Of vegan dogs, aliya and the future of Israel

Israel is a good place to live. We can make it even better.

FOR YOUR dog also. A vegan activist hands out cupcakes in Washington. (photo credit: REUTERS)
FOR YOUR dog also. A vegan activist hands out cupcakes in Washington.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
‘My dog is vegan,” someone once told me.
“I only give him vegan food.” His dog wasn’t vegan, just like it wouldn’t be religious if its owner put a kippa on its head. The poor dog simply had to make do with what it got.
But the moment it found a juicy piece of steak it would do what any predatory animal would do – it would eat meat.
No offense intended, but the story of the vegan dog reminds me of our naïve friends on the Left who jump for joy whenever they find a Palestinian willing to utter the word “peace,” or even a whole phrase like “Israel’s right to exist.” But it is only when we are strong and can’t be annihilated that we hear these words. If it was in the Palestinians’ power, not one of us would remain standing. Any talk of peace on their part is fundamentally conditional.
They don’t speak of peace because they accept us, but because they can’t destroy us. A hundred years of terror and slaughter that began before 1967, even before 1948, before any of the multitude of pretexts for killing Jews, are painful evidence that they are not true “vegans.”
How can we ensure that it will never be in their power to destroy us? By making the country even stronger and thereby breaking their spirit. We have to focus on two issues. The first is our most potent weapon – aliya. No other country in the world has the same potential. Can you imagine what we would look like without the one million immigrants who arrived from the former Soviet Union? They gave a huge boost to the nation.
And there are eight million more Jews around the world: some half a million in France, over six million in North America, 180 thousand in Argentina and more than a quarter of a million in Great Britain. At least a million of them are potential immigrants. We need them, and we can bring them here.
Over 50,000 new immigrants from North America have come to Israel in recent years with the help of the Nefesh B’Nefesh organization. It’s hard to conceive of how dispiriting it must be for our enemies to know that so many people choose to leave their comfortable life in the land of opportunity and move to Israel.
The second issue we need to focus on is the periphery, which is vital to the strength of the nation. The Negev in the south and the Galilee in the north are neglected. The country cannot exist if its whole population is crammed into the space between Hadera and Gedera. It is unthinkable that Eilat in the far south, a strategic national asset, should wallow in poverty. Highway 90 divides it in two: the luxurious hotels on one side and the local neighborhoods whose residents have to fly “inland” for basic medical care on the other. In Ofakim they’re still waiting for the clerks to wake up after three years and finally enable 500 young people from the Tel Aviv area to relocate. It’s the same throughout the Negev, and the Galilee is no different. Kiryat Shmona was hit hard when its tax benefits were reduced. Like other cities in the north, it has to be reinvigorated. Life isn’t easy in Zarit or Shomera on the Lebanese border. The people in border communities deserve special privileges.
Those in opulent Kfar Shmaryahu in the center of the country will be fine. The challenge facing the country is the periphery, and we will be judged by what we do there.
Israel is a good place to live. We can make it even better.
Translated from the Hebrew by Sara Kitai, skitai@kardis.co.il.