From one oleh(immigrant) to another
By Zev Forman
Around the same day that the people living in Jewish settlements in Gaza lost their homes, my summer job ended. Now, I don’t want to make an outright comparison between my loss of work with the loss suffered by the people living in those areas, but…
I knew that come the middle of August I would be out of a job; but I am single and mobile. Most of the people in Gush Katif have lived there for thirty some odd years and had created a nice government subsidized life for themselves. They had family, community and a beach view that was completely unobstructed by world opinion.
The only similarity between these people and myself is that we both now live within the Jewish State of Israel - for better and worse.
As I have talked (not acted) about getting a job this week, I have noticed “help wanted” signs all over the place. There are government agencies specifically available to help me to get me a job, and to make my life easier overall. There are also a number of organizations like the Association of Americans and Canadians in Israel (AACI) and Hadassah’s Merkaz Hamagshimim, which exist only to make the impossible task of immigrating to a new country just a bit simpler. I have to believe that with a bit of effort mixed with a little imagination that I will soon be gainfully employed.
In the spirit of all of those people who are trying to make my own move here easier, I want to be among the first to welcome the people of Gush Katif to Israel. I know that many of them have been citizens of Israel for a long time, but it is really nice to have them - well, most of them - living inside Israel proper.
Seeing so many people here to help me made me so happy. And, even though these people have been sucking at the teat of government subsidies for thirty plus years, I am certain that these re-settled patriots will find great opportunities inside a more cohesive Israel.
Now, you might be saying, “Zev, I saw these people, and I don’t think they view this as an opportunity. They commandeered the memory of the Holocaust and threw horrible things, like rocks and chemicals, at Israeli soldiers and police.”
You are right.
It does appear that there are those who do not think they can go on without sponging off of the government. There are those who would prefer to keep their unobstructed beach view. These are people with orange stars on their shirts and their hands in the air and holed up in synagogues. These are people who have put land before the safety of Israeli soldiers and in front of God. They have made a small strip of beach front property more important than peace.
My message to them, from one oleh to another, is simple. You are so lucky that you can now live in a Jewish state. Despite your shouts and incitement, those were not Nazis, Cossacks or even Americans removing you from your homes and synagogues. These were Jews evicting Jews. And, it seems, this allowed for more empathy than you may have expected with these Jewish soldiers and police who carried out their weighty task with tears in their eyes and you embraced in their arms – so long as you were willing to return the embrace.
Immigrating to a new country is hardly an easy thing. Israel, however, tries to make it a bit easier. I would like to say to our new trans-green line olim(immigrants), bruchim habaim(welcome) and behatzlecha(good luck)!
Zev Forman is a recent oleh to Israel. Since his movin’ on up he has been studying in the two-year long, intensive government regulated course to become a tour guide. Asides from his passion for geography he is a mean cook, wine connoisseur and keeps a soft spot for the ladies at all times. He’s one god damned, smooth cat and a BMF besides.