Sunday 22 March 2009

And I Choose .....................

Having made two trips out of Israel in the space of three weeks, I feel that my awareness of the choices facing Jews around the world has been raised considerably. I wrote in my recent blog "Israel Sweet Home" about my feelings as a touring Jew in various European countries. This time, I would like to focus more on the issue of choosing a place to live.

I frequently make the statement that there is no Garden of Eden in the world. There is no Utopia that has only positive qualities about living there. Inevitably, wherever one chooses to live, the package will be mixed with both good things and bad. This is even more the case when considering things from a Jewish perspective. Ultimately, people will be happier with where they live, if they go through the process of deciding what is important in their lives. Once this decision has been made, they should seek out the place that delivers to them the most important things on their list of priorities. Inevitably, it will be necessary to put up with all the negative things that come with this place in the interests of enjoying the positive aspects.

Although Israel offers an ideal Jewish existence for religious and secular Jews alike, it is far from perfect. When one combines the corruption, the unstable political system, the astronomical tax burden, the aggressive nature of many of the people, language challenges for those new olim and many other negative aspects of the country, it is hardly surprising that many Jews decide that it is not for them. The difficulty that many Israelis have in making ends meet, only confirms the famous joke often told. "How do you make a small fortune in Israel? Arrive with a big fortune." Newly elected member of the Knesset and former Jewish Agency Head, Ze'ev Bielski, was often heard telling people that, if there was another Jewish country, he would recommend people to go there. Because, however, he only has one "product" to offer, he recommends that Jews come to Israel. This seems to be the bottom line. For Jews seeking out the Jewish environment that Israel offers, it is a case of "grin and bear it" for the numerous negative aspects of Israeli society.

It is clear to me that the survival of the Jewish race is is more secure with Israel in existence than without it. It is also clear to me that those Jews who live in Israel are more likely to have Jewish children and grandchildren than those who do not. With all its hardships and challenges, however, Israel does not suit all Jews. It is argued by many that it would not suit all Jews even if it was a much easier place to live in. Unfortunately we will not know any time soon.

For me, there is little doubt as to what is important. It is for this reason that I am happy to raise my children in Israel in spite of everything.

No comments: