The Netanyahu government’s Ministry of Immigrant Absorption is sponsoring advertisements in at least five American communities that warn Israeli expatriates that they will lose their identities if they don’t return home.
[…] The narrator says, in essence, “they will never understand what it means to be Israeli.” The narration leaves no room for the possibility that “Dafna,” the Israeli girlfriend, could explain to the Josh-character (my name for him, though it could be Jeremy as well) why she’s sad on Memorial Day.
[…] These government-sponsored ads suggest that it is impossible for Jews to remain Jewish in America. How else are we supposed to understand the “Christmas” ad? Obviously, assimilation and intermarriage are issues in America in ways they aren’t in Israel. Israel has other problems of course, such as the fact that many of its rabbis act like Iranian mullahs. (I’m not even going to try to unpack my complicated beliefs about intermarriage and assimilation and life in the Diaspora here; that’s for a book. But let me just say that intermarriage can also be understood as an opportunity.)
The idea, communicated in these ads, that America is no place for a proper Jew, and that a Jew who is concerned about the Jewish future should live in Israel, is archaic, and also chutzpadik (if you don’t mind me resorting to the vernacular). The message is: Dear American Jews, thank you for lobbying for American defense aid (and what a great show you put on at the AIPAC convention every year!) but, please, stay away from our sons and daughters.
The Atlantic, Jeffrey Goldberg: “Netanyahu Government Suggests Israelis Avoid Marrying American Jews”.
The fact that many Israelis have left the Jewish state to find new homes and opportunities in the United States has long been a source of tension for Jerusalem. In the past, some Israeli leaders, such as the late Yitzhak Rabin, castigated emigrants as being little better than traitors. Attempts to shame them into returning failed as have more recent efforts aimed at enticing the yordim (as they are known in Hebrew) with more positive messages.
[…] It’s one thing for Israel to try and convince expats to come home lest they assimilate into a foreign culture. It’s quite another to send a message that hooking up with an American Jew will cause them to lose their secular Israeli identity. It’s true that many expats view themselves more as Israelis rather than Jews and fear losing their connection with the Hebrew language and the secular culture of the state more than ties with their nominal religion. But a message that seems to reinforce the notion that Israelis and American Jews have nothing in common runs contrary to the whole concept of Zionism, let alone traditional Judaism, and not to mention the political needs of a country that relies heavily on American Jewish support.
Commentary Magazine, Jonathan S. Tobin: “Israel Ad Campaign Targeting Expats Raises Troubling Questions of Identity”.
Le problème auquel fait face le gouvernement israélien, c’est l’émigration massive, principalement vers les États-Unis avec environ 600 000 citoyens qui y sont établis. Depuis 2003, la balance migratoire est proche de 0, voire négative (les chiffres exacts de l’émigration sont toujours sujets à caution). Seuls deux tiers des immigrants sont Juifs, et beaucoup sont âgés. Les émigrants sont principalement de jeunes Juifs d’une éducation supérieure, volontiers cosmopolites. Cette balance combinée à la pression démographique arabe pourrait menacer à moyen terme l’identité de l’État. La perspective de nouvelle “aliyah” massive est nulle. D’où ces campagnes d’incitation au retour, parfois maladroites.