It takes more than chutzpah to attack American Jewry for not moving to Israel; it takes the kind of arrogance that only a bona fide Israeli could possess. A.B. Yehoshua is just such an Israeli and he is wrong! In one foul swoop he attacked millions of American Jews at the same time for the crime of living in a country that isn’t Israel. He even went so far as to accuse them of being “partial Jews” during his rant.
Perhaps there are those who will defend his words but I am not one of them. American Jewry is an integral part, not just of American society but of the history of the United States. Jews have made their presence felt in every aspect of that great country and were doing so long before the state of Israel was born.
The heart of the issue here is ideology, specifically Zionism and the extent to which it can lure Jews away from the country that has been better to Jews than any other. The answer is that it can’t, although some Jews move here from the US, the Israel Prize laureate is right in that very few do and even of those not many actually stay for longer than a couple of years.
We all know why this is the case, life in Israel is really hard and I don’t blame anyone who is honest enough to say that it isn’t for them. Just a few months ago the biggest nationwide demonstrations the nation has ever seen were on the streets of every city in the country because people couldn’t even afford to buy basic foodstuffs such as cottage cheese. Right now the IDF, the government and every journalist/blogger in the Holy Land is telling the world that a million Israelis have taken to the shelters on a regular basis, so just why is Mr Yehoshua is telling people living in the United States that they should come and live here?
Israel simply isn’t for everyone, the fact of life is that given the choice 90% of people go for the money and the standard of living and who can blame them for that?
Jews in the diaspora have been doing important work on Israel’s behalf since before the foundation of the state. The amount of institutions that exist here in Israel thanks to money from American Jewry are almost too numerous to count while the ambulances from Magen David Adom saving people everyday more often than not bear the mark of the American Jewish community that donated them. This is over and above the value that Jews have contributed to the world as a whole by remaining in their countries of origin.
At a time when we need as many supporters as we can get we really don’t need A.B. Yehoshua to alienate the most important and populous Jewish community in the world.