“Israel is on pace for a 20 percent surge in immigration in 2019 over the year before, according to new figures released on Monday by the Central Bureau of Statistics.”
“According to the bureau’s figures, 85% of immigrants reported satisfaction with their lives in Israel, which was lower than the 92% reported among other Israeli Jews.”
From 600,000 Jewish residents in 1947 to over 6.5 million today, Israel is an unbelievable success story. Jews who had no certain refuge, who had no place to call home, who were at the mercy of others for 2,000 years, and who suffered terribly for it, have re-created our nation in the land in which we are an indigenous people.
It’s a story virtually unique in history. And it includes the miracle of taking a language that was relegated to prayer books, synagogues, and study rooms and making it into a flourishing language of everyday exchanges, election campaigns (We like them so much we’re having three in one year!), poetry, novels, theater, movies, restaurant menus, and traffic arguments, spoken by people who came or whose ancestors came from nations of virtually every continent.
And Israel is not only a refuge for those with no place to go. It is an attractive, prosperous, stimulating, beautiful place to live and visit. In almost every survey of countries, Israel comes out high in terms of infant mortality, happiness, best place to raise children, and the like.
As we approach Hanukkah, the holiday of miracles, and as my wife and I prepare to leave for a few months, I am going to take a few minutes to appreciate the miracle that this country is. (I already performed one miracle –limiting myself to one-and-a-half sufguniot–so far).
But, I am also going to recall what Ben-Gurion said: “In Israel, in order to be a realist you must believe in miracles.”
And “If an expert says it can’t be done, get another expert.”
And “There are eleven million Jews [now about 14 million] in the world. I don’t say that all of them will come here, but I expect several million, and with natural increase I can quite imagine a Jewish state of ten million.”
It’s happening. It’s a miracle?