Sharona Margolin Halickman

This is not the time to abandon Israel

In Parshat Shlach, while twelve men were sent to scout out the Land of Israel, only two found it suitable to live there.

What problem did the ten other scouts find with the land?

While scouting out the land, the scouts encountered a lot of challenges. In Bamidbar 13:30 only Kalev and Yehoshua said that they were up for the challenge, that they were ready to go up: “We can surely go up to the land and we shall possess it for we are surely able to overcome it.”

Living in Israel today also comes with a lot of challenges. Some of the latest issues are from within the chief rabbinate.

While in New York last week I saw a letter in the Jewish Week entitled “Losing Faith in Israel” where the author complained that Israel is not pluralistic enough and he doesn’t know how much longer he will continue to defend her. By making comments like that the author of the letter is behaving like one of the ten scouts.

Those who care about Israel will not abandon her and refuse to visit. Those who care will make a commitment to help resolve some of the problems. They will make an effort to move to Israel and make changes from within like Rabbi Riskin who brought Modern Orthodoxy to Israel or they will stand behind and support those who are courageous enough to work on making a difference.

Only a small portion of Israelis call themselves Modern Orthodox. The only way to get the demographics to change is for more Modern Orthodox teachers and rabbis to make aliya.

We need to stand up for Israel and try to make changes from within as Yehoshua and Kalev did when they merited to enter the Land of Israel rather than abandon her as the other ten scouts did.

The reason that almost the entire generation of the scouts died in the desert was because they followed the ten scouts and agreed with them that they did not want to enter the land.

The more Jews that come to Israel with strong American values, the more of an impact we can have.

This in not the time to abandon Israel, this is the time to stand behind her and work on making changes from within.

About the Author
Sharona holds a BA in Judaic Studies from Stern College and an MS in Jewish Education from Azrieli Graduate School, Yeshiva University. Sharona was the first Congregational Intern and Madricha Ruchanit at the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale, NY. After making aliya in 2004, Sharona founded Torat Reva Yerushalayim, a non profit organization based in Jerusalem which provides Torah study groups for students of all ages and backgrounds.
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