“Now Hashem said unto Avram: ‘Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto the land that I will show thee.” Genesis 12:1 (The Israel Bible™)
There is not one country in the world that is not affected, either directly or indirectly, by terrorism and war. However of all places, we know that it has hit the Middle East the hardest. Radical shifts of foundational plates such as politics, government, and economy in the Middle East has collapsed the once-flourishing modern cities that sustained millions of people. This has naturally decreased the flow of people traveling to the Middle East, and furthermore, created an equally natural overflow of displaced civilians fleeing the conflict of the Middle East as refugees. It is a natural reaction of the human being to avoid the mental and psychological distress of such conflict areas.
However, in the midst of these events, there is a strange yet unnatural movement that brings us to a question. It is the unnatural upstream flow of the most strangest phenomenon; Westerners migrating to the Middle East in the midst of the war and instability.
By ‘Westerners’ I mean they are well-educated, from professional backgrounds, from Europe and America, they are not refugees, and definitely they are not rash people in their twenties searching for some thrill or adventure in the Middle East. They are stable families leaving the West and coming into the Middle East to settle there permanently. It is the constant and increasing flow of the Jewish descendants who were once uprooted from their place of origin returning, against the natural tide of the flow, to their birthplace to settle in that small land in the Middle East, permanently.
The question that comes to my mind is, ‘Why the pain of living in such a place?,’ ‘Why this small land in the Middle East?,’ ‘Of all places, why couldn’t it be far away from its neighboring countries that seem determined to never acknowledge her and will only harbor hatred for her?’ That is the best my natural mind can understand in its search for understanding this phenomenon.
Constantly threatened by its surrounding nations and hit by terror on a day-to-day basis does not really sound like the dream land that anyone, that even persons from Syria or Afghanistan and especially no educated ‘Western’ mind, will want to immigrate to, yet the numbers making aliyah to Israel seems to be increasing year by year and decade by decade.
A common mistake that many people make in their view of Israel is that they think of Israelis as Middle Eastern. However, a point that we miss out is that actually, many Israelis played major roles in Western modernization. They were very involved in the westernization of the West. We don’t realise that a lot of the technology, industry and medical instruments we use today were conceived by Jewish minds. These ‘Westerns’ returned as diaspora to their motherland.
Israeli diaspora from the West, left behind everything to immigrate to Israel, to defend and protect Israel, to develop and cultivate it; to give it life. What is the percentage of diaspora leaving the West to return to their motherland, especially with the motive of developing it? Perhaps there can be one and two, but can there be so many?
I believe that only true love for one’s native land can be the motive for such sacrifice and endurance chosen by so many of it’s people.
The salmon, which is born in fresh water and migrates to the sea, swims upstream back to fresh waters as an adult. It returns to its birthplace and place of origin fighting the adverse torrents of the downstream flow in order to give life.
What is human discernment and reasoning in making an understanding judgment of the salmon’s actions. Our human minds will not understand the salmon’s actions. However, perhaps, it is doing what is most natural for it to do.
There is an old story of King Solomon’s wisdom. King Solomon was faced with the task of administering justice to two women who had born children. One woman had accidentally killed her own child in her sleep and during the night switched her dead child for the living child of another woman. The two women both implored that the living child was theirs but there was no way for the King to prove the truth. So, King Solomon devised a plan that would be “fair” and “just” to both woman, to cut the child in half so that both would have an equal half of the dead child. It was a naturally fair response to a conflict that seemed impossible to solve. Their reactions are thus recorded:
‘The woman whose son was alive was deeply moved out of love for her son and said to the king, “Please, my lord, give her the living baby! Don’t kill him!”
But the other said, “Neither I nor you shall have him. Cut him in two!”’
The story concludes with King Solomon having the child returned to the woman who wanted life for her child over the woman who wanted death for the child. He was able to administer justice in his courts by seeing the true hearts of the women that was revealed in their reaction to the life or death of the child.
The natural response of the true mother was immediately life. It was not a question to even think twice that her child might not know his true mother. It was not a question or shame to consider that the world might not know him to be her true son. She was content at that time to see him grow through the years, from season to season through her window. She would have cared for him in secret by bringing him clothes and food. Maybe one day somewhere in the future, the son would have come to know who his true mother was.
Israel, we know, has given its life to defend its land and protect its people so that its land would have life.