Wednesday, May 17, 2006

There's no place like home - Part II

Having lived in Israel for over 3 years now, it doesn't occur as often as it once did, but every now and again, I am asked why I chose to leave America / NY and make Aliyah. This question is generally asked by secular Israelis who are genuinely curious as to why someone would leave behind all that the US has to offer and exchange it for a life in the State of Israel, with all of the challenges that go along with it.

Often, after hearing why I chose to live in Israel, these Israelis walk away (I think) feeling better about the country they call home, while others just think that I am crazy and would give anything to be able to move to NY.

Yet, I am often tempted, although I rarely indulge myself, to turn to my questioner (or to other secular Israelis) and ask them, what is it about this place that keeps you here? What's keeping you from leaving for "greener pastures"?

Israeli celebrity, Yair Lapid, shares his answer with us.

Better than we thought

Here’s a trivia question: What is the second largest Greek city in the world?

Don’t run to the atlas. The second largest Greek city in the world is Melbourne, Australia. Only Athens has a larger Greek population. The reason that so many Greeks migrated to Australia is because they were unhappy in Greece and looked for a different place to call "home."

The second largest Israeli city is Tel Aviv; followed by Haifa, Beer Sheva, Holon, etc. New York would be somewhere on the list, but pretty far down. In the final analysis, the majority of Israelis prefer to live in Israel...

It’s not that there are no alternatives... But most of us don’t leave and that’s not something to sniff at...

The big question is why? What is this country giving them that does not show up in the statistics?

...The prime minister is wasting his time and ours when he promises us that in another four years this will be a wonderful place to live. We have chosen this place. We have chosen 30 days (at least) of IDF reserve duty a year, income tax, religious - secular tensions, the Palestinian threat. We have chosen and we continue to choose every day. This makes us better people because we matter and that allows us to feel that between our birth and our death, something vital and real is happening to us.

There aren’t many countries that give their citizens that kind of feeling.

We may not see eye to eye on most things, but we have both chosen (in different ways) to make Israel our home - despite, and perhaps because of all of the challenges that go along with living here, hoping that we can both play a role in helping to make this country the best it can possibly be.




11 Comments:

Oooh, good stuff! Great answer.

By Blogger Ezzie, at Wed May 17, 11:19:00 AM GMT+3  

You really must change this silly format of having to "click here to continue". It makes reading your blog a hassle.

By Anonymous H, at Wed May 17, 01:33:00 PM GMT+3  

Beautiful post - it's nice to hear that people are there because they want to be, because they have chosen it, rather than just because that's where they were born

By Blogger Shoshana, at Wed May 17, 04:59:00 PM GMT+3  

Get real.

The real reason the majority of Israelis live in Israel is that they can't get Green cards for the U.S.

By Blogger Joe Settler, at Wed May 17, 09:08:00 PM GMT+3  

Ezzie and Shoshana, I'm glad you enjoyed it.

Joe, we can't always complain about secular Israelis who dont care about this co8untry and wqho want to leave and then look the other way when some actually talk about why they want ot live here...

Give credit where credit is due.

By Blogger Ze'ev, at Thu May 18, 01:15:00 AM GMT+3  

Ze'ev, is it perphaps better if the Seculars leave? Wont large scale secular emigration hasten religious Jewish control of Israel?

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Thu May 18, 01:54:00 AM GMT+3  

Anon, I am not interested in having any Jews leave Israel. i am interested in seeing more Jews come Home to Israel. The Land of Israel belongs to every Jew, even the ones whose beliefs may not be in accordance with Jewish law.

That is not to say that there aren't / won't be consequences for the actions (or inactions) of the Jewish People living in the Land of Israel, an we have seen already that we can be exiled from the land, but that does not take away the fact that the Land of Israel belongs to the Jewish People.

Instead of hoping for secular emmigration in order to bring about a more Jewish israel, why not try to work on making Israel more Jewish with the people who are here.

When the 10 tribes were lost, perhaps one could have thought that since the Kingdom of Israel was predominatly involved in idol worship it was no great loss- but nowhere do we see such an idea. The 10 triebes, along with the secular jews in Israel and everywhere else are our brothers and we should accept them and try to bringthem closer, and not push them away.

By Blogger Ze'ev, at Thu May 18, 10:03:00 AM GMT+3  

I like that answer...keep it up:-)

By Anonymous annieinisrael, at Thu May 18, 10:55:00 PM GMT+3  

Good answer.

By Blogger Jack's Shack, at Fri May 19, 04:07:00 AM GMT+3  

Thanks.

By Blogger Ze'ev, at Fri May 19, 05:28:00 PM GMT+3  

Yeah, Ze'ev

Great answer - i love being compared to a human-sacrificing idol worshipper cult. I am sure that will really help in Kiruv terms!

By Anonymous H, at Sun May 21, 01:21:00 PM GMT+3  

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