Sir, – Wow! Who would have thought that American Jews could get so upset about
ads from Israel, the homeland of all the Jewish people (“PM cancels government
campaign to entice expats home,” December 4)? Is there not a major assimilation
problem among the Jews in the US? Is it not true that over 50 percent of all
Jews in America are intermarrying? The ads hit home too
Sir, – I wonder if Immigrant
Absorption Minister Sofa Landver has any idea why Israelis leave and stay away
for years, and why people living in the US are not really interested in making
Money spent on this kind of campaign will not work. How much did
it cost? Maybe if Landver had recommended that the money be used toward our
medical residents’ and interns’ salaries, it would help keep them in Israel. How
many of these doctors have already sent their resumes out of the country? Not
only are Israeli salaries too low, how about taxes? For instance, if someone is
willing and needs to take an extra job, he is taxed 50 percent on that work.
Does that make sense, especially when our Knesset members get so much vacation
time with full salaries and perks? Let us work to keep our citizens here, and
then maybe those living abroad will want to return.LILA BRODSKY
Sir, – American Jewish federations have fallen to their lowest ebb.
They have done little or nothing to enhance Jewish identity.
them for criticizing Israel’s ad campaign to return its expatriates.
of the expats have completely disassociated themselves from Israel and lost any
sense of what it means to be Jewish. If enticement back to Israel and a return
to one’s roots is a sin, then it is one worth committing.
How many of
these expatriates have been lost to Christmas and intermarriage, and have
forgotten what or when Hanukka is? How many care to remember when or what
Israeli Independence Day is? How many perpetuate Hebrew as the spoken tongue at
home? And if they perpetuate spoken Hebrew, why is it that many of their
offspring can neither read nor write Hebrew? If not now, when should we attract
these lost souls back home? In another 10 generations? YAACOV ROSENRAUCH
Sir, – The misunderstanding here is not on the part of the American Jewish
community but on the part of the Ministry of Immigrant Absorption. Its people
fail to understand that the American-born children of Israeli yordim consider
themselves Americans first, and rightly so.
Only the parents – not films
or other types of propaganda – can instill in these children an attachment to
Israel and to Judaism, and the parents’ attachment is thrown into question by
the fact that they have left the county.
While the efforts of the
Absorption Ministry may have some effect on second-generation Americans born of
Israeli parents, I suspect that the return on the investment is low. A better
return can be expected on helping absorption here in Israel.
As to giving
the vote at election time to Israeli expatriates, these people have already
voted – with their feet. I understand and even sympathize with some Israelis who
leave the country, but I wouldn’t want people living abroad to have a say in who
runs the government where I live.ROSALIE BROSILOW
Sir, – Perhaps
the advertising campaign to lure Israeli expats home was somewhat misguided in
that it disregarded the sensitivities of American Jews. But it raised a far more
sensitive question with regard to Jewishness and Israelism.
Jewishness end and Israelism begin if, indeed, it does end and begin? The point
is that pure secular Israelism without even the smallest smidgen of Judaism is
actually very vulnerable to extinction – even within the borders of our beloved
Jewish country. Take it out of Israel and its vulnerability to extinction grows
What makes Israel “Israel” is its Jewishness! The fact is
that the Jews of the modern Diaspora are constantly fighting assimilation, and
where there is no practice of any Jewish traditionalism they are
Israeli expats who come from an entirely secular background are,
therefore, victims of this phenomenon.
The solution to this problem is,
therefore, a healthy mix of Jewishness and Israelism.HAIM M. LERNER
Sir, – Hearing the truth can sometimes be painful.
central message of the ad campaign was that the longer Israelis spend away from
Israel, the greater the chance their children and grandchildren will lose their
Israeli and even Jewish identity. Furthermore, the ads warned that marrying
non-Zionist American Jews or non-Jews would only enhance the
Canceling the ads in reaction to bad press was a disservice
to Jews and Israelis living in the Diaspora. Expats and all caring Jews should
face the painful reality – that a meaningful future for our people can be found
only in the Jewish state.
Ignoring this self-evident fact and building a
future in the Diaspora will lead to assimilation and a reduction of the Jewish
critical mass.ROBERT DUBLIN
Sir, – The pricey ad campaign that
offended American Jews is a prime example of how government departments throw
away money, not only wasting precious resources but actually causing
Yordim who miss Israel know that they miss Israel without our
government having to spend millions to tell them so.
It’s economics and
employment opportunities that will bring them back – if they want to
The crew that came up with this showy boondoggle should be fired.
The money saved could be used, for example, to provide school
Sir, – A special round of applause is
due the Immigrant Absorption Ministry, and it should stand up and take a bow for
Every Jew is counted and accountable in Israel. The ministry
has shown its love and caring for those who regrettably decided to leave
Dorothy holding her dog Toto proclaims in the movie The Wizard of
Oz, “There’s no place like home!”
Sir, – While the Immigrant
Absorption Ministry wastes thousands of dollars on a campaign in the US to bring
back expats who don’t want to return (and causes offense at the same time), this
government is deliberately delaying the immigration of Ethiopian Jews who do
want to come.
These people are waiting in intolerable conditions, in
limbo, in transit, and we sit by and let this happen.
Israel was capable
of absorbing a mass immigration in the days of extreme austerity, and now that
our prime minister boasts of our booming economy, money cannot be found for a
few immigrant centers.
Sir, – As a new immigrant
(July 2010), I don’t understand why our prime minister had to intervene to stop
this campaign. If these ads struck a nerve in the likes of Abe Foxman, maybe
they were more effective than originally thought.
The fact is, there is
tremendous assimilation in the US among both Israeli expats and American-born
Jews. It’s obvious that the American Jewish community is in
NACHUM (NORMAN) DEROVAN