We have tremendous admiration and appreciation for the dozens of organizations working to rescue Jews from Ukraine. Words cannot express our wonder at their courage, dedication, care and heroism. But on one issue, we cannot be silent.
Various representatives of these aid organizations have made declarations in the media, such as “We will soon return to Ukraine and reestablish the Jewish communities that existed.” In addition, there are those seeking to direct Jewish refugees to Poland or Germany.
It seems that the State of Israel, with its emissaries and organizations, has forgotten its primary role, which is to constitute a focal point for the ingathering of the exiles of the Jewish people.
So we ask: Why declare the aspiration to repatriate Jews to Ukraine? Why send Jews to Germany or Poland? Why strive to reestablish communities in the Diaspora when their real home is the Land of Israel?
After 1948, the term “Jewish refugee” should not be used, since every Jew has a home!
It is incumbent upon the rescue organizations to strive to bring all Jews to the Land of Israel and ensure a secure Jewish future for them and their families. We are well aware of shocking global assimilation statistics and know that outside the Land of Israel, even in friendly countries, there is no future for the Jews.
Beyond concern for the personal future of Ukrainian Jews, moreover, an effort to bring them to Israel is a necessity for the Jewish state itself, a country that continues to exist under demographic threat and must increase the number of Jews in it.
The call to return Ukrainian Jewish refugees to Israel is thus beneficial and essential to both parties.
We will cite here the words of a friend who, approximately 30 years ago, served as a shaliach, an emissary, during the time he was the principal of a Jewish school in one of the large communities in Europe. He was asked what his vision was for the school. His answer was clear: that the school would close in 15 years because all the students and their parents had made aliyah to the Land of Israel. Thanks to that school principal and his clear worldview, dozens of families did exactly that.
This is the true role of a shaliach: To encourage and work toward the aliyah of all Jews to their land.
For some reason, in recent years, an erroneous and dangerous perception has taken hold that the role of shlichim is to develop, increase and perpetuate Jewish communities abroad. But the historical and moral role and mission of the State of Israel is not to be a distant and unrealized vision, but to serve as an actual home for all world Jewry.
It appears, however, that the shlichim of the State of Israel are afraid to articulate the call to the Jews of the Diaspora: “Come home. The Land of Israel belongs to you and you belong to it.” Instead, they are busy preserving Judaism overseas. That is not why the State of Israel, which sent them on their mission, was established.
It is incumbent upon us to internalize the significance of the hour. A horrific human tragedy is transpiring in Ukraine, but latent in that tragedy is another opportunity provided by G-d to gather the dispersed of Israel to their land.
This is the moment to proclaim in a loud voice to all Jews, wherever they may be: “Come home.”
It is time to condemn the Exile and unashamedly warn people about it, without succumbing to the dictates of the politically correct and the efforts of organizations rich with foreign capital that seek to dilute the Jewish identity of the State of Israel.
This is the time to return to the true Jewish-Zionist vision.
We have the ability to bring another quarter of a million Jews to the Land of Israel now, as part of a Jewish immigration drive that will bring many more good and beloved Jewish brothers and sisters from all over the world.
“If you will it, it is no dream,” said Theodor Herzl. It is our duty to will it and to take action!
Yehudit Katsover and Nadia Matar are co-chairs of the Sovereignty Movement founded by Women in Green.