On Tuesday morning, 338 new olim (immigrants to Israel) arrived from North America, among them 108 lone soldiers. They were welcomed warmly at Ben-Gurion Airport by government officials as well as ordinary citizens who rose at the crack of dawn to make it for the 6 a.m. arrival. Following is a blog especially for all new olim.
Shalom and Welcome Home! I would like to tell you about our homeland, Eretz Yisrael – the Land of Israel.
Israel is the homeland of the Jewish people. We have to increase our Jewish population and we have room for every Jew that wants to return home. Aliyah (immigration to Israel) is the only answer.
Israel is in the news many times a day. We are just a small country surrounded by enemies who want to see our destruction. Presently, we are in a war with Hamas, which has been firing rockets at the South for over 14 years and now have reached Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Haifa and many cities and communities in between. We have incoming air raid sirens to warn us of Grad missiles heading over our yishuv [community].
Our government has taken a stand and our brave soldiers of the IDF and IAF are defending our nation with pride.
But I fear for my country. Our precious homeland has known many wars in our short 66 years of the modern state. Politics is the most popular discussion topic; every citizen and non-citizen has an opinion. We are all backseat generals.
Israel Boycotters Will Miss Out
Israel is a modern country with many advances to our credit. Those who choose to boycott Israel had better stop using everyday products invented or discovered by Israeli scientists that they can’t live without…for example:
Intel Pentium and Celeron computer processor chips; mobile phone technology, developed in Israel, where the first mobile phones were manufactured; voice-mail service; Video On Demand (VOD); Disk-on-Key; Waze, a GPS navigational system; ICQ, an instant messaging software; UBS flash drive.
Don’t forget BabySense a device designed to prevent crib death, and EpiLady, the first electric hair remover (epilator).
And if you like to play games enjoy Rummikub, Taki card game, and Mastermind board game, to name a few.
Do you enjoy cherry tomatoes? How about international award-winning Israeli wines, flavored drinks from Israeli-manufactured household drinks machines – all Israeli products!
And the list goes on and on with medical, agriculture, energy, economics, defense inventions and so much more.
Walking in the Footsteps of Father Abraham – Literally!
When you walk the streets of the old cities in Jerusalem or Beer Sheva….you know this is where Avraham Avinu (our forefather Abraham) walked. I live in the Negev, and the original biblical area where Avraham Avinu lived is just 3 km. away from my home.
Today it is a nature park where families go to picnic, hike and just relax. My grandchildren love to go to the ‘forest’. Sometimes, if you are lucky and dig down a little in the earth, you may see artifacts from biblical times.
My husband and I spoke about Aliyah for many years before we finally decided to come home. There was always one reason [excuse] or another why we should wait another year.
This year we celebrate our 20th Aliyah anniversary. Over the past 20 years our lives have been enriched in so many ways. We notice things that we had never noticed before, even though they were in front of our face. We have an appreciation for rain. Israel gets very little rain, and it is seasonal. Every drop is a blessing. We appreciate beautiful flowers, fruit trees, amazing birds – and people. Israel is a melting pot with Jews from all over the world who bring their own customs with them.
The Negev is known for the birds that live here. We have the most magnificent little birds with bright colors that live in our area. I love to listen to them chirping their sweet sounds.
During the past 20 years, we have had many wonderful and not-so-wonderful experiences. We do not have any more money than we had in the “old country” [we were always broke], but here we always seem to have enough for what we need. We had two cars in Canada, but we don’t have a car in Israel. We travel by bus or tremp [hitchhike] or just walk and occasionally treat ourselves to a taxi.
Have Patience – Savlanut!
Making Aliyah is a difficult decision. It affects every member of the family. Yes, you may have to give up the so-called “good life” of North America. I can tell you from personal experience, however, that even though life in Israel may be a struggle, the personal satisfaction you will receive living in our precious land will give you a much better and more enriched life.
Our Aliyah has been very successful. If I may, I would like to leave you with this information. Mainly learn to go with the flow. Have patience! Israel is a bureaucracy. A simple request that should take five minutes could take two weeks. Just remember: You live in Israel, and in Israel many things are not done the way they were done in your former country.
Wishing you hatzlacha [good luck] and may your Aliyah fulfill your every dream. If I can be of assistance or if you want to just talk about your Aliyah, please feel free to contact me through United with Israel.