The North American Aliyah Revolution
Now that we have established the highest 3-year period of North American Aliyah was from 1969 - 1971, we must ask ourselves what was so special about the post Six-Day War period, which led to such a dramatic increase in Aliyah, particularly from North America - more so than any other period to date?
Israel’s victory in the Six-Day War of June 1967 rocketed immigration out of a mid-decade slump. During the three years following the war, 23,900 people came from Western Europe and 17,900 from the United States. The war also ignited Jewish consciousness among the 2,500,000 Jews in the Soviet Union. Combined with growing détente, the result was a new wave of immigration: by the end of the 1970s, 140,000 Soviet Jews had immigrated to Israel. (Courtesy of Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs).
I believe that the answer is that the Six-Day war led to an infusion of Jewish Pride in the souls of nearly every member of the Jewish People, regardless of where they physically or spiritually found themselves. The miraculous victories on the battlefield in June of 1967 were clear expression of Jewish Destiny playing itself out for the entire world and Jewish People to see. The Jewish People had returned to areas of their eternal Homeland that until then had been off-limits to the Jewish People - to Judea, Samaria and Aza, the Golan heights, the Sinai, and of course, Jerusalem, all against what seemed to be insurmountable odds.
As emotional and powerful as the establishment of the Jewish State of Israel was, in 1948, very few North American Jews picked themselves up and moved to Israel, and we do not find the same dramatic rise in Aliyah following the Yom Kippur War as we do post Six-Day war.
The liberation of Jerusalem, in particular, had the most to do with bringing about the Aliyah Revolution (term coined by my friend Yishai, and Kumah). At the moment that Jerusalem was liberated, the 2nd most famous words uttered by the Jewish People - in this case, Motta Gur (and certainly in the last 2,000 years) were spoken:
Har HaBayit B'Yadeinu - The Temple Mount is in Our Hands
At that very moment the very Heavens shook, the foundations (and nations) of the world trembled, and the soul of nearly every single Jew in the world was lit ablaze. It mattered little whether one was a religious Jew or a secular Kibbutznik; both were equally moved by the historic and religious significance of the moment.
As such, in the year or two following the war, thousands of North American Jews began tying up their loose ends, picked themselves up, and made Aliyah.
Alas, one can ask why didn't more Jews come - why was the euphoria seemingly so short-lived?
I believe that the answer to that, was that the Government of Israel at the time, and particularly Moshe Dayan, were very much frightened by this fire that was lit in the hearts of the Jewish people, of the re-connection of hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of Jews to their Destiny, to their Heritage, to their Land. As such, the government began taking steps to douse the flames.
Step 1: Relinquish day-to-day control over Har HaBayit to the Muslim Waqf
Step 2: Declare that Israel is prepared to "return" areas liberated during the war in exchange for "peace"
Step 3: Prohibit / discourage Jewish settlement in the newly liberated lands
As a result, today, Har HaBayit is being systematically destroyed by the Muslim Waqf and Jews are forbidden from praying there, the average Jewish Israeli has minimal connection to the Land of Israel or Jewish tradition and heritage, and the Government of Israel has already begun "Disengaging" from the liberated lands, and expelling the Jews living there.
All these actions, in addition to the Government of Israel showing an unwillingness to take the steps needed to defend Jewish sovereignty and the lives of the citizens of the Jewish State have methodically put out the flames that burned so strongly - the flames of Jewish Pride - Pride in what it meant to be a Jew - Pride in the Jewish State and Pride in the Destiny of the Jewish People that was just waiting to be fulfilled...
Today, through organizations like Nefesh B'Nefesh and Kumah, the Aliyah Revolution is coming to life once again. North American Aliyah is unique in that those who make Aliyah from North America are choosing to live in Israel, as opposed to running from somewhere else. The greater the numbers of Jews who make Aliya by choice, the greater our ability to defeat the cynicism, despair, negativity and corruption that so many in Israel are afflicted with.
The Aliyah Revolution, built on a foundation of unabashed Jewish Pride, with a love for all of the Jewish People, the Land of Israel and the teachings and Heritage of the Jewish People at its core has the power to re-ignite the flames of hope and pride within the hearts of our Jewish brothers and sisters - to inspire those who live in Israel to take an active role in the unfolding Destiny of the Jewish People taking place before our very eyes, along with the potential to encourage those not-yet-living Israel to come Home and be a part of the action...
That is the power of the Aliyah Revolution.