Leaving Israel is parents' moral obligation
ניתן לקרוא את המאמר גם בשפה העברית כאן.
First things first: if you're religious, a settler, or a nationalist, then this essay is not for you. Go vote for Bibi, hate Arabs, and wait four hours between meat and milk. We have nothing to talk about, and never have.
One more thing: I'm not Oprah Winfrey. I'm not trying to make you feel better about yourself or to tell you things will be fine. They won't, and its time for you to acknowledge it.
Now, if you're secular, educated, and not brainwashed by nationalist propaganda, and if you have children, then let's talk. I want to talk to you about your children's future. I want to tell you that being a good parent is more than just providing food and shelter, tucking them in at night and teaching them to read and add. Being a good parent is also thinking about the future, about what kind of country they'll be living in, about what opportunities they'll have—or won't.
The mother antelope understands that it's not enough for her to feed her babies; she must also make sure that the tiger next door doesn't have them for lunch tomorrow. It is time for you, the Israeli parent, to develop the same healthy instincts and forward thinking of the mother antelope. Think ahead, and tell me: what kind of country do yo think your children will grow up in? What kind of country do they live in now? What kind of society will they inherit? What kind of life will they have? Don't tell me you're too busy making a living and changing diapers to be thinking about these metaphysical questions. These are not philosophical questions but questions of life and death—literally. If you can't see the warning signs, then you're blind. If you can see them and ignore them nonetheless, then you're reckless.
Oh, he's being too dramatic, you're thinking to yourself. Things aren't that bad here, after all. My kid has food on the table, he sees a doctor when he needs to, and he goes to school every day. So what if they teach him there that the Bible is a historical fact and that dying for your country is an honor and that God promised us this land 5,000 years ago? What's the harm? At least he's learning some math and English, too.
But eventually he'll graduate, and “join” the military. Of course he won't actually join it; the military will force him into slavery, which he would only able to avoid by going to prison. Yes, you heard me correctly: you kid will be a slave. Call it whatever you like—conscription, draft, national service, whatever—but forcing a person to be somewhere and do something against his will is slavery. And when your son reaches eighteen, he will be a slave for three years. And not just a slave who does work in the field and sleeps in a hut, but the worst kind of slave, the one who is constantly brainwashed and follows orders and kills. The kind of slave who may one day come back home in a coffin wrapped in a flag.
And he wouldn't die for a “good cause”. He would die so that the psychopaths in the government can wage war, so bloodthirsty generals can feel that their lives have a meaning. He'll die to protect settlers from their Palestinian victims. And it will all be your fault. