Half million Israelis have fled their bombed out homes in the north of Israel reports Haaretz (an Israeli newspaper), as another day passes as thousands of Katyusha rockets rain down from the Hizbullah (Party of God) gangsters sheltered in Lebanon, says Hellen Hogri, formally of Fairlawn, NJ. An American with duel Israeli citizenship living in Jerusalem, her family has volunteered to house some refugees.
“I am going home,” says David Cohen, formerly of Chestnut Ridge, NY and Teaneck, NJ on the El Al plane over the Atlantic as it travels east to Israel.
Iraqis, Iranians and Syrians are traveling to Lebanon by the thousands in order to join their brethren sworn to kill every Jew in Israel wiping the 1948 United Nations political designation off the map. This they are told from their Wahhabis (the militant Islamist sect) mosque pulpits and in their elementary schools, must be done before the Islamist world can unite to defeat the Great Satan Crusaders, the Jews and Christians of the United States reports varied Islamist websites.
“I am home,” says Moshe Fuld formerly of Teaneck, NJ as he steps off the airplane ramp at Ben-Gurion Airport falls to his knees on Israeli soil and kisses the ground.
“Shalom Aleichem,” (Peace be upon you) sing the hundreds of friends and family members who have gathered in an El Al plane hanger, festooned with waving, blue and white Israeli flags to welcome the influx of new citizens, from the specially chartered Nefesh B’Nefesh (volunteer group aiding in Jewish immigration) flight. Because their paperwork was processed on the plane, they are not refugees or immigrants as they pass through the lines at immigration. They are citizens handed new Israeli identification cards.
What’s more, except for three volunteers out of the 240 passengers from on the flight, they are not soldiers going to help the IDF (Israeli Defense Force) push back the Al Qaeda supported terrorists. They are retirees, like Pauline, 84 and Abe Goldfarb, 89 formerly of New Orleans, who survived Katrina, and are relocating to an assisted living facility being built in Herzliyyah.
They are entrepreneurs like David Cohen who is relocating his business headquarters to Israel because he wants to live in the holy land.
They are 40ish professionals like Moshe Fuld, a lawyer who spoke of ancestors coming to the United States to escape the Holocaust, but now he’s running to the Jewish state to live his life where he has always wanted to live.
With relocation partially funded and arrangements assisted by The Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI), this year more than 22,000 olim (returning Jews) went home. All told, more than three million people have gone to “the promised land,” more than Moses led out of Egypt, said Michael Landsburg, Executive Director of the North America Aliyah Delegation of JAFI.
While, in many cases plans for the future were uncertain to ambiguous, without exception, there was just one reason to leave the relative security of life in the United States, “I want to go home.”
Home now is in a country with land area smaller than the state of New Jersey, surrounded by implacable enemies, except for the west coast, facing the Mediterranean, facing the United States.
What once was a land of desert, blooms with fields of grain and hillsides of grape arbors, fig, and date, and almond, orange and olive trees. Where once nomadic herdsman grazed their sheep, turning the grassland into wasteland, modern industrial cities flourish, where cutting edge technological advances are being made in every form of human endeavor.
And five times each day heard amidst the hustle and bustle of congesting traffic, to rival New York City, is the call of the Muslim muftis to prayer, where followers of that faith fall to their prayer rugs, answering Allah’s call, in safety.
They too are protected by a phenomenon which perhaps holds the most effrontery to those who harbor a mind’s eye view of a defenseless, feeble, black clothed, bearded, Jewish stereotype bent over a lambskin scroll.
Israeli soldiers, members of a Jewish Army are something the world could not conceive of until the mid 1900s, and never in the previous 2,000 years. At an average age of 19, they patrol, defend, guard and fight Israel’s enemies swearing “Never Again,” upon their induction into the armed forces on the plateau of Masada near the Dead Sea; never again to be forced to the choice of the historic mass suicide or slavery to the Romans. And now it’s never again to be driven into the Diaspora.
Greeted by the sound of the Shofer (ram’s horn) as he stepped of the plane in Israel, Fuld cried tears of joy as he and his wife embraced leaving the plane. He said he looked forward to soon seeing his four brothers, two of whom were fighting for the safety of the country in Lebanon. On that same day 25 soldiers were killed from Hezbollah rockets.
As of this writing, he does not know his siblings’ fate. He made his choice, as his brother’s made theirs and they will die to defend their country or live to nurture it. Order amidst chaos, a refuge of life, amidst a blood frenzied foe, Israel is calling its people home.
(Editor’s note: The Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI) formed in 1929, aids in the immigration and absorption of Jews who wish to make Israel their home. Anne, who is a member of the American Jewish Press Association, was asked by JAFI to accompany a group of people from the local area as they flew to Israel and to write their stories. Our Town asked her for her personal perspective of the experience.)
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