Jewish Journal

An open letter to our Olim

by Noga Gur-Arieh

August 28, 2013 | 12:53 pm

"They heard all about BDS, they are aware of the threats coming from terror groups surrounding us, they can feel the heat, and yet, they smile."

Summer in Israel is a time of reflection. In summer time, many of us fly away to our desired destinations overseas while the rest sit in front of their television, carefully considering every departure from the air-condition. It doesn't matter what group you are part of, you will wind up reflecting your life here, in this small yet well-known and coveted piece of land. You would ask yourself time and time again why are you still an Israeli citizen, and haven't the Jewish people suffered enough that they need to suffer from scalding heat, the constant threats from Israel's neighbors and flares of hate with every call for boycott.

True, Israel is a modern, democratic state, with beautiful beaches, crazy nightlife, breathtaking scenery, fascinating history and kind and warm people, but other places also have all of that, and their citizens actually get to enjoy the silence every once in a while. Summer is when we look at ourselves and at each other and can't really understand why we are not packing and leaving already?! Why are we not someplace else, drama-free? Then, a minute before we make up our minds (or decide to keep suffering quietly like other good Jews do,) we witness a revelation! Planes packed with young Jewish people, landing here, prepared to settle and become a part of our nation. Those people were not born here, and they weren't forced to come. They chose to leave a life of comfort behind them and come here.  They heard all about BDS, they are aware of the threats coming from terror groups surrounding us, they can feel the heat, and yet, they smile.

You can sense their heart beats even from a distance and can see the excitement on their faces. At first, you raise your eyebrow and let go a smirk, but then, you get excited, too. You look at them, amazed, and have nothing but admiration in your heart for them.  Making Aliyah is a life altering decision and the Olim, Israel's newest residents are people I look up to. Their choice of leaving everything behind for this place is something us, native Israelis, will never be able to fully comprehend. This place has been my home from the minute I was born, and a longing for Israel is therefore beyond my understanding.

That is why meeting recent Olim is like witnessing a real-time magic. They somehow shine a light upon Israel, turning this small troubled piece of land into Neverland, or Oz or the Magic Kingdom- you name it. And by doing that, not only they get to live their dream, they also make us realize just how lucky we are to be born into that dream. Dear Olim, thank you for helping me see the beauty of my home, every single time, and thank you for making our county a better place!

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My name is Noga Gur-Arieh, and I’m an Israeli Journalist, currently studying for my B.A degree in Media and Political Science, at Tel Aviv University.

I am very socially...

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