While I was busy with the Slug Wars (update: 2 nights of hunting and I haven’t seen any more slugs. Yay!), I missed a Fake News story relevant to me. The Times of Israel did an exposé on how the Ministry of Absorption was posting fake aliyah stories on social media using stock photos and made up quotes.
The ministry shoved the blame onto a third-party external vendor and took down all the posts revealed to be made up. In short, sloppy and lazy work.
The main joke making the rounds was that they just couldn’t find any happy immigrants in Israel. The thing is that we are a complain-y people, so there’s probably some truth to that. (Best example is the Israelites freed from slavery who still have plenty to complain about and want to go back to slavery because it’s easier.)
Israel has dumb bureaucracy, corruption at the highest levels of government, bad drivers, poor customer service, low incomes with a high cost of living, a revived-from-the-dead zombie language written with no vowels, and mean neighbors.
And yet. Some of us would still rather be here than anywhere else.
Israel was originally revived as a shelter for Jews with no where else to go. Jews kicked around Europe or out of Arab countries and victims of persecution around the world could finally come home.
You have some Jews who live in Israel to fulfill their part of the contract God made with Abraham. The contract has been handed down for thousands of years as a scroll and every week small sections are read until you get through the whole thing and then start over. It’s commonly referred to as the Torah. Talk about carefully reading through your contract!
For decades, the country was built, brick by brick, idea by idea, until it became a start-up nation, a defensive force protecting all the Jews of the world, and a helping hand for all people struggling after natural disasters.
Today aliyah is called “Aliyah by Choice.” Yes. Living in Israel is hard, but I like the rhythms of life here. Take a break from the world once a week. Take the Jewish holidays off without having to use personal days and explaining why Yom Kippur is important to you even if you don’t fast.
Your nosy neighbor isn’t just a busybody (well, maybe), but he or she cares about the neighborhood and everyone in it. Everyone shares joys. Everyone shares sorrows.
History is embedded in the earth and everywhere you step has some story behind it – a story that could be thousands of years old, a few decades old, or a funny anecdote from last week.
Personally, I don’t think you can market aliyah. Every person’s aliyah story is unique and meaningful, but may not inspire someone else. And the reasons may not be instagram-able. As long as the reasons still resonate, each immigrant continues to choose to be here.
Ministry of Absorption, why did you have to lie? It makes all of us look bad.