Aliyah Manifesto: You are Not a Tourist

Birthright & Gap Year People Enjoy Themselves

You remember visiting the different places. Excited to tour? You did that on Birthright and your year abroad. That is why you love Israel, and that is why you moved to Israel. Israel is so much fun, when you are going back to America. You love Israel, because you didn’t experience it.
You had a great vacation. You love vacation and partying. I do too. I loved Scandinavia, because I do not live there. Wow, look at the ship. I love going on cruises. I did not build the ship, that is why I liked it. You don’t like working, waking up or paying bills. Israel stinks when you have to make a living, because you have to make a living. Making a living isn’t the same experience as upchucking last night’s entertainment. Making a living anywhere stinks. Nobody likes that.
Israel isn’t as much fun when it isn’t free. I also want to be in a free Israel, where the government and the Bronfman family support me. At least there should be free Schweppes in Israel. But once you make Aliyah, you have to pay for your seltzer and tonic water. The Bronfman’s won’t even give you the special new cranberry soda water as a taster. Once you make Aliyah, even the Bronfmans are making money off of you. You get so worked up from all the work, you end up chugging a liter of Crown Royal. They need to support more free trips to Israel. But do they? Not once you make Aliyah. Once you make Aliyah, they don’t pay for you to fly to Israel.
Are you touring anymore? No! Now you are visiting people. Now you go up north and your friend has a nice view of the Hilton. Even when you crash by your good friends from ulpan, you have to bring a drink, a house warming gift. Nothing is free. It is a cycle of money you have to make to money you are spending and there are no benefactors. And I am thinking that Birthright is all a sham. Stuff in Israel costs money.
Everybody has such a good time getting free stuff in Israel, except for Israelis. However, us Israelis, we love Israel. We love getting all flustered and on edge. It is exciting for us. That is where our conversations stem from, how we got screwed over. If you haven’t been screwed over, you have nothing to talk about. Now that is boring.
You will still travel as an Oleh, but it is different when you are visiting Eilat and going camel riding, crashing in a hotel. Your new little Israel experience vacations will consist of showing up for your friend’s daughter’s Bat Mitzvah in one of the settlements, while they put you up in a trailer (also known as a caravan), with people who do not want to welcome you to their settlement, because you support the settlements and settlers do not want anybody liking them.

I see these Birthright American Protection Programs, where they meet the Middle Eastern people that live in the desert. They put you Birthright people up in their ‘tents’ and then you get to make your own toast breakfast on a fire, just like the Bedouins. Whilst the Bedouins have the real Bedouin experience of sleeping in their Bedouin hotel in Arad, with their Bedouin made Continental breakfast. I do not know what a Continental breakfast is. I just get very excited when I hear Continental breakfast. I know that Continental means, not cereal. To me, that is exciting; to know that my breakfast is flying at a hi-speed. The Bedouins are also excited, because now the American are milking the camels for them.
Then the Americans meet the smiling Israelis, who are in the army and haven’t made Aliyah. They are usually the guards for the trips, fit for guarding as they do not know how to use guns. These Israelis are smiling, because they are not Israeli. They are on a vacation from college. They are running away from their parents, doing the army because that was the only way they could justify wasting a year. And they care about Israel.

