The shocking massacre of 11 Jews in Pittsburgh reminded us of dark times we wanted to think were a thing of the past. This wasn’t just a psycho who murdered random people. This despicable man wanted to murder Jews – our brothers and sisters.
I commend Minister of Diaspora Affairs Bennett for traveling to Pittsburgh. Our solidarity with Jews in the Diaspora needs upkeep. The founding generation of Israel was still bound to their families who remained in exile. Over the generations, though, our bond with the Diaspora blurred and was eventually based on the donations of Western Jews or Israel’s attempts to rescue Jews from Eastern countries.
Today, donations from Western Jews are not very significant in wealthy Israel and Eastern Jews are free to leave their host countries as they please. Third- and fourth-generations Israelis do not care very much about Diaspora Jews. And that is bad. Very bad.
It’s bad because our historic roles have reversed. The Jews of the exile no longer uphold a Jewish settlement in the Land of Israel. Today, Israel sustains the Diaspora. Israel is the only horizon for Diaspora Jews. In other words, in the relationship between Israel and the Diaspora, Israel today is the responsible adult, and all that happens to Jews and Judaism around the world is directly influenced by what we cook up here.
If Jews were murdered in Pittsburgh, we bear a certain measure of responsibility. How so? First, although our economic potential is excellent, the average young Israeli feels increasingly strangled, with many of them dreaming of leaving Israel. In Pittsburgh, Jews who should have been here in Israel were murdered. But they didn’t even dream of aliyah because Israel is simply not attractive from an economic standpoint.
For those who think ideology must be the motivating factor for aliyah and wonder how I can even mention a material factor, please ask yourselves why, since the first days of Zionism, all the waves of immigration came from centralized states while only idealists (and the number of these was not high) came from free-market states. 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 deeper that makes us partially responsible for what happened in Pittsburgh. Jewish history is being written today in the Land of Israel, and when Israel is sure of itself – when it strikes its enemies as it did in the Six-Day War or eliminates hijackers as it did in Entebbe – the level of anti-Semitism around the world decreases!
Conversely, when Israel displays lack of self-assurance and moral flaccidity – conveying a feeling that we are nothing more than colonialists acting in self-defense, begging Hamas for a cease-fire – our enemies feel they are just, and anti-Semitism around the world flourishes.