Sunday, May 29, 2005

Regarding "Program to draw Diaspora youth kicks off today", Ha'Aretz, May 29, 2005: My first year in Israel I spent as a foreign exchange student. Still, I think that investing large amounts of money in attracting young Jews from abroad ( either through Masa or through Birthright ) is often a waste. Such investments will not stop the trend of Israel "losing the Jewish people", as long as these efforts are not linked to a serious attempt by the Israeli government, the Jewish Agency and other representatives of the Jewish state to make radical changes, returning to some of the truly Jewish values to which most of our founding fathers tried to be faithful. As long as the gap between Israel's rich and poor keeps growing, as long as the occupation seems to remain part and parcel of Zionism, and as long as corruption is not fought wholeheartedly, Israel will be viewed worldwide by all too many people - Jewish and non-Jewish - as some sort of 'orange republic' ( the Zionist version of a banana republic ). Only if we become an attractive alternative for educated Jewish youngsters who are planning their future, will these youngsters come here for more than just a subsidized holiday.

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