The Dark Underbelly of Israeli Business

by Saul — ( Nov 23, 2013

Most immigrants to Israel quickly realize, if they did not beforehand, that it’s extremely difficult to make a living in this country. The average salary in Israel is 7,500 shekels per month before tax (about $2,150 a month gross), yet the cost of living is not much different than in the United States, Canada or Britain. Real estate is extremely expensive, especially in and around Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Automobiles, gasoline — extremely expensive. At some point one could argue that at least food was more affordable in Israel, but that is no longer true.
The net effect of this dilemma for new immigrants is how can they make ends meet.
Unbeknownst to many outside of the country, Israel hides a dark underbelly of corrupt and illegal organizations that exist solely on the basis of defrauding North Americans, Western Europeans, and just about anyone else on the planet. Their primary markets remain, however, the United States, Canada and Western Europe.
I’m ashamed to admit that I have worked for not one, but three of such companies. In my defense, I will say that I did not ever plan to do this kind of work when I made aliyah five years ago. I came to the country with honest intentions. However, after a brutal divorce, I had little choice. Surviving on a “legitimate” salary was out of the question, not with four children and a child support payment in excess of my salary. In effect, the country forced me to find more lucrative work.
Generally speaking, the “corrupt” industries in Israel are focused on the following products or “services”:
On-line pharmaceuticals
On-line gaming (casinos)
On-line Forex trading (currency exchange)
On-line binary options trading
There are literally hundreds of these companies operating in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, and where they are not outright illegal, they are most certainly unethical. Yet, they pay good money — much more than “legitimate” companies can afford, with some exceptions in the hi-tech and defense sectors mostly.


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