The Pittsburgh Synagogue Massacre is also Israel’s Responsibility
The shocking massacre of the Jews in Pittsburgh sends us back to dark times that we wanted to think were a thing of the past. Names like Kishinev and Kielce come back to haunt us. This is not just another psycho who decided to murder random people. This despicable man wanted to murder Jews – our brothers and sisters.
I commend Minister of Diaspora Affairs Bennett for travelling to Pittsburgh. Our solidarity with the Jews in the Diaspora needs upkeep. Our founding fathers in Israel were still bound to their families who remained in exile. Over the generations, that bond blurred and was eventually based on the donations of western Jews to Israel or Israel’s attempts to rescue Jews from eastern countries. Today, the donations of western Jews are not very significant in wealthy Israel and eastern Jews are free to leave their host countries as they please. It seems as though the third and fourth generations of Israelis here and Jews there do not really care very much about each other. And that is bad. Very bad.
It is bad because our historic roles have reversed. It is not the Jews of the exile who uphold the small Jewish settlement in the Land of Israel, but just the opposite. Israel is the only horizon for the future of the Jews of the Diaspora. In other words, in the relationship between Israel and the Diaspora, today Israel is the responsible adult and all that happens to the Jews and Judaism there is directly influenced by what we cook up here.
If Jews were murdered in Pittsburgh, we have a certain measure of responsibility. First of all, because of the simple, technical reason that 70 years have passed since Israel was established - and we have excellent economic potential that we have not yet managed to translate into the average citizen’s feeling of abundance. On the contrary. Despite our economic progress, young Israelis feel more and more strangled and many of them dream of “relocation” and leave Israel.
In Pittsburgh, Jews who should have been here were murdered. But they didn’t even dream of Aliyah because Israel is simply not attractive – even though it certainly could be. For those who think that ideology must be the motivating factor for Aliyah and wonder how I could mention a material reason to come to Israel, please ask yourselves why, since the first days of Zionism, all the waves of immigration came from centralized states, while it was only the idealists who came from the free-market states. And they were relatively few. Furthermore, our Father in Heaven promised us a “Land flowing with milk and honey”, so there is no real contradiction between material and spiritual abundance.
But there is something more, deeper than the economic factor, which makes us partially responsible for what happened in Pittsburgh. Jewish history is being written today in the Land of Israel. It is clear to all of us that anti-Israel sentiments are the new expression of Anti-Semitism. When Israel is sure of itself, strikes its enemies as it did in the Six Day War, eliminates the hijackers as in Entebbe - the level of anti-Semitism decreases!!! And when Israel displays lack of self-assurance, temporariness, moral flaccidity – a feeling that we are not really on the map, that we are nothing more than colonialists acting only for the sake of self-defense, begging the Hamas for a cease-fire – then our enemies feel that they are just and anti-Semitism flourishes.