If you want to give the Birthright participants the real Israel experience, fly them to Turkey. That is a place Israelis travel to. It is close. Israelis like to travel to anti-Semitic countries. Any place that hates Jews is where Israelis want to be. That is why Israel is in the Middle East. When America gets involved and there is not enough Jew hatred in the Middle East, Israelis love travelling anywhere in Europe. They also enjoy Thailand. Thailand is not anti-Semitic yet, but give it some time and they will get to know more Israelis. That is when they get the history textbooks.
The real Israel experience should be taking the Birthright participants on a boat from Turkey to Israel. Then the participants should be quarantined in a place, maybe reopen the Atlit detention camp. Have the participants feel what it is to sleep in a summer camp. My parents sent me to summer camp so I would feel what it was like to sleep in subhuman conditions, as the British forced the refugees of the Holocaust. Then the participants, as real pioneers, would have to build bunkers and escape holes. Then, to make it all feel like the real horrifying Israeli experience, the participants would have to stay in a Jerusalem youth hostel. They would have to sleep on the Sochnut flat mattresses that the Jews left Egypt with, which didn’t have a chance to rise. With no continental breakfast. However, they would love the Aliyah experience coming from Atlit, as now there is food.
For the true Israel experience, Birthright would not allow the intercultural talks that they try to run with Arabs and Israelis. The problem with intercultural talks being that they can lead to peace. They would have the real Israeli experience, where each side shows up with weapons.
The David Israeli Birthright tour would be the ultimate, where we would have each of the participants experience a circumcision. Not just one of those cheesy Bar or Bat Mitzvahs at the Kotel.
The David Birthright tour would prepare people for Aliyah. For this reason, I plead with you- Sochnut and Nefesh BNefesh- to make Aliyah feel like a positive experience, and have all new Olim go through Atlit. If you gave them the real Israeli experience in Yeshiva, on their gap year and on all these tour programs, you would not have to deal with the new Olim complaining. With the David Birthright and tourist program, I would even take an educated guess and say that there would be less Olim and less visitors.

The tourists are groups being watched by a leader, making sure they are kept together. The only goal of a tour is to not lose one. My friend Cindy was telling me that she sees these herds walking through the Old City in Jerusalem. You can’t take your car through the city, lest you hit one. She even fears of honking too loud, lest one of the herd stray from the tour guide.
On the David Tour, there are no sticks of any color, no umbrellas, no funky tour guide hats, calling the herd together. The flock get lost and they have to find their own way, just like Aliyah. Sheep, trying to find somebody who will feed us, when there is no Sochnut, no Birthright. Trying to find one place where that Apple Mint Schweppes is on sale. Apple Mint Schweppes for a bargain, after Aliyah…That would make me feel like a vacationing king just out of Atlit, at a Bat Mitzvah on a cruise at the Dead Sea.

About the Author
David Kilimnick: Jerusalem's Comedian performs at his Off The Wall Comedy Basement- Jerusalem's first comedy club, every Thursday in English and every Wednesday in Hebrew, in downtown Jerusalem. David may also be contacted to perform for tour groups in Israel & Synagogue fundraisers around the world, and for your private parties. Contact: 972(50)875-5688 David Kilimnick, dubbed Israel's father of Anglo comedy by the Jerusalem Post, is leading the new pack of English-speaking stand-up comics in Israel . At his Off the Wall Comedy Basement club in Jerusalem (the first of its kind), Kilimnick has been offering up penetrating observations of life in his turbulent adopted country. Tourists and native Israelis alike have been flocking to his cozy, intimate club and raving about his unique ability to transform the daily chaos and aggravation of Israeli life into an evening full of laughter. Kilimnick's material covers the rocky transition from his "New York Cocoon" to his new life as an "Oleh Chadash" or Israeli newcomer. Still single, Kilimnick touches on his religious upbringing, his rabbinic insights, the injustices of Jewish grammar school and Jewish summer camp, and the looks he gets from his Jewish mother because he isn't married yet. Meanwhile, Kilimnick's universal humor takes you on a tour of funny through the Holy Land. Incorporating routines from his shows 'The Aliyah Monologues Classic 1 & 2','Find Me A Wife,' 'Frum From Birth: Religious Manifesto', his music show 'Avtala Band' & more, David Kilimnick justifies his Aliyah (move to Israel), while taking you through the reality of life as a single immigrant, Israel experiences, holidays & family left behind. You are sure to walk away entertained, enlightened, or with David. David has recently appeared on "Bip" Israel's comedy network, צחוק מעבודב and has been hailed by the tough Israeli media as a rising star who possesses Seinfeldian charm when he takes to the stage.