I have lived here in Israel for 5 years now and people still see me as a spoiled American. It is a title you simply can’t get rid of very quickly. Maybe it is because they are correct. Most Americans I know living in Israel, still try to live a bit more of an elite lifestyle. Usually though, after a few years in Israel, reality sets in and the American usually becomes poorer then their Israeli friends because they don’t know how to live such a simple life.
Then there is their general opinion of Americans abroad. They think, “These people are totally rich and spoiled through and through. Living in their large houses and fancy cars without violence around them. Who are these people to give their opinion on the future of Israel and the people here? What do they know? They have never lived a difficult day in their life”. This is the general opinion of Americans here.
If you understood how really, simply life is in Israel, you would understand that their opinion is not so far fetched. For instance, the Israeli bathroom stall is so small that when you go in, you almost fall head first into the water when closing the door. Most people don’t have light fixtures as, why bother when you can just screw a bulb into a plain socket. I have never seen wall to wall carpeting here. In fact, I can’t think of anyone but my family that even owns a rug. The average car engine is 1.6 liter and there are few suv’s. So I think we can pretty much say, “Israelis are not after living in comfort or style”.
When it comes to Rebbes and Rabbis, if you mention famous American Rosh HaYeshivas to an Israeli Kollel, Yeshiva man, he will have heard of few of them. This is a country that just had the Gadal Hador, Rav Shach in their midst’s. The greatest minds in the world are here living in Israel. Why would we seek the opinion of those outside the holy land? I am not saying this is true but rather showing you the mindset of most Israelis. It is quite understandable considering the total dedication and daily self-sacrifice it takes to live here. The Rabbi’s living in Israel are also very strict in their opinions of halacha.
So finally, when it comes to the future of land for peace and other issues, the first thought of the Israeli is, let us figure it out. We are the ones living here and struggling while you live in your fancy houses.
Unfortunately, Americans are fighting back. People are giving less and less charity to the holy land. Yeshivas and institutions have been closing down for years. Recently in newspapers, you see articles of fellow Jews being upset at the vast number of Israeli’s collecting charity in their neighborhoods. Many Americans don’t want to support Israel anymore.
The fact is that the Israeli’s don’t realize that Americans struggle also in their own way. Americans on the other hand do not realize the true appreciation they should have for Israelis and the importance of supporting them with oversees Jobs and charity. Every Synagogue in the USA has a responsibility to have a charity fund that they send to Israeli institutions and poor. More and more families are struggling for basic necessities people in other countries take for granted. Sitting in my room with stone walls and a one room heater, I gota take the Israeli side. You just arent spoiled living in Israel with anything but Kedusha, holiness. It is simply a harder life and a more fruitful one. This is why the Zohar says, “A person living in Israel is reincarnated 40 years before those abroad.” Because they are volentarily taking on suffering on behalf of the Jewish people.
(This is not a discusion on zionism. In no way do I consider any of the above a zionistic approach. I do not believe everyone should live in Israel. I am simply staiting the facts of life in the holy land)
Tzfat Poor Donations