Sunday, October 02, 2005

American Zionism and Israeli Demography

In a recent posting, I highlighted the grave demographic threat that the State of Israel is faced with - within the pre-1967 borders.

I ended the posting by stating the need for Israel to take action to overcome this threat. In particular, I called upon the Jewish People, all over the world, who care about the future of Israel as a Jewish State to answer the call.

In response, I received the following comment from a well-intentioned Jew living in New York:
There are a few ways that come to my mind. Complete Aliyah of Ethiopian Jews still in Ethiopia. Complete Aliyah of Bnei Menashe in India. Complete Aliyah of Russian Jews. These two alone increase the population by several thousands, and we know they are Jews.

Yet, the biggest issue is over whether Israel is a secular state vs. a religious state. If it is secular it doesn't matter who becomes the majority. If there is some sort of religious context for us as Jews being there, then it does matter. I guess the answer lies in the hands of every Jew collectively and individually.

While these suggestions are certainly a step in the right direction, I found it to be fascinating that he did not also mention the importance of Aliyah from North America, the last Jewish community left in the world that has a sizeable enough Jewish population to make a major difference in the demographic reality here in Israel. (This type of suggestion fits in with other creative ideas on how to solve Israel's demographic dilemma).

Sadly, I think that this attitude reflects traditional American Zionism: We're willing to give money, to write letters, hold rallies, and give good ideas as to how to solve your problems... anything but come to Israel (and make Aliyah) ourselves - that's more appropriate for the Russians, Ethiopians and Bnei Menashe...

As the reader correctly notes, if Israel is a Jewish State, then it needs a Jewish majority (among other things). The time is fast approaching (if it hasn't arrived already) where Jewish bodies will be of much greater value to the Jewish State than American $$$. The choice will then be upon each and every American Jew to decide himself what is more important to him - his comfortable lifestyle in America, or the future of the Jewish State and destiny of the Jewish People...

Think about it... You may be called upon to answer sooner than you think...


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