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August 02, 1991 - Image 27

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1991-08-02

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Israeli government didn't
do something to alleviate
their situation.
"At last, they were all
given an apartment in
Katamon," Mr. Natan
Mrs. Natan, born in Long
Island, N.Y., moved to
Israel when she was 12.
Her mother, a widow,
decided to make aliyah to
be closer to one of her chil-
dren already studying in
Mrs. Natan met her
future husband at his bar
mitzvah. They dated for
about seven years before
they got married. She and
her family lived in Ma'alot
Daphna, one of the new
settlements built beyond
the Green Line, territory
Israel captured from Jor-
dan during the Six-Day
"Our settlement was
more like a dirt road back
then," Mrs. Natan said.
The Natans are relieved
that, for the meantime,
their children are spared
much of the stress and
anxiety they went through
because . of the constant
threat of war in Israel.
Mrs. Natan, who spent
much of the Yom Kippur
War hiding in a miklat, a
bomb shelter, said it was
weird to be in the United
States during the Gulf
"It was the first war we
weren't a direct part of,"
Mrs. Natan said. "We were
in daily contact with
friends and family, and
many times, we were tell-
ing them when they were
being attacked by Scuds."
Mr. Natan said when the
war broke out, he contacted
his unit immediately.
"I would've been on the
next plane if they needed
me," he said, "but they
said I should stay where I
Mr. and Mrs. Natan said
when their children reach
the age of military service,
they have no doubt they
will all serve.
Children of yordim who
left Israel when they were
younger than 16 are ex-
empt from compulsory
military service. In Israel,
men and women are
drafted when they are 18.
Men serve a minimum of
three years; women serve

Exemptions based on re-
ligious observance, pursuit
of higher education or
physical impairments, are
handled on an individual
basis. Very often,
deferments are granted.
"Israel recognizes diff-
erent categories of
citizens," said Mrs.
Shimon, of the Israel con-
sulate. "It has all kinds of
means in which it main-
tains its kesher, or connec-
One way is through the
number of consulates,
which function as satellites
for the Israel Embassy in
Washington. The closest
consulate to Detroit is in
Nitsan and Annette
Elyazam, who've been
married 5 1/2 years, said be-
cause of their studies they
hadn't much time to par-
ticipate in local or regional
Israeli cultural programm-
Mr. Elyazam, 28, left
Israel for Detroit when he
married Annette, a native
The Elyazams, who have
lived in West Bloomfield
with Mrs. Elyazam's
parents since their mar-
riage, are moving to an
apartment of their own in a
couple of weeks.
The couple met while Mr.
Elyazam, a sailor, was still
in the IDF. Mrs. Elyazam,
who lived in Israel for
about three years, was a
student for part of that
time at Tel Aviv Univer-
"We met in Eilat, on
Taba beach," Mrs.
Elyazam said. "It was love
at first sight."
Mrs. Elyazam said as
much as she misses Israel,
she's been the driving force
in the couple's decision to
stay put in Detroit.
"My career and job
fulfillment is very impor-
tant to me," said Mrs.
Elyazam, a graduate
nurse. "I checked out nurs-
ing opportunities in Israel
very thoroughly, and
although the medical care
and equipment is equal to
American standards, the
salaries and recognition
due nurses is way behind."
Mr. Elyazam, who is from
Netanya, said going back
to Israel has been one of
their biggest debates.
"I came to Detroit. partly

Gila and Sasson
N atan packing to
m ove to their
ho me in
Sou thfield.

out of curiosity and partly
to see if Annette was the
one for me," said Mr.
Elyazam, who is studying
to be an engineer.
Mr. Natan, who has two
brothers and two sisters,
said going back for visits
isn't enough.
"Going back is like look-
ing at single frames of a
movie," he said. "You miss
the whole picture and only
see snapshots. I can't real-
ly see myself living in the
United States as I get
older. I know one day I will
go back."
Mrs. Elyazam is not con-
"I wouldn't mind living
in Israel if I was econ-
omically stable," she said.
"It's too stressful to live in
Israel with just enough
money to get by : This is
something we live'with and

debate about all the time.
"In America, you have
freedom economically and
politically," she said.
"They have so many diff-
erent ways to control you
there. I'm scared to lose my
husband, relatives or
friends in a war.
"Life is what you make of
it anywhere you are," Mr.
Elyazam said. "I wouldn't
be happy if I couldn't pro-
vide my family with a good
home and a good income. I
did come out here to see if I
could better my life.
"But living with the need
to be in Israel with my
family and friends is a
little like living with a
time bomb. We put it aside
for now, but I always know
it's there. One day at a
time, I say to myself. I'll
take it one problem at a
time." ❑

Annette and
Nitsan Elyazam in



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