I bumped into to a couple of young men at the laundromat the other day. They had just finished their "Birthright" tour, and had extended their trip for another week or two.
I asked them if they were ready to come live here. Both said that they were enjoying their trip, but gave a rather strong "no" to my question. One, who identified himself as an "Orthodox Jew" said that he felt it was "very different here in Israel.
I suggested that perhaps some of those "differences" he noticed might actually be the preferred way for Jews to live, and that even in New York there was too much of a non-Jewish (Western) influence on what he saw as being Jewish.
Again, the answer was a strong "no."
He came back with,...well,...let's just say several sentences which included the word "money."
I then suggested that there were more important things in this world than money, albeit money is important. As a teacher, I made only one fourth of my California salary, paid the same amount in rent, yet had less money problems in Israel. Go figure.
He came back with how much easier he thought it was to live Jewishly in Broolyn than in Israel.
To this, my mouth dropped. Huh?
I countered each of the reasons he provided to support his claim with ease. But, he just did not want to hear it.
This guy was polite, but stubborn, yet he was not as defensive as one might think.
I introduced the, now cliche, "what about significantly cheaper cost of Jewish education in Israel?" argument.
Without missing a beat, he retorted, "You get what you pay for."
What I forgot to point out was how total strangers, like ourselves, strike up conversations, conversations which generally have more substance that the "weather and sports" conversations in America. But, I have no doubt that would be struck down by scenarios of the close commoradary within the Flatbush Jewish Community.
Probably the best thing I did was NOT to try to convince him. I knew I wouldn't be able to anyway, so why spoil a pleasant conversation? I maintained an attitude of just providing information. This was certainly not a Jew who was ready and willing to hear that it was a misswah for Jews to reside here. I did not even think of going that route. Yet, in retropect, perhaps it was a mistake for me not to proclaim this truth to him.
Now check out the video below (Tip Credit: Tomer Devorah). It was suggested that I watch the first five minutes. However, I suggest that you watch the entire video, and pay particular attention after time marker 4:35.
No doubt, I will be called an alarmist and/or conspiracy theorist. But, it's coming. There is no doubt about it. Actually, it's already here.
5:33 - "Whether we want to be involved in fighting Israel's wars in the future is something the Americans should be able to talk about. They may vote yes. They may want to see their kids killed in Iraq...." (Is that REALLY what they think??)
5:54 - "Israel has no strategic importance to the United States."
6:02 - "Israel's association with us is a negative for the United States.
And those are just the highlights.