Following the attacks on Jewish communities in Europe, Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, voiced encouragement for all Jews, especially those who feel unsafe in their communities, to make aliyah. Netanyahu’s call for aliyah promises that all Jews will be welcomed with open arms, guarantees much-deserved protection, and invites all Jews to come home to Israel. As it goes when it comes to politics – especially delicate, multifaceted, and complex policies such as those of the Middle East – Netanyahu’s message elicited a very mixed global response, receiving both praise and criticism.
However, an alternate message regarding aliyah was suggested by MK Yuli Edelstein, Israel’s Speaker of the Kenesset, during an exclusive interview with one of Federation’s main partners – the Jewish Agency for Israel. In the interview, Edelstein spoke of the importance of developing a Jewish identity as well as the importance of forming of a personal bond with the state of Israel prior to aliyah, which he believes will help Jews who are considering aliyah make an informed decision.
“We have to maintain the line that the Jewish Agency has taken: strengthening Jewish identity and the bond with Israel. That does not mean we should neglect aliyah – quite the opposite: you develop Jewish identity and the bond with Israel in order to help people make a decision that is very personal for them and right for us, as residents of the state of Israel. The decision to make aliyah should not be made because of terror attacks or fear, but out of a sense of conviction, Jewish identity and a bond with Israel,” said MK Yuli Edelstein.
Click here to read the full article about Edelstein’s alternate perspective, novel concept, and his fascinating life story.