The Jewish majority in Israel/Palestine is threatened by reverse aliyah, the trend of Israelis with opportunities to leave that country for the west. Alex Beam at the Boston Globe reports on an Israeli gov’t campaign to guilt Israelis into moving back by putting up billboards in the Boston area.
The government has used many different incentives in its long-term program to reverse the “brain drain’’ of highly qualified citizens to Western Europe and the United States. This most recent campaign attempts to use a new tool: guilt. The message of the Cambridge billboard, which is reprised in several 30-second TV ads you can see at the website klita.gov.il, is that Israelis who linger too long in the diaspora risk losing their Jewish roots. In one of the ads, a family is Skyping their grandparents in Israel at Hanukkah, and the presumably assimilated daughter refers to the season as “Christmas.’’ A look of pain shoots across her grandparents’ faces….
There are 10,000 Israeli citizens in the Boston area and perhaps a million in the United States. Israel offers generous incentives, including 10 years of tax relief from overseas income or investment, Hebrew lessons for children – even 200 free cellphone minutes – to returnees…
Jonathan Sarna, professor of American Jewish history at Brandeis[:] “When Israel was created, it was declared that Jews could only be safe inside that homeland. But America challenges that, offering a place where Jews can live in equality with other people and not suffer from anti-Semitism.