In this ethnographic essay, I reflect on the origins and present
condition of the new (post-2010) Israeli diaspora in Berlin. Based on
10 months of participant observation, I map out the main sub-streams of
this emigration; elicit the economic, professional, and political reasons
for leaving Israel; and explore these émigrés’ initial encounter with
German society. My observations suggest that many Israeli residents of
Berlin (mostly secular) rediscover their Jewishness along diasporic lines
and forge ties with the local religious and community organizations.
Being a small minority in the German-speaking milieu, Israelis invest
in building their own Hebrew-based community networks, including
media outlets and cultural and educational institutions. Lastly, I explore
these émigrés’ ties with Israel and conclude that many Israelis in Berlin
are sojourners rather than immigrants and that Berlin is but one phase
in their life journey.