Israel is the universal standard bearer of Jewish values. What we have done with our Arab cousins, Palestinian’s neighbors, and African guests demonstrates the true nature of what it means to be a Jew.
If we all lived in a hermetically sealed universe where things were simple, compassion would come easy.
We live in the Middle East. The most ancient, passionate, complex, and yes . . . savage, barbaric, and violent region on earth.
Compassion isn’t free. Kindness cost us in both body and blood.
We believe in what Mark Twain said: kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.
Israeli Arabs are equal citizens. They have the highest standard of living in the Middle East. They also have the longest life expectancy. As housing values all over Israel continue to bring more Jewish families into the luxury class, masses of Israeli Arabs are enjoying this new prosperity as well. Sharing the wealth is a Jewish value, as is creating it!
Palestinian Arabs have self-rule. We take no joy in interfering with other people’s dignity, even if we have a gun to our heads. Doing everything we can to make peace with our neighbors and give them as much freedom as we can safely give is also a Jewish value.
Unlike Europe and America, we don’t have centuries of slavery in our history. There is not single restaurant, school, even bathroom that is “Jews Only” or “Arabs only”. I have dined with a Palestinian in Gush Etzion, and worked side by side with Israeli Arabs along the hi-tech coastline. We have no Apartheid here either.
We refuse to continue on the slippery slope that will ultimately subjugate a race of people into a permanent underclass. No value could be more UnJewish than to force a people to serve us either directly or due to structural economic circumstances.
The migrants who came here from Africa are not Jewish. They cannot be citizens. They are also Muslim. They cannot serve in the IDF. They cannot get papers to work. They cannot get no aid from the country financially, or even socially.
Their only option is to stay here and take cash-only jobs while trying to scrounge enough cash to stay in poor urban areas. Their future will be nothing more than washing dishes, sweeping floors, and serving dinner to people with jobs and salaries they can never have here.
We will not condemn an entire people to such indignity. We will not allow it to happen. We will not perpetuate it any longer.
This is why permanent residency in Israel is not an option. It will blemish our soul, and destroy their future. The only option is to find a place where these hopefuls can fulfill their dreams to live a life in full freedom and prosperity.
To that end, we spent considerable financial and political capital to secure their safe passage to nations that will give them full citizenship. They will be able to reach for the stars in places that desire their drive and determination to succeed. We will give them enough money to sustain themselves for a year and a half so they can get a jump start on the life that they want.
Taking extreme measures to give anyone who wants to live a productive and peaceful life the means to do so in the best way possible is the greatest Jewish value of all.
I have never been prouder to say that I am an Israeli.
David Ben Horin made aliyah from New York in 2009. He developed www.abetterlifeinisrael.com, a 5-hour, 20-video series which gives you day to day guidance on How to Enjoy a Better Life in Israel. He lives in Netanya with his family.