Election Reflections #1 (part 2)
In the wake of the election of Rabbi Meir Kahane to the Knesset there has been a law forbidding any Member of Knesset from holding dual citizenship. (In this post, I won't go into the reasoning behind why it was only once Rabbi Meir Kahane was elected to the Knesset that this law was legislated, and not on account of Golda Meir and Moshe Arens, two individuals who served in the Knesset with dual American / Israeli citizenship).
That being said, as the deadline approached to submit all party lists to for the upcoming elections, I received a phone call from someone in the party instructing me that I had to sign some papers in order to officially be added to the list. When I asked what I would be signing, I was informed that in order to run for the Knesset, I need to sign a document, that among other things, states that should I get elected to the Knesset I would be willing to renounce my US citizenship.
At first, I didn't really think much of it. In the three years that I have lived in Israel, I have only been back to the US once, so I really haven't made much use of it. Nor have I been a proponent of those in Israel who view their American passport as a life preserver, holding on to it "just in case things in Israel don't work out".
Yet, when I mentioned this to my wife, she was less than thrilled, and the more I thought about it, I understood why. In many ways, an American passport, even if it isn’t used, is a bridge back to ones roots (in a general sense). By agreeing to renounce ones US citizenship, he is, in some ways, severing those roots. Sure, one can still visit the US with an Israeli passport, but he would need to obtain a visa, and then upon his arrival, wait on the foreigner line and be forced to justify why it is that he should be granted entry into the US. Throughout the entire process, this expatriate would likely remember how easy it once was for him to come and go in the United States as he pleased.
With all those thoughts racing through my head, and with a slight shiver running through my body, when I met the party representative the next day, I signed the form, no questions asked.
Why did I sign it? Am I really willing to renounce my US citizenship?
Those are two questions that I have thought about often since I signed the form. I believe that the simple answer is that, and I have written about in previous posts, the reason why I made Aliyah just over 3 years ago from new York City is to allow me take an active role in helping the Jewish People to fulfill their collective mission and destiny in this world, which I believe can only be fulfilled in the Land of Israel.
I have not yet discovered what my exact role is in the grand scheme of things, but if in order for me to do my part for the Jewish People and State I should be put in a position whereby I would be forced to renounce my US citizenship, then how could I, in good faith (pun intended), refuse?
I am very thankful for all that the United States has provided for me in the time that I lived there and for what it has provided the Jewish People on the whole, since its founding. However, I still very much believe in the words of the song that was played as I walked down to Chuppah at my wedding - "Ein li Eretz Acheret" (I have no other Land / home).
Israel. The Jewish State. Home. The only one I have.
Having to renounce my US citizenship would be far from ideal, but it would be a small price to pay for the privilege of living in the Jewish State of Israel and being able to take an active role in shaping the destiny of the Jewish People.