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      Hollywood to the Holy Land
      by Tzvi Fishman
      Tzvi Fishman was awarded the Israel Ministry of Education Prize for Jewish Creativity and Culture

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      Before making Aliyah to Israel, Tzvi Fishman was a Hollywood screenwriter. He has co-authored 4 books with Rabbi David Samson, based on the teachings of Rabbi Kook, Eretz Yisrael, Art of T'shuva, War and Peace, and Torat Eretz Yisrael.


      Tevet 27, 5771, 1/3/2011

      Where Are the Jews?

      The good news is that tourism to Israel is booming. The bad news is that most of the visitors aren't Jewish.

      Last week, INN reported:

      “The year 2010 set a record in tourism to Israel, according to the Ministry of Tourism, with 3.45 million arrivals registered. The majority of incoming tourists this year (69 percent) were Christian, more than half of whom were Catholic). 23 percent were Jewish. The others were of various faiths or unaffiliated.

      In my eyes, it’s pathetic. After all, the Christians come here to visit the site where their god was killed, while our G-d still dwells here.

      I remember reading somewhere that only 15% of American Jews have visited Israel. It may be somewhat higher now that the Birthright organization is giving away free trips to young people, but the vast majority, for some unknown reason, have kept away.

      What gets me is that they travel to everywhere else in the world, from Berlin to Bangkok, but not to the Jewish homeland.

      "If I don't set Jerusalem above my chiefest joy!"


      After all, if they have the money to walk on the Great Wall in China, gondola along the sewers of Venice, and go on safaris to Kenya, they can afford a trip to Israel too.

      It's the wrong wall, brother!"

      I can’t figure it out. After all, we have nice hotels here, and fine cuisine, sunshine, swimming, the most beautiful women in the world, not to mention holy and historical places like the Kotel and the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hevron.

      So why don’t Jewish tourists flock here?

      None of my cousins have come. Nor any of their cousins. Old friends from America never call up and say, “Hey, Fish, guess what? I’m at Ben Gurion Airport! When can we meet?”  

      What keeps them from coming?

      I don’t really think it’s the danger. After all, some of them have climbed the Himilayas, and sailed along the Amazon River, and bungeed down the cliffs of Nepal, braved the venereal diseases of Thailand, and the beaches of Cannes, but they’ve never been to Israel.

      Searching for his roots in the Amazon.

      And between you and me, there really isn’t a whole lot of danger for tourists here. Once in a far while, a tourist get killed in some terror attack, but I’m sure the statistics are just as high anywhere else if you would do a study on the subject.

      "Shemaaaa Yisraeeeel!"

      So why don’t they come? What are they afraid of? I just can’t figure it out.