INTRODUCTION: The state of Israel is facing another problem in addition to its soaring inflation and troubles with neighbouring Arab States.
GV ZOOM TO Blocks of flats at Ramot.
GV PAN FROM Bus to new flats under construction. (2 SHOTS)
CU ZOOM OUT TO GV New angular honeycomb architecture building. (2 SHOTS)
GV PAN FROM Workmen on tractor TO flats under construction. (3 SHOTS)
CU U.S. Embassy sign.
GV People queuing at embassy for visas.
CU Man filling in immigration papers and people queuing. (3 SHOTS)
CU INTERIOR Shmuel Lahis being asked question by reporter Andrea Binder and replies. Overlay shot of blocks of flats. (2 SHOTS)
SPEECH ON FILM (TRANSCRIPT): SEQ. 8: REPORTER: "Why do you think Israelis are leaving the country?
LAHIS: "I would say two major subjects or points, are involved. First of all so-called physical needs like renting housing, jobs and I would like to emphasise with great regret still today unfortunately we still don't have rental houses to provide youngsters."
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: INTRODUCTION: The state of Israel is facing another problem in addition to its soaring inflation and troubles with neighbouring Arab States. People are emigrating from the country at an alarming rate. And Israel is failing to attract immigrants in sufficient numbers to make up the loss.
SYNOPSIS: Here in Ramot, a Jerusalem suburb, there are plenty of flats being built. But there is nobody to live in them.
The emigration figures are published in Israel with some embarrassment these days. They are regarded by observers and Zionists as a severe blow for a land built on immigrants, and a failure of Zionist policies and philosophy. Israelis are now leaving their homeland at a faster rate then for many years.
The Israeli building programme is ambitious, but even futuristic construction like this cannot stem the emigration tide or attract new immigrants. At least 200,000 people are now considering leaving Israel, according to a newspaper opinion poll. And official figures show immigration is at its lowest level since 1968.
Many reasons are given by the disenchanted emigrants: Israel's 150 percent a year inflation, compulsory military service, and most importantly, the feeling that life in Israel is not good enough.
One of the most popular destinations for the emigrants is the United States. Many feel life is easier there - higher incomes, lower taxes, easier loans and cheaper housing.
Shmuel Lahis is the Director General of the Jewish Agency. He recently wrote a controversial report called Israelis in the USA.