Different Worlds

Since the attack in Halle, Germany during Yom Kippur, I have been glued to reading all the news channels. I read an article that states that Diaspora Jewry is now living in fear while Israelis do not think it is their problem. It went on to say that anti-Semitism is a way of life for others but not for Israelis. Why? Simply put, Jews living in the Diaspora choose to live in exile instead of living in Israel. Israel is the home for all Jews, and they will be accepted in Israel if they choose to make Aliyah.

During my first year of living in Israel, there were a few things that stood out for me. The most prominent being that you can practice Judaism freely and in peace. I am a secularZionist in its purest form, but seeing the Torah lifted during Simchat Torah without security present – was moving. Israelis truly do not know anti-Semitism like the Diaspora. I think it is safe to say that Israelis have different issues to focus on, but shouldn’t anti-Semitism be their problem as well? If we are all under one umbrella and we call each other brothers/sisters, shouldn’t we all cry out in time of need?

I moved to Israel because I feel safer here and more complete. Canada of course is a safe and comfortable country, but I could feel anti-Semitism starting to rise and I made the choice to leave. My whole family is still there and live comfortably. However, if God forbid there was an anti-Semitic attack in Canada, I would hope that Israelis would cry out. Anti-Semitism in the Diaspora is everyone’s problem. If a country is unsafe for a Jew to live in, how can it be safe for an Israeli to visit? None of us are invisible. This reminds me of how Holocaust survivors were treated when they first arrived to Israel. Many European Jews were greeted with comments such as “Why didn’t you do more?” When you face the atrocities of the Shoah and survive, you will feel ashamed when hearing such comments. We can’t blame the Israelis at that as they did not understand the complexities of Nazi Germany. Just as Israelis can’t relate to Diaspora Jews, the same is in reverse. Diaspora Jews for the most part see Israel as a beach country and see it as living the dream. However, with the vast majority living in the “minus” (living off overdrawn bank accounts) or suffering from PTSD, it cannot be described as a dream.

Either side gets frustrated with the other when they don’t show enough support, and in the same breath they do not view the other’s problems as their own. If we truly view each other as brother and sister or part of the “tribe,” isn’t it time we all walk the walk and not just talk the talk? With the rise of anti-Semitism in the Diaspora, and Israel’s not-so-friendly neighbours, it is time we step up and actually treat each other like one-nation and protect each other like a real family.

About the Author
Anna Kos is an Alumni of McMaster University, where she spent two years as the President of the local Hillel. She continued to fulfill her Zionist dream by establishing JNF University in 2014 while working for JNF Canada. As a Polish-Canadian, she has found her home in Israel in July 2018 and continues to work in the non-profit sector.
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