In 10 days I will become an American Israeli. I will be landing in Ben Gurion airport and I will be greeted by a volunteer from AACI. I will be led to processing where I will be given my Israeli identity card, my health insurance and a small wad of shekels. My flight to Israel has been booked and paid for by the Jewish Agency.
It is really amazing how easy it is to become an American Israeli — much easier than becoming an Israeli American. For me, I am “going up.” The other way is “going down.” The laws of physics are reversed; it is easier to go up than to go down.
I want to thank everybody who made it so easy for me. I want to thank the pioneers who built the country. I want to thank all the Israelis who continue to build and strengthen and defend the country. I want to thank all the people outside of Israel who support the country through words and deeds.
I call myself an American Israeli because I am keeping my US citizenship. I am also keeping my condo in Florida and my business. I am going to be commuting. It is not that hard. I fly back and forth three or four times a year. A month or two in Israel. A month or two in the USA. It is a good life.
There is no legal reason why I have to make Aliyah now. I am typically in Israel for 4 months out of the year. Israel will let me come and go as I please. But there are a lot of good reasons to make Aliyah. There are the financial benefits of affordable health care and education. There is the safety that I hope I will never need that comes with having a second passport.
But none of this has anything to do with the reason why I am making Aliyah. I want to be an Israeli because the people I admire most in this world are Israelis. I have a lot of good friends in the USA who I respect and admire; they are generous and kind and intelligent. But my heroes are the Israelis who left their homelands and came to Israel with only a dream. My heroes are the Israelis who were born in Israel and believe in building a Jewish homeland based on Jewish values.
I am a Jew and I am coming home.
I know that there are a lot of people in the world who think that having Jews living in Israel is causing most of the problems in the world. They are wrong. I believe that the Jews in Israel are providing the solutions to most of the problems in the world. I want to be part of the solution. I want to be an Israeli. 10 more days and I will be.