Brain Drain and War

We often think about the immediate issues of the conflict – justice, security, walls, barriers, rockets, military threats, checkpoints, land, dignity, etc. – as the drivers that provide but the challenges and the opportunities for what needs to be addressed in order to end the conflict and build a better future for Israelis and Palestinians.

But increasingly the status quo is harming the essence of Palestinian and Israeli societies at the very core – in areas like education.

Data over the last few years points to a deafening brain drain from Palestine and Israel.  Can you blame talented individuals who decide to escape the chaos?

Educated Palestinians more and more are moving to Jordan, to the United States, to Egypt, to the point that writers have started to call the "Palestinian National Dream" in jeopardy.

And educated Israelis more and more are moving to the US and Europe at alarming rates.

I just read a Wall Street Journal excerpt from a BusinessWeek article by Neal Sandler highlighting how serious the danger and impact is on the Israeli educational system:

Israeli students ranked 33rd out of 41 countries in a global survey on math and sciences in 2002, the last time they participated therein, contrasting to the 1960s when Israeli students were among the world’s best;

Only 30% of 18-year old native-born conscripts into the Israeli Defense Forces passed a standard Hebrew reading comprehension test in 2005, down from 60% two decades earlier

Israeli teacher salaries are the LOWEST in the industrialized world, acording to the OECD

So for people that are clinging to a Greater Israel or Greater Palestine vision, it is time to understand: your children’s future is at stake.  This region, with so much potential to bring light to the world, is going to implode and become a sad example of what hatred and absolutism reaps, if we don’t get our act together.

Anyone who has not taken the first step of signing on to the OneVoice Mandate demanding IMMEDIATE UNINTERRUPTED NEGOTIATIONS TILL AN AGREEMENT IS REACHED AMONG THE ISRAELI AND PALESTINIAN HEADS OF STATE should do so now.

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