In the video: High-tech workers' protest in favor of a democratic Israel and an independent court/Yotam Ronen
"I gave up a successful career in the civil service for him, out of immense love for him. He received an offer to relocate to Thailand as a team leader in a high-tech company, and we all moved to Bangkok about three years ago. It was the worst decision I've ever made, one that broke up our marriage. I tell all the women who consult with me, think a hundred times before agreeing to make this move. Don't fall into the hole I fell into."
These are the words of Aya, 37, who returned to Israel two months ago after her marriage ran aground during a relocation. In about a week, she and her husband will walk the rabbinical steps again, this time to get a divorce. Her case is one of many red flags in the face of the yearning that has grown here over the past few months.
In the shadow of internal tension in Israel, there has been a very steep increase in the scope of Google searches for the word 'relocation'. Social networks, especially groups dealing with high-tech and medicine, are overloaded with posts in which many high-tech entrepreneurs express interest in leaving Israel and immigrating to another country. Lawyers dealing with work visas also attest to a sharp jump in the number of applications by high-tech professionals to them, in order to clarify the various conditions required to meet in order to obtain a work visa abroad.
Less often, with a broken family, a broken relationship and a big dream of a better life, some would say saner, shattered to pieces on the ground of reality.
Insane amounts of stress. Start over in a foreign country/ShutterStock
It should be noted, already at this stage, that there is some confusion in the interpretation of the term 'relocation': there are employees, usually in international companies, who are offered to fill a position abroad and they move to the same country for a fixed period, which is sometimes extended, as needed. In quite a few cases, at the end of these periods, they return to Israel, or find another employer in the same country. At the same time, there are quite a few high-tech entrepreneurs who independently locate an employer abroad and in fact emigrate there, with no intention of returning to Israel.
One way or another, whether in one constellation or another, reality shows that failure lurks in a corner.
In 2016, a survey was conducted by the Israeli Relocation Association, at the end of which it was found that no less than 17% of the workers sent for relocation returned to Israel before completing the posting period. No recent survey was conducted, but from many conversations we have had with human resources managers in global companies, the reality has not changed markedly and still, the prevalence of failure is high. What is the precise proportion of Israeli high-tech entrepreneurs who moved abroad in order not to return, but returned to Israel a few years later? Difficult, perhaps impossible to know. What's more, all the professionals we spoke with tell of quite a few cases they encountered.
More in Walla!
Beat the pain without fear: B-Cure Laser in an unprecedented trial operation
In association with B-Cure Laser
Settling into the relationship is a more vulnerable position. Tal Neumann Black/PR
One of the most fundamental problems weighing on the cohesion of the family unit in relocation is the common reality, in which only one spouse receives a work visa while the other is in the process or has found a place of employment that does not match his aspirations or is perceived by him as giving up a career. All the studies conducted on the subject indicate that this is one of the most critical problems, which often leads to the failure of the process.
"There is a close connection between career, sense of self-worth and relationships. In fact, the more a person fulfills himself, the greater the self-worth and sense of worth within the relationship. When a person whose career constitutes a significant part of his self-worth does not work in his field, the sense of self-worth may be damaged, and then settling into the relationship occurs from a more vulnerable position," notesTal Neumann Shachor (MSW), a certified couples and family therapist, an expert in the field of relocation relationships, who wrote, among other things, a master's thesis on the subject.
According to her, often the working party feels guilty about the situation, which sometimes leads to a flood of negative feelings, "when one partner develops professionally, gains appreciation from his environment and feels significant, while the other side feels stuck and works in a job that does not suit their work experience and professional abilities, gaps are created." According to Neumann Shachor, " This is not a simple experience, which can arouse difficult emotions. Many times there is a feeling that 'the other side does not understand me', and a sense of distance and loneliness is created. All of these can cause a crisis in the relationship."
"Although my career was in its infancy, no one had any doubt that I would advance quickly to senior management positions. Moving to Singapore changed everything, I stored my dream in a drawer, sacrificed a lot and had to work in a place ten numbers smaller than me," Talia, a 43-year-old woman who moved to the Far East two years ago with her husband and three children, tells us. The situation is very complex and it creates a lot of friction for us that did not exist in the past. I hope the relationship survives."
S., a human resources manager at a global company, exaggerates the message: "About a decade ago we used to send employees with families, but in recent years the tendency has been to move only single employees, both for reasons of savings, but definitely - due to the marital problems that relocation creates. Do not forget that each failure of placement costs us a fortune that can reach as much as $ 100 thousand. It's all about risk management, and for us, the risk that a couple has, certainly with children, is dramatically higher than for a single person."
