While reading an article recently in a Hebrew newspaper about the quiet emigration of Jews from France during the last year and a half, I was suddenly overcome with a very uneasy feeling. It wasn’t the alleged trigger for the emigration, namely a marked increase in violent anti-Semitic attacks in France and in other European countries, which left me feeling uneasy but rather the fact that many of the French Jews purportedly wanted to move to Israel but due to the considerable financial difficulty which relocating to Israel involves today, they were forced to settle elsewhere.
Whether or not these Jews are honestly not coming to Israel because of the growing financial hurdles entailed in aliyah or simply because they’re wealthy Jews who prefer an easier life elsewhere, is irrelevant. The fact is that unlike seventeen years ago when I made aliyah and one was still able to manage here with relatively little, today in Israel settling down or just getting by is becoming more and more difficult. Thus for nearly any Jew who is not somewhat well-off to seriously consider moving to Israel today, it will be nearly impossible for him to buy a home and in many places even quite difficult to rent an apartment. The prices through the years have simply skyrocketed.
The sudden recognition of this fact, namely that due to steep economic hurdles aliyah is becoming less and less of a realistically viable option for Jews living in the Diaspora even if they truly want to move to Israel, is what left me feeling unsettled. I started to have a very strong feeling, almost like a premonition, that after years of the door being wide open for relatively easy aliyah to Israel, God, for reasons known only to him, is slowly closing the door.
I don’t pretend to know God’s ways and why He would choose to do such a thing. Like everyone else, I can only speculate. Unfortunately when I do my conclusion is that it’s a bad sign, actually a very bad sign, for Diaspora Jewry in general and European Jewry in particular.
I realize that for some people the “God factor” is either irrelevant or perhaps even a joke. Nevertheless for many believing Jews, of which I’m one of them, it is very, very real. And it is this “reality”, together with the uneasy feeling that hasn’t left me for days, that has caused me to expose myself to possible ridicule by writing this very brief article.
I hope I’m wrong regarding what I’m thinking but if I’m not I only have one message for my Jewish brethren in Europe; Get out now.