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Aliyah: Going up or coming down to earth?

March 30, 2011 – 1:35 pm59 Comments

A sign to Sde Eliyahu. Who's responsible for transliterating this road sign?

By Kovi Rose

Having just arrived in Israel less than a week ago, I was excited and anxious to deal with the bureaucracy and slide into the culture and life of the locals. I arrived at the Airport on Friday, was partying in Tel Aviv on Sunday, and by Monday I had arrived at Kibbutz Sde Eliyahu; where I plan to spent the next 5 months studying Hebrew. On Wednesday however, we were all thrown into confusion and disarray upon hearing the news of the first bus-stop bombing in Jerusalem in several years. It was as if time stood still for a moment. Everyone crowded around the computers to look at Haaretz, Jpost and Ynet, whilst the Israelis began making calls to family members to check that everyone was okay. I approached our madricha (youth counsellor) for the Hebrew Ulpan to ask her something, and all that she could say was that she “take[s] that bus every day”.

I decided to go for a run to clear my thoughts, yet after a moment I began to sprint with anger and I felt my mind and body fuming with rage, anxiety and sadness. When my lungs finally began to feel as if they were struggling, I stopped, collapsed on the ground and sat there asking myself, or reminding myself that this is my world now. I am no longer a little kid here in Israel as part of some youth movement or birthright program; this is my home and this is what I have to live with for the rest of my life.

So, remembering that I had promised an article on my Aliyah process, I sat down at the computer and began thinking of what to write. Unable to keep the thought of the bomb – which killed someone and wounded more than 30 others – out of my mind, I thought that perhaps I could use this event to explain the reasoning behind my move to Israel.

For me, the cultural, historical, and traditional connection was never going to be sufficed by the odd donation to JNF or family holiday to Israel. I felt that I needed to be there, to live and breathe Zohan style. And once I was there, I could not just live without serving in the IDF, hiding like a thief in the night.  How could one be an 18 year-old in Israel and not strive to protect it from its enemies? Especially at a time like this in Israel, where rockets flying in from Gaza,  massacres  of families with children,  and bombs planted on buses are all being either ignored or downplayed by the world media.

David Ben-Gurion was a strong advocate of leading by personal example, with his move to Kibbutz Sde Boker prompting many thousands of people to settle the lands of the Negev. Similarly, I feel like by helping Israel in every way I can, I will hopefully encourage many other Diaspora Jews to make Aliyah.

אולי הגיע עת לשאול שאלות

כמו כמה זמן נוכל כך להמשיך ולחיות

(עוד אח אחד” – הדג נחש”)

Maybe it’s time to ask questions

Like how long can we keep on living like that

(“One More Brother” – Hadag Nachash)

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