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April 04, 1986 - Image 31

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1986-04-04

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

TT •'""• . "'"

31

philosophical in the collected viewpoints
is the essay "Israel as Neurotic Solution"
by A.B. Yehoshua, who has this impor-
tant opinion to offer:

(If the Prime Minister) were
to announce ceremonially that
this year the State of Israel re-
fused to accept money from the
golah out of anger over the fact
that only the money immigrates
to Israel, not the Jews; if Israel's
Prime Minister or her senior
representatives were, by a
dramatic and demonstrative act,
to condemn the golah for the ab-
sence of aliyah and were to an-
nounce that the money was being
sent back to the golah for the, sole
purpose of boosting aliyah; if the
State of Israel were to stop send-
ing teachers, educators, and
community emissaries to a
Jewish community that does not
fulfill even minimal aliyah quotas;
perhaps some impression would
be made, and perhaps the ques-
tion of the golah would be placed
at the center of things. I do not
claim that millions, or even hun-
dreds of thousands would come,
but even if only a few extra
thousands came, it would be suf-
ficient. That in itself would con-
stitute a revolution.
At present approximately
2,000 American Jews per year
immigrate to Israel. Even if the
number increased to 20,000, not
even a half of one percent of
American Jewry would be repre-
sented. But from the point of
view of Zionist fervor, it would
be a drastic change. On the one
hand, such an aliyah would put a
stop to the catastrophe of Jews
leaving Israel, and on the other,
an additional 100,000 Jews would
be bound in the golah to Israel
through family connections and
friendships. From a scientific and
cultural point of view, it would
bring about a most important
occurrence. But can it be done?
One can at least begin intending
to do it. One can try to believe
that it is possible.
Recently Israel has become a
too-familiar presence in the golah,
especially in the United States.
Paradoxically, it is no longer
necessary to immigrate to Israel
to live in Israel, and it is possible
to acquire scraps of significant
Israeli reality in the golah itself.
The aura of distance and mystery
surrounding Israel has become
blurred, if it has not vanished al-
together. The media contributed
to this, but they are not the only
ones to blame. The constant
deepening of relations between
the golah and Israel has obscured
the diViding line between them.
Perhaps it was , thought that in
this way people's hearts would
be prepared for aliyah, but the
reverse is true. What has been
created is a legitimate reality of
substitutes for aliyah — of quasi-
aliyah. We must at all costs rees-
tablish a certain feeling of aliena-
tion between the golah and Israel
— a controlled disengagement, as
it were.
A not inconsiderable group
of Jews abroad has forged a
network of very intimate rela-
tions with the leadership of the
State of Israel. This group is
party to more of Israel's state

,

7

I

Judah Magnes

secrets than are parallel groups
of Israelis. At the cost of a five
percent contribution to the na-
tional budget, the golah has be-
come a recognized intermediary
in our relations with foreign gov-
ernments — a service we rightly
chose to do without in the early
years of statehood. The mutual
dependence of Israel ,and the
golah has greatly increased.
Spiritually the golah needs Israel.
Out political conflicts, our eco-
nomical problems, and, in a cer-
tain sense, Israeli culture provide
the spiritual nourishment for
Jewish identity in the golah.
These have replaced the Talmud,
the Kabbalah, and the Responsa.
Hence the golah will not abandon
Israel at the moment when it in-
itiates an ideological conflict over
aliyah. Of course a few such at-
tempts will be made, but that
part of the Jewish people (which
for the sake of convenience we
shall call Jewish. People A),
which accounts for three million
out of the 11 million Jews in the
golah, which nurses a very pro-
found affinity to Israel and .
Judaism, and which supplies
Jewish services to the other five •
or six million (Jewish People B),
before it is too late, to cause
group A a certain shock, and to
demand that it make a choice to
end the eternal schizophrenia
from which it suffers. At present
the golah and Israel tightly clasp
each other's hands. But if we
were to upset the inertia of this
stability by quickly withdrawing
our hands from group A's grasp,
the resulting -imbalance. would
pull them sharply towards us. A
state of peace could free us froth
our dependence on the golah, and
would restore our upright stance.
But even before full peace
comes, we must begin to develop
a different attitude and postire
with regard to the golah. Instead
of engaging in Jewish education
in the golah, we must engage ex-
clusively in the promotion of
aliyah. Too much Jewish educa-
tion obscures the need to come to
Israel. Instead of trying to tempt
and induce Jews to come here,
we must coldly expose the path-
ology, immorality; and hypocrisy
of the golah. We must start a
quarrel with the most war-
mhearted of Jews, the Jews who

