The Ingathering of Exiles Is Central to the Mission of the Jewish State

Sept. 2 2021

In a recent interview, Israel’s minister of Diaspora affairs, Nachman Shai, stated that he does not consider encouraging immigration to Israel as one of his goals. Gershon Hacohen responds, calling calling Shai’s statement a “negation of the essence and purpose of Zionism.”

Returning to the Land of Israel is a national-religious obligation, and also obliges the Jews who already live here. A state, like intimacy and love, . . . needs to be nurtured and regenerated daily. A state is in a constant process of establishment—especially the Jewish state, where the ingathering of the exiles is its “yearning, destiny, and mission,” [in the words of David Ben-Gurion]. Being strong and prosperous is not an end in itself; the Jewish state must be strong and prosperous in order to accomplish its fundamental mission and destiny.

It is not for nothing that the term aliyah—roughly meaning “ascent”—cannot be accurately translated, as it does not exist in any other language. [It] is not equivalent to “immigration.” The Hebrew word aliyah refers to one thing only: Jews coming to Israel. . . . This is the context in which Jewish immigration and emigration are defined: there is one and only homeland, and a Jew living anywhere else is outside it.

Even during the aliyah of Ezra and Nehemiah, in the early days of the Second Temple, most Jews chose to remain in the Babylonian exile. As the [traditional festival liturgy states], “Because of our sins we were exiled from our land and moved away from our land.” Jews [still] pray three times a day: “May a great shofar sound our freedom and act as a miracle to gather our dispersed people.”

Read more at BESA Center

More about: Aliyah, David Ben-Gurion, Ezra, Nehemiah, Zionism


Israel Is Courting Saudi Arabia by Confronting Iran

Most likely, it was the Israeli Air Force that attacked eastern Syria Monday night, apparently destroying a convoy carrying Iranian weapons. Yoav Limor comments:

Israel reportedly carried out 32 attacks in Syria in 2022, and since early 2023 it has already struck 25 times in the country—at the very least. . . . The Iranian-Israeli clash stands out in the wake of the dramatic events in the region, chiefly among them is the effort to strike a normalization deal between Israel and Saudi Arabia, and later on with various other Muslim-Sunni states. Iran is trying to torpedo this process and has even publicly warned Saudi Arabia not to “gamble on a losing horse” because Israel’s demise is near. Riyadh is unlikely to heed that demand, for its own reasons.

Despite the thaw in relations between the kingdom and the Islamic Republic—including the exchange of ambassadors—the Saudis remain very suspicious of the Iranians. A strategic manifestation of that is that Riyadh is trying to forge a defense pact with the U.S.; a tactical manifestation took place this week when Saudi soccer players refused to play a match in Iran because of a bust of the former Revolutionary Guard commander Qassem Suleimani, [a master terrorist whose militias have wreaked havoc throughout the Middle East, including within Saudi borders].

Of course, Israel is trying to bring Saudi Arabia into its orbit and to create a strong common front against Iran. The attack in Syria is ostensibly unrelated to the normalization process and is meant to prevent the terrorists on Israel’s northern border from laying their hands on sophisticated arms, but it nevertheless serves as a clear reminder for Riyadh that it must not scale back its fight against the constant danger posed by Iran.

Read more at Israel Hayom

More about: Iran, Israeli Security, Saudi Arabia, Syria