True Jewish Heroes
Without Aliyah, the State of Israel would be lost.
I am not speaking merely in terms of demography, where, in the Jewish State of Israel, every time a Jew makes Aliyah or a Jewish child is born, it serves as one of the greatest expressions of Jewish / Zionist fulfillment that one can actualize today - as it helps to ensure the continued vitality of the Jewish State of Israel.
No, Aliyah plays a much greater role in strengthening the Jewish State of Israel than simply bumping up the Jewish population statistics.
To see how great a role olim play in Israeli society all one needs to do is follow Ariel Sharon's medical situation, and see who has been treating him since his stroke last week.
Sharon's Argentinean-born surgical team
The surgical team that has performed brain surgery three times on Prime Minister Ariel Sharon reportedly treats him like any other patient, with no shaky hands or thoughts that the whole nation - and much of the world - is watching...
The chief surgeon is Dr. Jose Cohen, who, five years ago - living and working as a neurosurgeon in Argentina - would never have dreamed that he would perform lifesaving operations on Israel's leader.
Cohen, 39, was born and trained as a physician in Rosario, and subsequently specialized in Buenos Aires before coming on aliya four years ago to work at Hadassah. He is on call by his stroke unit 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Regarded as "an angel" by many of his patients, he heads a multidisciplinary team of some 20 physicians, nurses, computer experts, technicians and others...
(Felix) Umansky, 62, immigrated in 1973 and did his specialty in neurosurgery at Beilinson Hospital in Petah Tikva. He spent three years in the early 1980s at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston and at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit. Since 1984, Umansky has been at Hadassah, becoming a full professor at the Hebrew University Medical Faculty in 1991. He is an expert in surgery of the base of the skull and has conducted much basic and clinical research on microanatomy of the brain...
The three-member anesthesiology team that has taken part in Sharon's surgeries consists of Dr. Yoram Weiss, who was born in Tel Aviv in 1959; and brothers Dr. Ya'acov and Dr. David Gozal, born in 1959 and 1958 in Morocco. They both immigrated from France.
I have no doubt that all of these immensely gifted individuals could have excelled in their respective fields in their countries of birth. Yet, I doubt whether these doctors - these Jews - would have ever had the opportunity to contribute to the Jewish People on as grand a scale (and stage) had they decided against moving to Israel - had they decided against coming Home and devoting their talents and energies to their people and to their Homeland.
These doctors are true Jewish heroes and role models - at least they are in my eyes.