Metulla Moti Shochat, Flash90

Ninth in Arutz Sheva's Aliya series.

I know who I am and know what I feel, believe and want. It was not always so. As I grew older, there was much I had to learn.

I was born in upstate New York and lived half my life between New Jersey and California, knowing little about my Jewish heritage. When I finished university and received my doctorate, I and my family moved to Israel for what I thought would be a two-year opportunity to teach, travel and experience new places.

The core unit of our society is the family and the bonds are strong.
I found something special in Israel. I reveled in being Jewish in a Jewish country. We live in harmony with nature as is written in the Bible. The whole country celebrates the New Year on Rosh Hashannah, freedom on Passover, the harvest on Succoth, we consider our deeds of the past year and ask for forgiveness on Yom Kippur, we remember our Temple that was a beacon for all of mankind for more than a thousand years, and live by the precepts that are the basis of western civilization. The core unit of our society is the family and the bonds are strong.

We celebrate our culture in music, art and drama. We have a superb philharmonic, opera and theater. Israel produces award winning TV series, movies and literature. The Israel Opera runs 10 series of 8-10 operas a year and is completely sold out (I am an opera fan). We have a dynamic hi-tech industry, a very advanced and innovative agriculture, fashion, music, and food industries. Our young people are talented, competitive, have opportunity and contribute greatly to our success.

Although a small country, we help other countries that suffer earthquakes, floods and natural disasters. It is done quietly without advertisement or quid pro quo as good deeds should be done. We treated wounded Syrians--soldiers and civilians and in time of war, have donated blood for our enemies. We have made peace with all those who we hoped truly want peace - or at least a cessation of war - such as Egypt and Jordan. When and if the Palestinian Arabs decide on peace, it will be concluded quickly.

We are home for all Jews and readily help all those who want or need to come. We have seen waves of immigration from Europe, Russia, Arab countries, Ethiopia, India, South America and the United States. During this corona pandemic, Israel sent planes to bring all our citizens home.

So, what is it like to make Aliya to Israel? Life here is different from that in the US. We all make a list of plusses and minuses for the factors that define our values and happiness. There are indeed some things that are easier in the US and some things that are far better here.

Israel is a safe country. You can walk at night without worry. We are not a violent country and when in need, we help each other. Food here is superb. Our army is strong. Ties with our Arab neighbors are strengthening. We would be happier with better politicians, but our country is doing well in a troubled world. We have had demonstrations: we demonstrated for peace, and we demonstrated when the price of cottage cheese rose (it was rescinded). Now we have demonstrated about the corona rules.

Some of our bureaucracy can make sane people cry. Yet, most interactions with the government proceed automatically via the internet. Our banks are modern although I am convinced they charge too much for their services especially since most is done by computer. (They disagree.)

Israelis at times complain a lot (mostly about politics), but the complaints mean that next year we will be better, and so I have observed every year.

Our children have opportunity and are the pride of our country. As their parents did, they serve their country and compete to join the best units.

Israel is a small country with a giant footprint and Jews all over the world are safer for our existence. We have a beautiful country and under great adversity have built a just and compassionate society. We have earned the admiration of much of the world.

Moving to Israel was the best decision of my life.

Richard D. Small lives in Metula. His PhD from Rutgers U. is in Aerospace Engineering. He taught at the Technion and UCLA before joining a California Think Tank as Director for Thermal Sciences. He was founder and President of Eastwind Research Corporation and as an expert on nuclear winter, was featured on 60 Minutes, as well as other media. His first novel, Elisheva's Diary, was published in the USA and reviewed on Arutz Sheva.