Photo Credit: Akiva Shainberger
Amichai Chikli, Israel’s Minister of Diaspora Affairs and Minister for Combating Antisemitism and Social Equality holds a Kfar Chabad etrog.

Dear Minister of Diaspora Affairs, Amichai Chikli:

In the name of many veteran olim from the West who are now Aliyah activists, we wish you great success in the critical challenge before you. However, success can only be attained by not continuing with the same ill-conceived and ineffective policies which have characterized the Ministry of Diaspora Affairs in the past.


In our humble opinion, the greatest mistake has been in ignoring the clear guidance of the Torah, as if the words of our Prophets were no longer a part of the Jewish Narrative. Allow us to explain.

The Torah and the Prophets of Israel state with crystal clear clarity, again and again, that the Diaspora is a curse and a punishment. In the Torah, Exile is equated with a terrible and frightening disease.

The language is brutal and horrific, leaving no room for misunderstanding. Exile from Eretz Yisrael is the worst punishment that can befall the Jewish People. A few hundred years ago the Gaon of Vilna re-echoed the words of the Prophet Ezekiel when he warned that the Exile was a graveyard for the Jewish People, urging his students to set forth and settle the Land of Israel, saying that only there could a refuge be found.

Given this terrible predicament, the task of Diaspora Jewry was to prepare the scattered and wandering Jews for the awaited return to the Land of Israel. The goal of the ingathering to Zion is emphasized in the Torah and in the visions of our Prophets more than any other theme. For nearly 2000 years we prayed and dreamed about returning to our Homeland. “Next year in Jerusalem” was our national yearning.

Then something went terribly wrong.

When the State of Israel was established and we finally had the chance to return home to our Homeland, the vast majority of Jewish communities in the West turned their backs on the opportunity. In America and Western Europe, for example, instead of wanting to escape the Exile, the Jews chose to stay and strengthen their Diaspora communities. In defiance of the clear promises of the Torah, the Prophets, and 2000 years of prayers and dreams, and in defiance of the clearly discernable fact that Hashem was gathering the outcasts back to Zion and miraculously rebuilding the State of Israel into one of the superpowers of the world, the Diaspora communities in the West decided to remain in alien countries where life seemed good. Instead of rushing to rebuild Israel and take a part in the long-awaited Redemption, the Jewish leaders and Jewish educators of the Diaspora called for the strengthening of their bastions in galut.

Yes, with their money, the Jews of North America and Western Europe and Australia and Mexico helped the young Jewish State. Out of love for our Homeland and concern for the Jews who were rebuilding it, they reached deep into their pockets and contributed to the task. They exerted political pressure on Israel’s behalf. But in the matter of coming themselves, by and large, they failed to heed the call of return.

As a result of their failure to return to the State of Israel, assimilation in Western countries has steadily skyrocketed, now reaching 70 percent in America. Nothing can stop it. The very energetic Chabad organization has been trying for decades to stem the silent Holocaust – to no avail. All of the programs of Jewish Education of the Ministry of the Diaspora and the Jewish Agency have failed. All attempts to strengthen Jewish Identity and to strengthen Jewish communities in the Diaspora have brought dismal results as well. Assimilation is soaring all over the Jewish world except for Israel.

The simple reason is – the G-d of Israel does not want His children in foreign Gentile lands. Ever since He created Medinat Yisrael through the exalted valor and willingness for sacrifice of the early pioneers, both secular and religious, there is no longer any reason to continue the curse of Galut where assimilation and anti-Semitism is increasing each day, as everyone clearly sees.

Therefore, Mr. Chikli, the thrust of the Ministry of Diaspora Affairs must be NOT TO CONTINUE to strengthen the Diaspora but rather, in the words of Ze’ev Jabotinsky, “To liquidate the Exile before the Exile liquidates you.” The solution to saving our endangered brothers and sisters is not to increase more of the same futile programs of “Jewish Education” or to waste more countless millions on useless efforts to foster “Jewish Identity” in non-Jewish lands.

All programs of Israel-Diaspora relations must place the emphasis on Aliyah – and not for example on strengthening Diaspora communities in the Diaspora. The goal of all educational programs must be Aliyah directed. All workshops and publications on Jewish Identity must place the Land of Israel at the center of Jewish Life. It must be made clear that the only future for the Jewish People is in Eretz Yisrael.

You, along with the new Minister of Aliyah, and the Prime Minister and the newly-inaugurated Government of Israel must loudly and unabashedly proclaim that the Promised Land is our one-and-only haven and home and not merely a place for a ten-day vacation.

A representative group of veteran olim is ready to meet with you to further discuss this crucial issue. Be strong and courageous in your work for our Nation by helping to bring our People home to our eternal and cherished Land.


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Tzvi Fishman was awarded the Israel Ministry of Education Prize for Creativity and Jewish Culture for his novel "Tevye in the Promised Land." A wide selection of his books are available at Amazon. His recent movie "Stories of Rebbe Nachman" The DVD of the movie is available online.