October 15, 2018

Don’t Mention Zionism to These Olim

“For left-wing Jews, Israel can seem a very unwelcome and daunting place these days. Indeed, the number of them being detained and interrogated at points of entry into the country is growing steadily. Pulled aside at the border, they are questioned about their political views, their participation in protest movements, their visits to the West Bank, and their contacts with organizations and individuals critical of the government. The message is clear: If you don’t support the current Israeli government, you are not wanted here.

And yet some of these left-wing Jews not only refuse to be deterred, but have resolved that now, of all times, they wish to take advantage of the Law of Return – which allows Jews anywhere around the world to immigrate to Israel and take up citizenship.

The best-known example is Julie Weinberg-Connors, a young American Jew planning to study in Israel, who made headlines two weeks ago when she was detained at Ben-Gurion International Airport and questioned about her political activities and views.

Who are these Jews driven to make Israel their home knowing that they are not exactly wanted? Based on conversations with close to a dozen of them – some preferred not to have their names published out of concern that it could jeopardize their chances of being approved for aliyah (literally “moving up,” the Hebrew word for immigration) – these are not your typical English-speaking immigrants of the 1960s and ’70s.”

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