Teddy Roosevelt

are most loyal to Israel, for they
are our public. It is true that this
will be a quarrel among brothers,
but it seems to me that this
would be preferable to the condi-
tion of peace that exists at pre-
sent.
According to the most op-
timistic studies, in the year 2000,
only about 50 percent of the
population in the borders of
greater Israel will be Jewish and
this assumes an aliyah of 25,000 a
year, with only a small yeridah.
There is the very real danger that
in another 50 years we will lose
our majority even inside the
Green Line (pre-1967 Israel). With
peace, of course, there will be the
opportunity and the hope for the
large-scale aliyah. But let us not
forget that there is also a possi-
bility of emigration and the scat-
tering of the Jews throughout the
region. In conditions of economic
prosperity, and in a world in
which distances are becoming
less significant, Jews could live
in the golah — in Tunis, for
example — and teach their chil-
dren Judaism by means of Israeli
television programs. •
The virus of the golah is in
our blood. Let us not forget that.
We are descendants of those
Jews of whom, at the time of the
Second Temple, and in the dif-
ficult conditions of the ancient
world, the famous Greek geog-
rapher Strabo wrote: "It is hard
to find a place in the entire world
in which this people does not
live." Gershom Scholem once
said that it is as if Israel by its
very existence had absorbed the
sparke of the redemption-impris-
oned in the golah, and as if it
thereby freed the golah from the
need for redemption and from
the guilt of nonredemption. It is
up to us to do everything in our
power in order not to exculpate ,
the golah from the guilt of non-
redemption. (The absolute crite-
rion in our relationships with the
golah must be guided by what in-
creases aliyah and what limits it.)
It goes without saying that yordim
are to be condemned and should--;
on no- account be given ,jobs in
Israeli institutions abroad; how-
ever, there is no moral validity in
condemning the yordim without
condemning life in the golah in
general.

.

Do we really need another in-
ternecine quarrel? Will it do any
good? My answer is yes. The con-
flict with the golah will uncover
what we in Israel have in com-
mon, as distinct from those' living
abroad. It will show once again
what the cardinal things are —
the things for which we are fight-
ing: freedom and independence.
Instead of fighting with each
other tooth and nail over the
issue of an acre more or an acre
less territory, we shall see that
the real issues lie elsewhere. The
essence of our life in Israel is
different from that of golah life,
and the differences should not be
obscured. Spiritual life in the
golah is like that of a man who
has built his house on the water's
edge, is preoccupied with the
question of whether the water
will inundate his home, and is
engaged in endless efforts to
keep it out. We in Israel, on the
other hand, are like a man who .
has. removed his house far from
the erosive powers of the waves.
The problem of the water no
longer proccupies him. He is able
to build his house, cultivate his
land, and create something new.
I believe that deep inside
every man lies a desire for rede-
mption, and each man possesses
a latent vitality. I shall never
forget a wonderful story from the
time of the "illegal" aliyah from
Morocco. It happened early in
the 1960s, when ships were col-
lecting Jews from Morocco,
which was already completely
under Moslem control. 'One day a
ship arrived in one of the ports to
pick up some Jews from a remote
village. For various reasons the
expected immigrants did not ar-
• rive and the ship could not wait.
The Jewish agency representa-
tives on the ship went to the
nearest Jewish community,
knocked on the doors and said:,
"Are you prepared to leave for
Israel, right now, without further
ado? Take whatever you can.
Take your chance. And, in fact,
quite a number of Jews got up
and left, then and there. This im-
pulsive component can be found
in every one of us.
I am always astounded to re-
discover in conversations with
Jews abroad — intellectuals and
others well-established in their
• jobs and their business — that
they do not rule out the possibil-
ity that one day they might come
to Israel. It is not just talk aimed
at making an impression on
others; "the redemption gland"
exists in every Jew. A thousand
obstacles, personal and collec-
tive, lie in the. path of anyone
who wishes to make aliyah; yet
the decisive fact is that there is a
minority that has done so of its
own free will
One of the most compelling
reasons for peace has not been
heard: namely that peace is likely
to increase aliyah and to
reallocate resources for
aliyah.Peace. is likely to--release
Soviet Jews from their prison.
Our historical responsibility is
not toward land. It lies first and
foremost with people. History
will never forgive us if, because

,

Continued on next page

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