Adam Milstein is a managing partner of Hager Pacific Properties, a highly successful real estate firm in California. He was born in Israel but has lived in Los Angeles since 1981. He is active in a variety of Jewish causes, most notably being a co-founder and the current chairman of the Israel-American Council, which strives to create a community for other Israeli ex-pats.
As highlighted in a May 2018 Newsweek article, Adam Milstein is one of many successful Israelis who have made their home in the United States, and their numbers have been growing in recent years. He notes that the newcomers are different from those of his own generation: while he and his wife, Gila, originally saw their life in America as temporary, most of the newer immigrants come knowing that they will likely stay permanently.
This has caused some concern for the Israeli government. In 2011 it began I-CORE, a bid to lure scholarly émigrés back to the homeland, but it was discontinued within three years. 2013 began “the Israel Brain Gain Program,” a similar initiative aimed at talented people like Adam Milstein, but last year that also ended. It seems as if the problem cannot be solved without addressing the major issues that are driving so many Israeli natives away.
What are these issues? For one, the cost of living in Israel is very high while the average pay (which is $2,765 before taxes) is lower than in other Western countries. Many Israeli-Americans report that they simply could not hope to become successful without moving. Others issues are cultural: observant Jews are becoming a larger demographic (due mostly to high birth rates) and gaining more political clout, while most of the émigrés are young and secular. This also exacerbates economic issues, as many Haredi Jews live off government assistance while considering unpaid religious studies to be their main vocation.
These are all difficult issues to resolve, but if Israel wants to survive it will need to find some way to retain people like Adam Milstein and the hundreds of thousands of others who are leaving the country.