My latest at Open Zion/The Daily Beast. Here’s the top – for the rest, click here! (But please note that Ron Kampeas of The Forward tweeted me the following: “From what I see on GPO email PM/Pres do meet and greets with olim from Ethiopia, etc.” I’m guessing that’s different from meeting them with song and dance at the airport, but honestly, I’m just guessing here).
Over the course of decades spent observing the relationship between Israeli and American Jews, I’ve come to an unavoidable, if hardly scientific, conclusion: It’s weird.
American Jews seem to encourage what amounts to a life-long crush on the State of Israel and its inhabitants, leading to such various reactions as: American rabbis giving their podiums to Israeli officials on the High Holidays, when we’re enjoined to concentrate not on things of this Earth but on malchut shamayim (the Kingdom of Heaven); a slew of folks deciding I must be ok, despite my left-wing opinions, because after all, my husband was born and raised in Jerusalem; and of course, cases of the collywobbles among American youth when Israelis happen to drift through the room.
What a lot of Americans might not realize is that the crush cuts both ways. Witness the reception recently received by 351 new immigrants:
Some 350 new immigrants from North America—including five sets of twins and two sets of triplets—were welcomed personally by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at Ben Gurion Airport on [August 14]. “I’m proud of you,” the prime minister told the group. “We’re all proud of you. Friends of Israel, Jewish and non-Jewish alike, are all proud of you.”
The new arrivals on the special Nefesh B’Nefesh charter flight were greeted with song, dance and a number of very short, but warm speeches by several dignitaries, including the prime minister and the Chairman of the Jewish Agency for Israel, Natan Sharansky.
Dude. Seriously? For 350 people (even if more than 5% of them were twins/triplets)? Last year, some 7,200 immigrants arrived from the former Soviet Union and more than 2,600 from Ethiopia—the Prime Minister might have greeted some of them at the airport, too, but I can’t find evidence of it.
Oh no! What happens next? More collywobbles? Well you’ll just have to click here to find out!