At this past weeks World Zionist Congress, members of Yisrael Beteynu refused to allow the words encourage aliyah to appear in resolutions. Instead they will simply educate on Aliya.
For a party that is so insistent on keeping the Law of Return unchanged, it would seem strange that they don’t want people to be encouraged to come here. Perhaps, Lieberman and his cronies are worried funding will go towards encouraging Orthodox Jews to make Aliya. That would dilute the power he is building by allowing non-Jews from the former USSR to make Aliya.
This Shabbos I had the pleasure of being in Ramat Bet Shemesh, one of the fastest growing, and most beautiful cities, in the country. As I told my cousin after Shabbos, being here made me homesick. No, not homesick for the US (although I can’t wait to see my wife and kids). Homesick for Eretz Yisrael.
Walking on Nahal Dolev Street Friday night, you witness the “Dolev Shuffle”. Dozens of local teens walking around, talking, and enjoying the peace of Shabbos evening.
Throughout the day, families are seen taking strolls, playing in parks, and going to seudot at friends. Shabbos ended, and immediately the streets were filled with couples running and walking. Everywhere I went, people running.
In New York, the streets are fairly quiet on Shabbos. Even Boro Park, which is densely populated by Orthodox Jews, doesn’t seem as busy. Nowhere do you get to experience something similar to the “Dolev Shuffle”. No sunflower seeds littered all over the streets. No quiet roads.
Saturday nights in the states look pretty similar to any other night, albeit with cleaning dishes, and sweeping the floors.
Many of the other delegates at the congress have never experienced what a Shabbos really is. When they attend synagogue (if at all) they drive there. They spend their day watching TV or out at the beach. Their teens almost certainly don’t attend synagogue with them, as attendance in Reform Temples is down in recent years.
Lieberman and his ilk don’t appreciate Shabbos. It’s no wonder they don’t feel the need to encourage Aliyah. To them, Israel is nothing but the achievement of some arbitrary zionisitic dream. Israel isn’t holy, it’s just a country.
They don’t bother stopping to appreciate what they have. They don’t notice the little boys on scooters in middle of the quiet streets on Shabbos. If they do, it’s just a reminder how frustrating it is to have the streets closed for Shabbos.
The left doesnt even consider themselves our brothers and sisters anymore! Recently, a video was making the rounds from one of the protests. A girl handed an elderly female protester a flower and said we are all brothers. To which the protesters replied, shouting: “NO! No we are not!”
Perhaps if they would all take one Shabbos and spend it on a park bench. Spend it watching what I witnessed this Shabbos. Perhaps they would begin to appreciate why encouraging Aliyah is so important.
We may be comfortable in the diaspora, but nothing can ever make it our home. A real Zionist feels homesick right before going back “home”. A real Zionist cries when thinking it’ll be another year until I get to be here again. How can one profess to be a Zionist and not strive to encourage more people to make Aliya?
As I prepare to leave home, and return to the diaspora, I wonder: what is so bad about encouraging Aliya?
As we approach Israel’s 75th independence day, may we merit the coming of the Messiah and a time of unity. A time when everyone will encourage Aliyah to Eretz Hakodesh, the holy land.