October 18, 2010 / 10 Cheshvan 5771
Adam Charnas loves Israel.
A new immigrant from South Africa, Adam lives in the Negev and is studying for a master’s degree at Ben Gurion University.
“In South Africa the Jews say we have two options: To stay at home (in South Africa) or to go home (to Israel), and I decided to go home because I fell in love with this country," he said.
Like much of the Jewish community in South Africa, Adam grew up in a traditional Zionist family. He joined the Habonim Dror youth movement and immediately connected to Israeli politics and culture.
"I love South Africa, too," he said, "for despite its problems, it is still one of the most interesting places in the world. But here I feel I have more freedom than in South Africa, and that’s one of the reasons why I live here.”
While many of his Jewish friends stayed put in South Africa or moved to Australia, he decided to move to Israel – and hasn't looked back. "There are problems here, too, but at least they are my problems," he said.
Adam made aliyah from Johannesburg on Tu BeAv this year, and has been in Israel for almost two months.
He first visited Israel at the age of 18 for an ulpan-kibbutz program at Kibbutz Maagan Michael in 2005. He then returned to South Africa and completed a BA degree. “I thought I’d be in South Africa for six months and then go back to Israel, but I decided to finish my BA and then make aliyah, and that’s what I did,” he said.
Today, Adam, 24, lives in Beersheba and while he completes his master’s degree at Ben Gurion University looks forward to what the future will bring.
“I am crazy about Israel," he said. "That happened after I got a sense of Israeli society. I feel in love with Israel, and that’s the way it is with love.”