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Anger as Berlin’s cheap pudding lures Israelis

Israeli expats living in Berlin stirred controversy when they boasted of much better living standards in the German capital

Published: Updated:

Fed up with Israel’s rising costs, a group of young Israeli expats in Berlin sparked controversy when they boasted about Berlin’s much cheaper grocery shopping including a particular pudding which can, according to them, be bought for a third of the price when compared to Israeli supermarkets.

The group is seen as encouraging migration from Israel and controversy began when on Sept. 29 a Hebrew-language Facebook page called “Olim L’Berlin” – which means “those who go up” — usually reserved for immigrants to Israel, began its tirade on the comparisons between Israel and Germany, The New York Times reported Thursday.

On Oct. 4, the page boasted photos of a supermarket receipt purporting to show that prices were much cheaper in Berlin; it included a pudding topped with cream which sells for 19 euros, or 24 cents.

However, the pudding, called Milky, sells for three times that price in Israel, with its cup containing 40 percent less, the paper reported.

“Milky became the symbol of a new revolution,” according to the Times. There are now also “Olim L’Prague,” “Olim L’Detroit” and even “Olim L’Mars” pages.

The 25-year-old behind Olim L’Berlin, who spoke with The Times in a Skype interview, said that he had moved to Germany in May after serving five years in the Israeli Army.

He said the receipt had gotten “80,000 views in a few hours.” The paper said he spoke on condition of anonymity because he said he had received death threats.

In response, politicians denounced those who want to leave the country as “anti-Zionist” with Israeli TV channels sending reporters to Berlin to speak to members of the Israeli community there.

Finance Minister Yair Lapid from the centrist Yesh Atid party said he sympathized with these protesters but not their method, The Daily Mail reported.

“These people are anti-Zionists. I’m a Zionist, I think Jews should live in Israel,” he said.

He added: “That doesn’t change the fact that the cost of living is high here ... The cost of living is not the only question for a person to consider when deciding where to live and by which values.”

Yesh Atid party rode the 2011 protests to become a major player in Israeli politics. In July 2011, Israel witnessed a series of demonstrations of hundreds of thousands of protesters opposing the rise of living costs, especially housing costs.

Meanwhile, Cabinet Minister Yair Shamir, son of former Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir and a member of the ultranationalist Yisrael Beitenu party, told the Maariv newspaper that he pities “the Israelis who no longer remember the Holocaust and abandoned Israel for a pudding.”