Not Wanted On Voyage
This long-forgotten expression was used on the tags on passengers’ baggage in the days of immigration to the United States from far-away Europe. It was an indication that the bags could be be stored in the ship’s hold, rather than kept in the passenger’s cabin for use during the long days at sea.
I was reminded of this saying when reading that there is a high demand for Israeli passports among Russian Jews. Sadly, they seem to be more worried about Putin’s plans for mass mobilization, than coming to join us in Israel. If we listen carefully, we might hear them singing that song:
I don’t want to join the Russian army,
I don’t want to go to Putin’s war.
An Israeli passport would make it easier for these Russians to get into many countries that are reluctant to accept Russian passports. It could be the key to an easy life in the US.
Of course, there are many Russian Jews who do stay in Israel, who do join us.
However, almost one-third of recent Russian immigrants to Israel have already left. Since the start of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, 5,600 Russians “immigrated” to Israel. They were given an envelope full of cash, free hotel stays and banking, medical and other benefits. Nearly 1,800 have now left for pastures anew.
But we in Israel are most definitely on a voyage. Many of us have come from distant lands on a voyage of discovery. We are looking to discover the land of our forefathers, we are looking for reminders of a religion that many of us have, almost, forgotten. After years in the galut, the diaspora, we are trying to discover who we really are.
It is time to make clear to Russian Jews that they are wanted on our voyage but will get no help from us if their intended destination is California.
Perhaps, newcomers should have to wait a year or so before being granted an Israeli passport. Israel is not a stepping-stone; we do not want to be stepped on.