Israeli gov’t warns Israelis in U.S. not to marry Americans but come home

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Wow this is great reporting at the Jewish Channel. They focus on the ad campaign sponsored by the Israeli gov’t (which we mentioned last week) which is aimed at getting back all the Israelis who have moved to the United States–as many as 2 million!

Watch the ads from the Ministry of Immigrant Absorption, between :25 and 2:40 — they’re cute, mostly, and in Hebrew, so I’m counting on the Jewish Channel’s translation. In one a dad doesn’t wake up when is son says Daddy over and over again, then he does wake up when the kid says “Abba.” The Israeli gov’t’s message: “They will always remain Israelis. Their children will not. Help them to return to Israel.”

Then there’s another one in which Israeli grandparents’ faces fall when their grandchild says on Skype that she’s celebrating Christmas.

The third ad is the craziest/most interesting. It suggests, says the Jewish Channel’s anchor, that “marrying American Jews could make Israelis lose their sense of identity.” [Update: Commenters have explained that the Jewish Channel’s translation is faulty, see Krauss and Shmuel translations below] In the ad, a couple comes home to an apartment and the girlfriend stares with grief at a computer screen, realizing it’s Israel’s annual day of remembrance for fallen soldiers. The boyfriend seems to be remonstrating with her. He doesn’t get it. The message, translates the anchor: “They will always remains Israelis, their partners won’t always understand what this means. Help them return to Israel.”

These are the same fears of assimilation that bedevilled the Jewish community inside America for decades. Some day I have to tell you the joke whose punchline is, As soon as I’m hanging up the phone I’m putting my head in the oven. (Mom to son who has announced he’s marrying non-Jew)

This issue is huge. John Mearsheimer first told me about it two years ago. Reverse aliyah, the marrow being sucked out of the Israeli miracle, by Israelis. No wonder the billboard version of these ads are in Palo Alto, Boston, L.A., New York. That’s where the software engineers and professors are. This brain drain is also cited fearfully by Bernard Avishai in his Harper’s piece– saying that only peace will bring the Israelis home.

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It’s often said that white guilt is being too ethnocentric while Jewish guilt is not being ethnocentric enough. Stereotypes exist because they sometimes hold grains of truth in them, as this report confirms.

Maybe If Israel was a nice place to bring up kids they could go home. Or even if it was safe they could go. i guess a lot of Israelis in Galut don’t want to live in a Haredi themepark run for settlers.

The classic joke is the one where an Orthodox Jewish girl tells her parents she’s marrying an American Indian, and they throw her out of the house and go into mourning. On a Thursday morning a year later, she returns, and says to her mother, “I know you don’t approve of my marriage, but I wanted you to know you have a grandson, and I gave him a Jewish name.” “Nu,” comes the reply, “and… Read more »

No wonder they’re keeping this under their hats – it’s truly desperate.

So let’s see, almost 1/3 of the population of “the only democracy in the Middle East™” a supposed economic miracle state – would rather live elsewhere.

What does this tell you…

What are Israeli expats- are they Israelis who have taken another citizenship? Because there are 7 people in my family who were born in or lived in Israel and had Israeli citizenship, but they haven’t lived in Israel for decades. The Israeli government forces my mom to get an Israeli passport when she wants to go back and visit because her country of birth is listed as Israel. Seriously, the father doesn’t respond to daddy???… Read more »