Although these things are always hard to judge when you’ve barely left the house in six months, the mood in Israel would currently appear to be triumphant.
How do I know that?
My neighbors are back to cooking their mangal and drinking on the porch. Always a good sign of optimism.
While Israel’s ongoing emergence from the pandemic is certainly something to be proud of, it would also be nice if we could take a moment to spare about those Jews living in the Diaspora who haven’t yet answered the call to come home.
According to Wikipedia, there are currently roughly 14 million Jews in the world. But only 6 million of those live in Israel. That means, of course, that 8 million sadly do not. Wikipedia also has a helpful chart which lists where, exactly, these Jews live.
We who have the merit of living in Israel — and came here on aliyah ourselves — have a lot to be proud of. Our lives are busy and hectic. But equally making aliyah doesn’t mean that we can just forget about our brothers and sisters — sometimes quite literally — who live in chutz la’aretz.
Jews share a sense of collective responsibility. Those who believe that Israel is the only fitting country in which Jews should live cannot remain content while their family members are ensconced in the Jewish diaspora.
Some Diasporans are stridently against aliyah. Making progress on these individuals may certainly be difficult. But one can attempt it. However I believe that there is a large cohort of Jews who may be receptive to the idea but who are not being hit by pro-aliyah messaging.
We in Israel are too quick to throw off the yoke of collective responsibility. Our usual answer is to say that “that’s a problem for the Jewish Agency or NBN.” Those who speak in this manner are misguided.
As we emerge together from this protracted pandemic, we can all benefit from a time of soul-searching and introspection.
Let us move past looking to “the other” when seeking ways to encourage aliyah. Let’s welcome into our lives a more proactive approach – one which starts with us and doesn’t pass the buck onto any aliyah organization, however capable they may be. Let’s accept responsibility for lobbying our family members and those outside of our families. To make a move that is logical for any Jew. To move to Israel.
The writer is the author of Just Get On That Plane: Aliyah. And Why You Need To Make It (Right Now!) which is available in paperback and e-book format on Amazon.
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Yaakov Greenspan is the author of Just Get On That Plane: Aliyah And Why You Need To Make It Right Now, a book which extols the virtue and great importance of making aliyah.