Since the coronavirus became a pandemic, Nefesh B’Nefesh has seen a 50% increase in applications for immigration to Israel compared to last year. The Jewish Agency expects a 30% increase worldwide in people making Aliyah due to the virus. Though this may be a legitimate case to move, what are some other reasons why we should make Aliyah?
Everyday is an Adventure
You’ll never be bored in Israel! The land is rich with so much history. There are always new places to explore and discover. From Hi-Tech Tel Aviv startups to an ancient mikvah ruin in Migdal Oz, the possibilities are endless. Visit one of Israel’s award winning wineries in the north, or a very special chocolate factory near the holy city of Chevron. Paddle the Jordan river, ski down Har Hermon, set up camp by the dead sea, or ride an ATV throughout Israel (careful of the rocks). Sit in on a lecture at a yeshiva, shop in Jerusalem’s iconic Machane Yehuda market. Appreciate art in the mystical city of Tzfat, swim with dolphins in Eilat, watch the stars at night in the desert. Or just sit in a cafe and strike up conversation with a stranger. You could spend a lifetime in this tiny country, and still have yet to experience everything it has to offer!
Every year Israel is visited by many tourists from all over the world. But the Israeli population itself is extraordinarily diverse. While about 75% of the population is Jewish, many of these Jews are descended from holocaust survivors from Europe, have been expelled from Arab countries following the War of Independence, and are refugees from Ethiopia and the former USSR. About 20% of the population is Arab Muslim, while the rest include Christians, Bedouins, Druze, and Circassians. This diversity results in a remarkably vibrant and colorful culture difficult to find elsewhere.
I mean, enough said 😍
A result of Israel’s diverse culture is an incredible national palate. Full of fresh and mouth-watering flavors originating from all over the world, Israeli cuisine is a delectable fusion of foods. Tel Aviv is also the vegan capital of the world, and it’s easy to see why:
Ease of Living as a Jew
Living in the Jewish state means the national holidays are YOUR holidays. There’s nothing like walking around Jerusalem during Sukkot, and seeing a sukkah around every corner. Or attending a Tisha B’Av service at the Kotel. Or having kosher restaurants open during Pesach. You won’t have to ask off from work during shabbat or the chagim.
Another aspect of living in Israel is to be randomly selected to complete a minyan, be asked if you’ve put on tefillin, and hear Jewish music played throughout the street. There’s also usually a shul within a five minute walk from your house.
There’s a saying that goes, “if you want your children/grandchildren to be Jewish, move to Israel.” With the outrageous cost of private Jewish education it’s a huge relief to know that religious schools in Israel are very affordable. As children, we feel an intense need to fit in, resulting in assimilation. Couple this with the rise of intermarriage, and the Diaspora Jew is slowly disappearing. Entire generations are being lost. The only future for the Jewish people is in Israel.
An Army for Defense
Antisemitism is growing all over the world. In the Netherlands alone, the CIDI found an increase of 35% of antisemitic incidents. A report by The Kantor Center for the Study of European Jewry establishes that violent antisemitic attacks worldwide increased 18% in 2019. In America, Jews in New York were violently assaulted almost every day of Chanukah. The ADL found a 12% increase in antisemitic incidents in 2019, with assaults having increased a whopping 56% compared to 2018. So what is the appropriate response to all of this?
History has taught us time and again that foreign governments will ultimately fail to keep us safe (even IF they try). One police officer standing in front of one entrance of a synagogue isn’t going to cut it. Some states allow people to carry guns for protection, but in reality even arming ourselves as private citizens isn’t enough. What’s needed is an entire army whose sole mission is to protect us. Who never sleeps, and trains relentlessly for our defense. Israel isn’t 100% safe, but neither is anywhere else in the world. You can sleep easier knowing that everyone looks out for each other here and the soldiers will always watch your back.
Meet Your Soulmate
Living in the Diaspora can make it difficult to find a spouse. With over 868,000 women and over 906,000 men between the ages of 18-32 as of May 12, 2020, this is not as much of a problem in Israel. Intermarriage is also on the rise in America. Between 2005 and 2013, 58% of Jewish marriages were to non-Jews. While as of yet there isn’t more recent data on rates of Jewish intermarriage, it is safe to assume this number has only gotten higher.
Statistics aside, Israel is the ultimate place to fall in love. Her spiritual atmosphere, romantic views, delicious food, and endless options for date activities all contribute to ensuring the next generation of our people 😉
As a new immigrant, Israel will provide free tuition for students starting their studies at public universities within 36 months of their Aliyah date. Applicants must be under the age of 27 to earn a Bachelor’s degree or under 30 years to earn a Master’s. Though most of the public university programs are not offered in English, there are a lot of English programs available at private universities. Because these are more expensive, the Israeli government will subsidize the tuition, but not cover it in full. Learn more here.
Financial Assistance for First Six Months
New immigrants to Israel receive bi-monthly stipends called Sal Klita in order to help offset the financial burden of Aliyah. The exact amount is determined by whether you’re single, married, have children, the ages of your children, or if you’re a retiree. The Jewish Agency provides a useful chart here.
Connection to God
The most important reason to live in Israel is because we are commanded to in the Torah. Sefer Bamidbar says “הוֹרַשְׁ תֶּם אֶת הָאָרֶץ וִישַׁ בְתֶּם בָּהּ כִּי לָכֶם נָתַ תִּי אֶת הָאָרֶץ לָרֶשֶׁ ת אֹתָה” meaning that we shall dwell in the land because Hashem gave it to us. The land of Israel, and Jerusalem in particular, is where Hashem rests his presence. It is the land of our forefathers, and where they are buried. Where B”H the Beit HaMikdash will soon stand. Our blood and our soul yearns to be in the land, and the land itself calls for our return. The truth is we will never be able to rest, never feel at peace, until the day we return home. And it is time to come home.