(This article was originally published by The Times of Israel on Feb. 7, 2015)
Over the last few months, with the increase of anti-semitism globally, there has been so much chatter over the internet asking the question –– Is the only safe place for Jews Israel?
I was fascinated in reading the discussions on various social media sites. A vast number of individuals who are Torah observant believe that Israel is only safe place for Jews, yet many of those who are from other movements of Judaism or who have stated they were unaffiliated, voiced concerns stating it was too dangerous to make aliyah (migrate to Israel). The names used in this article are pseudonyms, in hopes of protecting the true identities of those who responded.
Jonah Levin from Los Angeles believes that “if all Jews moved to Israel, we would be sitting ducks. It’s like rounding us all up on cattle cars of a train and shipping us off into a country that could be considered like a concentration camp”.Jill Schwartz from Chicago said she learned a great deal from watching movies growing up that had a holocaust theme. “Movies like the Sound of Music and Dr. Zhivago made me think. I personally believe we are much safer moving out to the countryside, much easier for us to hide. That is until we can join forces and organize –– like in the Russian resistance”.Rhonda Green from Pittsburg shared: “I remember during the time of the Golf War, I lived in Philadelphia. My sister lived in one of the far off suburbs. We had this conversation about what we would do if they were going to round up Jews. We came up with a plan where we would meet, before taking off to farmland. We figured we would be safer there then in the heart of the city and life would be safer for our kids.”Kevin Rosen from Toronto stated: I am a Canadian and I love my country. I also love Israel. I really don’t know what the right thing to is. I keep going over stories I heard from my grandfather, who’s family first went to the United States before going north to Canada. I keep asking myself, what was it that made my great-grandparents decide to leave in Russia in 1900? What was the last straw that made them sell every thing they owned and leave the only country they knew? I wish I knew the answer to that question.Robert Marcus from Boston, shared that he’s “not the kind of person who believes that Jews should run and hide, or go to Israel. I am one who believes that when good people help others, regardless of their racial or religious views, THAT is how the enemy can be defeated. Along with being armed, and this time never running away, but standing and fighting for our right to exist.”Suzanne Brooks of Baltimore, shared how much she loved Israel and her thoughts of one day making aliyah. Her concerns about migrating to Israel had to do with leaving her friends and family behind. “I don’t know what the correct thing to do is. What I do know is that I could not leave my family behind. My parents are elderly and there’s no way they would come with me if I made aliyah. I just couldn’t leave them behind.”
After reviewing all the responses and thinking about what I know about what happened during the pre-holocaust days, all I can say is there are no right or wrong answers to these very difficult questions. The responses are so hauntingly similar to the answers our people had to toy with over seventy years ago. Do I stay or do I go?