You have to give credit where credit is due. In last week’s Torah portion of “Mattot,” after Moshe rebuked the tribes of Reuven, Gad, and the half tribe of Menashe, for wanting to remain on the other side of the Yarden with their cattle, they rose up like lions and volunteered to lead the way in the conquest of the Promised Land. In a spirit of brotherhood, they vowed to lead the fight against Israel’s enemies and not return to their families on the other side of the Yarden until the Land had been wrested away from the heathens, as G-d had commanded.
This is the spirit of volunteerism and brotherhood that our proposed “Birthright II” program will flaunt. As we wrote a few blogs ago, upon reaching the age of twenty, every Jew in the Diaspora will come to Israel for three years to serve in the Israeli army, just like their youthful Israeli counterparts in Israel. Special glatt kosher units will be created for the Ultra Orthodox, with ample time for prayer and Torah study. Anyone too afraid to fight will be given tasks around the army base, working in the kitchen, cleaning lavatories, working in army warehouses, and shining the boots of the secular soldiers from Tel Aviv. Women coming from the Diaspora will serve from one to two years in national projects around the country, working in hospitals, kindergartens, old-age homes, and the like. By the end of the program, all of the participants will know Hebrew fluently and will realize that they are 100% Israelis and not Diaspora Jews. This will save them from the soaring rate of assimilation that is decimating the nation outside of the Land of Israel.
As we have repeatedly stressed, it is time for our refugees to come home! Make no mistake about it – there is no such thing as an American Jew, or a French Jew, or a German Jew. Jews in the Diaspora are Israelis in exile. They are refugees from the Land of Israel. Two thousand years ago, their forefathers were kicked out of Israel by the rampaging Romans, and the Jews have been refugees ever since. The “Birthright II” program will make this simple truth clear.
The idea that Jews are Americans, or Englishmen, or Canadians, is as false as the myth that Palestinians have a right to the Land of Israel. Just as there is no such people as “Palestinians,” there is no such people as “American Jews,” or “French Jews,” and the like. All Jews come from the Land of Israel. They are Israelis. Jews in the Diaspora are refugees from the Land of Israel. Yes, for 2000 years, in order to survive, we tried to fit in with the gentiles, to get along, we played a role, pretending to be a part of their nations so they wouldn’t kill us, but the gentiles always knew the truth that we weren’t one of them, that we weren’t a part of their country, and sooner or later, they reminded us that we different, that we were strangers, that we were exiles from Israel who didn’t belong in their lands. So they either expelled us or killed us. That’s why we are called the “Wandering Jew.” We wander from place to place, from exile to exile, because we don’t belong in other lands – we belong in Israel, our homeland.
Remember – it wasn’t very long ago, a mere 60 years, when we were the “boat people,” refugees denied entrance to our Land on ships like the Exodus.
This point has to be made clear. We are refugees! Down with the Diaspora charade. Now that G-d has returned us to our own Israeli State, it is time for Jews to come out of the closet. It is time to burst the myth of “American” Jewry, and “French” Jewry, and come home before the goyim remind us in their typical unpleasant fashion. That’s what the “Birthright II” program is all about. Israel will no more be a fun place for a free ten-day vacation. Israel is home. Israel is our country. We are Israelis. All of us. Whether a Jew lives in the refugee camps of Boro Park, or Flatbush, or Monsey, Boca Raton, or Thornhill, or Gateshead, he is an Israeli. A refugee from the Land of Israel. The Jewish People must be freed their exiles, no matter how “pleasant” they may seem. “Birthright II” will be the beginning of a new world movement to bring Israel’s refugees home.
“Free the Israeli Refugees Now! Free the Israeli Refugees Now! Free the Israeli Refugees Now!”
Let this chant ring out from Boston to LA; from Paris to Marseilles; from Toronto to Vancouver; from Sidney to Perth; from Cape Town to Johannesburg:
“FREE THE ISRAELI REFUGEES NOW! FREE THE ISRAELI REFUGEES NOW! FREE THE ISRAELI REFUGEES NOW!”
We’ve all seen photos of regal, white-robed sheiks from Saudi Arabia getting out of their Rolls Royces in downtown London. They may have wrangled themselves British passports, but everyone knows that they aren’t Englishman. They’re Arabs! All of the Muslims that crowd the streets of London and Paris – they aren’t Frenchmen or Englishmen. They’re Arabs! Passports are technical things. In their essence, their nationality, all of these Muslims are Arabs not Englishmen. They are Saudi Arabians and Egyptians, and Lebanese, and billionaire oil tycoons from Kuwait. They are as English as my arse is French. This is obvious to everyone.
It’s exactly the same with the Jews, wherever they may be, no matter how much they try to fit in and be like everyone else, they will always be Israelis – refugees from the Land of Israel. This is the truth. The gentiles know it. They know that the Jews don’t belong in their lands, that the Jews have a land of their own. Whether a Jew wears a baseball cap, or a fur Streimmel, or no hat at all, in the eyes of a gentile, he’s a stranger who doesn’t belong.
I realize that the task before us won’t be easy. But just as Herzl succeeded, so shall we. “If you will it, it isn’t a dream!” We have brainwashed ourselves for 2000 thousand years, trying to fit in with the gentiles around us, in order to escape their eternal wrath and buy ourselves some peace. After 2000 years of hardship and trauma, many of us have forgotten who we are. “Birthright II” is on the way to remind them.
Thus, we call upon all Jewish leaders in the Diaspora to join this great cause, in the spirit of Reuven, Gad, and Menashe. Raise your voices! Lead the way! May the truth be known! There is no more American Jewry. No more English Yidden. No more good Jewish citizens of Canada. We are refugees from Israel. And we want to go home!
First, every Jewish organization the Diaspora must change its name. For example, the Hadassah Israeli Refugee Women Organization; the President’s Conference of Major Israeli Refugee Organizations; the Rabbinic Council of Israeli Refugees; the Israeli Refugee Anti-Defamation League; the Simon Wiesenthal Israeli Refugee Center; the OUIR. Furthermore, synagogues will be renamed: Temple Beth Am for Israeli Refugees; Young Israeli Refugee of New Rochelle; Lincoln Center Synagogue for Israeli Refugees; the Israeli Refugee Ahavat Achim Shul.
All of this is to get the message across that we are Israelis, not Americans, or Frenchmen, or Russians, or Mexicans, or Canadians – we are Israelis who have been thrust illegally out of our Land – we are the refugees of Israel!
“We are the Refugees! We are the Refugees!” This will be our theme song, recording by a chorus of popular Jewish singers to the tune of “We are the Children,” and distributed all over youtube. “We are the Refugees! We are the Refugees!”
Don’t wait. DONATE NOW! Send your generous contributions to:
Tzvi Fishman, Founder and Executive President, the World Israeli Refugee Emergency Action Committee, Jerusalem.