). I did not know who to talk to about finding the appropriate places to join up with that would be suited for me. Fortunately, I already knew about the banks and Kupat Cholim from the last time I was in Israel, so I knew exactly what I wanted. The next day we all went to the seminar and opened up our accounts for the bank and medical aid and cell phone. Afterwards we were taken to our coaches and were driven to our next residence the Merkaz Klita (absorption centre) in Raanana. I went to my room and met my room‑mate.

I selected Raanana as my base-point, because I have a few friends here and people have raved about the Ulpan here and so I decided to move into the Merkaz Klita. Also I only paid 300 Shekel per month for rent. At first it was quite amazing at the Merkaz because of the assortment of different people from all over the world and to hear their point of views about life in Israel.

I stayed at the Merkaz for six months and then moved to my own flat. But first I must tell you about my work I started doing in Raanana. The same day I arrived at the Merkaz I went to the supermarket with my room-mate and while standing in the line to the cashier, I said to my friend that I needed a job and a woman standing behind me said she owned a house cleaning company and offered me a job, where I am still working to this day.

I must be honest, I have not found any organisation that has bothered or cared enough to help me as far as I am concerned. There seems to be big talk, though that is all. Nevertheless, I am old enough to help myself. The truth is that I am still looking for a job, but still need help in networking with the right people who can see the skills I do have to offer and who will be able to help me give of my best in Israel. I believe it will be a win-win situation. Those who can aid me in finding the most suitable work for me will not only be helping me to settle in Israel, but they too will gain from the skills I have to offer.

As for now, doing cleaning is hard. Ironically, I earn the same as a teacher, bank clerk or nurse, so I cannot complain. It is not what I wanted, but I believe one should not sit and sulk. At least I am doing an honest day's work. Hopefully the near future will bring with it a new job with the network system Shoshanah is starting together with a fantastic Yahoo group aimed at allowing SA's to interact, share news and help each other in finding appropriate jobs etc. I believe this is more than any other organisation is doing to help the new South African Olim and they have been very helpful the short time I have been a member.

Although I do not have the job of my dreams here, I still love this country, warts and all and will never leave no matter what. My feelings for others experiencing difficulties here, are to just fight on and you will succeed.

Just to close, Shoshanah has a great chat club, and I believe this will also help new or future Olim to find either jobs or places to stay.

Mike Diamond can be contacted directly at If you would like to offer assistance or find out more about his skills and talents, please be in touch with him directly. He is looking for work in an English environment - and would be happy to share necessary information about himself.

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