Brexit is here, and the British are coming. Are you ready?
It’s funny how history has a tendency to repeat itself. Staring from the early 2000s, due to a combination of rising anti-Semitism and a complicated economic situation, French Jewry have started making Aliyah to Israel. It is estimated that these waves of immigration have brought close to 80,000 Jews to Israel, which has not slowed down for a moment (in 2016 alone, almost 5,000 Jews have made Aliyah), and with the rise of anti-Semitism in France directly influencing immigration, it seems like these numbers will only increase. The Jewish immigration from France is characterized differently from the waves of immigration that Israel has seen in previous years. French Jewry brought its wealth with them, most families coming from affluent societies who invested their wealth in Israeli real estate, challenging the tax authorities therefore providing employment to Law firms, accounting firms and other financial bodies who helped stream their wealth into Israel.
Today, two decades later, it seems like history is starting to repeat itself, in even greater proportions, both in terms of the number of immigrants – and in terms of foreign capital about to enter the State of Israel, but this time, Great Britain is in the spotlight.
UK citizens have yet to decide their fate in the European union, and while the subject is being tossed around between different government institutions like a hot potato, basic conventions of British society are being shattered. However, it is safe to say with confidence that Brexit is already taking its toll on the British economy- signs of recession, halting development processes and the move of international bodies from the UK to other EU countries (with an emphasis on Germany) are evident to the influence that Brexit has on the economy and are part of the decision-making process of some British Jewry to make Aliyah to Israel.
There are two other elements to the financial situation in the UK- the rise of anti-Semitism, alongside the election of extremist left-wing politician Jeremy Corbyn to head of the Labor Party- therefore being the leader of the opposition.
Corbyn holds some unconventional views and displays hostility towards Israel and Jews- amongst other things, meeting with Hamas leaders who he defines as “peace supporters”, stating that the 9/11 attacks in New York were part of a conspiracy, taking part in some deplorable events solely dedicated to condemning Israel with the comparison to Nazi Germany, and refusing to recognize Hezbollah as a terrorist organization.
As bizarre as it all sound, Jeremy Corbyn, could very well soon become the prime minister of the United Kingdom, a matter of concern for Jewish British Jewry who are starting to examine the possibility of making Aliyah to Israel. In 2018, The Jewish Agency published a report indicating a 9% increase in the number of immigrants from the UK to Israel.
Immigration from the UK to Israel will bring a variety of complexities with it- the transfer of assets from the UK and abroad into Israel including intangible assets, activating tax treaties (including the expected use of tax havens), locating a place of residence in Israel- where the highest demand will most likely be in Tel-Aviv, the Sharon region and Jerusalem, causing the prices of real estate to skyrocket, and will raise concern and difficulty as to provide employment to the new immigrants who the bulk of which hold an academic education and only speak English- all these being the tip of the iceberg.
The relevant bodies in the UK and Israel have already started preparing for the expected wave of immigration, from Israeli law firms and accountants who are already conducting preparation and field meetings with their counterparts in London, to Family Offices and banks with international branches who are preparing to absorb British Jewry.
The future of Britain’s separation from the EU is currently in the fog, but with the rise of anti-Semitism and the drastically changing economy, it seems like the state of Israel should soon be preparing for mass immigration from the UK into its borders.
Read the this article in Hebrew on The Marker – למאמר בעברית בדה מרקר