Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Avi Bieber and American Aliyah...

I don't want to get into the whole issue right now over whether or not one should refuse orders in connection with Sharon's expulsion plan. But, in light of recent events, I just wanted to share some thoughts.

Today, Corporal Avi Bieber, who 'was arrested on Sunday after refusing to participate in the violent suppression of protestors seeking to prevent the IDF from demolishing abandoned structures near the Gush Katif community of Shirat HaYam', was sentenced to 56 days in military prison for his actions.

What caught my eyes is that Avi was quoted as saying that he didn't leave America and make Aliyah to Israel, so that he could forcibly expel Jews from their homes. "It's not right. It's not right and it's not just."

Avi Bieber made Aliyah with his family, at age 10, from Passaic New Jersey, and currently lives with his family in Gush Etzion.

To me, in many ways, this is what American Aliyah is all about. People who choose to make Aliyah from America are not running away from problems, they are not fleeing anti-Semitism or economic hardship, rather they are choosing to play an active role in shaping the destiny of the Jewish People.

Aliyah from North America is not about being complacent; rather it represents a striving for Jewish fulfillment, both on an individual and national level.

Avi Bieber made it very clear that he is a proud Jew and Zionist and he came here with his family to build and not to destroy - to be a part of the Jewish People returning home to their Land, and helping to ensure that it flourishes.

Regardless of where one stands on the refusal issues, I think there is a lot that we can learn from Avi Bieber.


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