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Aliyah for seniors

By David Lev
5/18/2014, 10:05 PM

Aliyah Time on Arutz Sheva will be focusing on Aliyah for seniors in this weeks show. There are compelling reasons to do so.

The early waves of modern settlers to the Land of Israel comprised mainly of young idealistic youth. The late 19th and early 20th centuries saw the birth of labour battalions centered around young men and women eager to make their own claim on what was to become the modern Jewish State of Israel. Indeed, we owe much to their gallant efforts, even if it did come at a high price in terms of religious observance and the creation of a more spiritually oriented majority, from which to build the Jewish Homeland. 

A firm basis was founded in terms of facts on the ground. It is an irony that the true settlers and pioneers of that generation included many socialists with strong left wing views. How times have changed?

To a smaller degree, the legacy from this initial thrust of manpower to Israel still remains within the collective Israeli psyche. Many settlements are managed by absorption committees that insist upon potential members belonging within a certain age range, with a healthy number of children included. A candid look at the more governmental bodies involved with Aliyah, will also show a marked prejudice in favor of younger and upwardly mobile newcomers. But does this truly reflect the will of the common people.

Israel is not a social experiment, and is a true conglomerate of a broad mix of different nationalities, cultures, and yes even age groups. More and more enlightened communities, settlements included, comprise of people across this broad spectrum, and feel better off for it. Yet above all, the Children of Israel is a family, albeit a rather extended one. It is within this regards that the role of senior members plays such an essential part.

At the most fundamental level of family, seniors are more than wanted, they are the genuine source of our shared communities. I recall being on active duty and feeling thankful for the resilience found in older folk who made us feel more like a nation of human beings, than just a war torn military society. However, these words only reflect our own needs to embrace the presence of our elders here in Israel. What of the needs and aspirations of such seniors themselves?

This week's show brings many issues associated with Aliyah for elders into sharp focus, and will continue to do so in future shows. However, the main point to digest is that a move to israel at any age reflects the Jewish soul being in its natural setting. It is no coincidence that Israel boasts a healthy aging population, Rather than retiring from life in the Jewish Homeland, there is a tendency to embrace all that it has to offer.

Together with Aliyah Magazine, we are proud to be campaigning for better opportunities for seniors coming to Israel. As our show will demonstrate, our culture is not about discarding the weak, elderly, sick or anyone else that doesn't quite fit a certain profile. To the contrary, catering for seniors to make Aliyah makes sense towards encouraging younger people to do so as well. After all, an excuse of caring for ones' family is a valid reason when considering the prospect of moving to Israel, older members as well. We hope to underline the fact that Aliyah for seniors is a great prospect for young and old alike.