Legal turbulence. Adv. Shlomit Bekerman-Efrati/PR
"This is a very sensitive and volatile issue that must be addressed at the level of the agreement signed between the parties prior to relocation," explainAdv. Shlomit Bekerman-Efrati and Adv. Shelly Feirstein-Tayer of the Beckerman-Efrati, Feirstein-Tayer law firm, who specialize in family, inheritance and guardianship law. According to them, " Often, the spouse abandons a career while the other perfects his reputation and earns more. This is an issue that definitely needs to be addressed within the framework of the agreement. There are various mechanisms that can be worked with that will ensure that at least the spouse who accompanied the journey will benefit from the employment improvement of the other spouse and will be able to redeem the success for years to come."
This situation, in which one of the spouses experiences an occupational and personal crisis that radiates on the family unit, often causes him to 'dismantle the package' and express interest in returning to Israel. In the case of a couple without children, the process of dissolution is relatively easy, but parents who relocated abroad and found employment frameworks for their children will find themselves facing a very complex dilemma, which directly affects the children's mental health as well: whether the children return to Israel or remain abroad.
"If the parties addressed this situation in the agreement, the solution is relatively easy, but in another case - they may find themselves caught in a vortex and an argument with psychological and legal aspects." explains Adv. Bekerman-Efrati. According to her, the issue encompasses very significant issues, including the court that has the jurisdiction to rule. "After all, the children who are abroad are under foreign governance, and in a situation of separation, a dispute will arise as to which court will have the authority to hear their case. The argument may drag on for a long time, causing great suffering to the parties, the children, and even significantly increase the fees paid to the lawyers. It can reach tens of thousands of dollars and even more. The cost of settling the issue as part of a preliminary agreement is considerably cheaper."
At the same time, it should be noted that even if the matter was settled in the framework of a preliminary agreement, which stipulated, for example, that the jurisdiction is Israeli, there is no guarantee that the local court in the foreign country will respect it. "There are a series of possible solutions for this that we implemented as part of agreements we prepared for couples who went on relocation. Thus, for example, beyond the approval of the agreement in the foreign country, she notes, an incentive mechanism is often introduced into the agreement, according to which if one of the parties violates the agreement and appeals, for example, to the local court, it is agreed that the other party will receive monetary compensation of a predetermined amount.
Take a child out of the country? Can crystallize into a kidnapping. Attorney Shelly Feierstein-Tayyar/PR
Another issue that has often proven to lead to the failure of the process is the loneliness of the distance from Israel. "In the absence of support circles, the relationship may reach difficult places. In Israel, most couples have circles of support, family and friends, which can be supported when marital tensions arise. "In relocation, there are usually no such support circles, so the couple is more dependent on each other, which can create marital tensions."
"It is important to remember that almost every large city today has an Israeli community, and for the most part its members are happy to meet new families. It is important not to be ashamed of the natural and healthy need to be a part, and to make an effort to meet and get to know each other as much as possible, even if at first it feels unnatural", addspsychologist Gili Eger, director of "Close Care" – psychologists and video therapists for Israelis around the world.
According to her, to all this is added the language parameter. "Of course, a country where you don't speak the local language will feel more alienated and alienated, and the recommendation is to try to learn the local language in an orderly manner in a course for foreigners. It's also an opportunity to meet people who are in a similar situation and make new friends."
There is no doubt that one way or another, the saga of a transatlantic separation of a couple, let alone with children, is a complex event, but burying one's head in the sand, including not executing a preliminary agreement, can seriously complicate matters, sometimes in a way that most couples do not even take into account. Thus, for example, in a case where one spouse wishes to continue living abroad while the other spouse wishes to return to Israel, it will not be possible to remove the children from that country and return them to Israel without the consent of the other parent or obtaining the prior approval of the competent court.
Adv. Feirstein-Tayyar explains that in circumstances where a conflict has broken out between the parents, and one of them leaves the country with the children without obtaining the consent of the other parent, the law considers this a violation of the custody rights of the other parent and the removal of the children from their country of residence illegally, and can crystallize into an act of abduction in accordance with the Hague Convention, to which the State of Israel is also a signatory.
Maybe it's just better to stick with it/documentation on social media under Section 27A of the Copyright Law
To all of the above, we must add the economic angle and the developments that may take place, which require financial adjustment at the level of the family unit, in Israel and in the foreign country. "Whether it is within the framework of arranging assets remaining in Israel, addressing the case of death abroad, God forbid, and determining an alternative guardian for the minors who can make decisions on the minors' matters, and in the first stage, bringing them to their country of origin, etc.," the lawyers conclude.
- More on the subject: