Saturday, February 9, 2008

How Long Does One Remain A "New Immigrant?"

I admit that I have a lot of "pet peeves," sensitive "buttons" or triggers that make me angry.

Last week, the Israeli media was all excited about a Bar Ilan University Mathematics professor who solved a decades old mathematics problem. It's definitely one of those great "good news in Israel" stories. For me, it was marred by:

President Kaveh added that the fact that Prof. Trahtman was a new immigrant "raises once again the need for the government to fulfill its obligation to invest in absorbing immigrant scientists and bringing Israeli scientists back home from abroad." (emphasis mine)

The article also said that Professor made aliyah 15 years ago. When we made aliyah, in 1970, we considered ourselves "new immigrants" for as long as we were eligible for the special "rights." Of course, we stay "immigrants," but "new?" No way.

Just because many of us will never lose our accents, nor be as comfortable in Hebrew as we are in our native tongue, does not mean that we are new immigrants forever!


Anonymous said...

If they're going to insist on always calling us "new", maybe we post-special-rights olim should go with Madison Avenue's wisdom and label ourselves "new and improved!"

....Just kidding.

Shavua tov!

Batya said...

Is it my accent?

Leora said...

I asked my brother the theoretical math prof about this story. He said he thought the math problem was an interesting one, but not really one of the most interesting math problems of today. He thought the reason why the story was news was precisely because the guy was a janitor for a number of years, and janitors aren't usually the ones who solve math problems.

So the "immigrant" part was important to the story.

Batya said...

Immigrant, yes, but "new" indicates that he's not accepted as an Israeli.