Life has more meaning when you live in Israel - opinion

Almost half of the world’s Jews, myself included, now live in Israel, because we can.

 PEOPLE IN downtown Jerusalem walk past flags on sale for Independence Day this week. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
PEOPLE IN downtown Jerusalem walk past flags on sale for Independence Day this week.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

For many Jews around the world, Israel is a peripheral concern; a country to be supported, naturally, in one way or another, but not a place to live.

Spending a holiday there, fighting online misinformation and abuse, attending demonstrations and so on are all well and good, and some would even argue essential, but is it really enough?

Is that the best way to support Israel and secure her future, and by extension the future of Jews across the globe?

Almost half of the world’s Jews, myself included, now live in Israel, because we can. For the first time in two millennia, we have our own country. A place where we can live without fear of being persecuted for being Jewish. 

Making aliyah is not an easy choice, however, but it is a meaningful one.

WILL THE bonds with the Diaspora break?  (credit: REUTERS)WILL THE bonds with the Diaspora break? (credit: REUTERS)

When I consider that in a hundred years’ time, my own family, (my husband and children) will be all but a memory, I am comforted by the fact that we were the first generation of the Samuels family to live in Israel. 

We were the ones who took the bold step of making aliyah, thus ending years of being tossed from one country to another, at the mercy of those who wish to do us harm. In doing so, we altered the course for our descendants.

In years to come, they’ll look back at photos of us, and marvel at how we, in the early days (a mere 70-odd years after the creation of the State of Israel), literally fought to keep the country alive. They may even be astonished by the fact that we actually sent our children to war.

Hopefully, future generations won’t have the same worries as those of us who live here now. National service will be a distant memory as Israel will be a strong, prosperous nation, finally at peace with its neighbors, having been shored up by the generations of Jews who rose to the challenge and came to her defense in her hour of need, by making aliyah.

ISRAEL IS so much more than just a place to live. It doesn’t matter if you’re religious or not, a believer or not; for a large number of Jews, just living here has meaning.

Take this past week, for example, during which three very special days were marked. 

A true “only in Israel” week.

First is Remembrance Day, when we remember the six million Jews who perished in the Holocaust. The whole country came to a standstill as the siren sounded and we all paused to reflect on the horrors of that dark period in our history and say, “never again.”

A week later, on Remembrance Day for the Fallen of Israel’s Wars, we all paused once again to remember our precious soldiers, without whose sacrifice this tiny country of ours would not exist. Victims of terror are also remembered on this day.

Finally, on Independence Day, we celebrated the creation of the State of Israel – our hope and guiding light for future generations of Jews everywhere; our path to safety. 

Whatever the circumstances of a person’s aliyah, there is no doubt that those who take that leap of faith (which is the best way to describe it) are the ones who are responsible for securing, not only their and their family’s future, but Israel’s too. 

In a hundred years’ time, when I become a distant memory, I know I’ll have done my bit to ensure as far as possible that Israel, the one country Jews can count on and call home, will still be there for us; a beacon of light shining out of our dark past, which in some small way, I helped to build.

What could give life greater meaning?

The writer is a former lawyer from Manchester, England. She now lives in Netanya, where she spends most of her time writing and enjoying her new life in Israel.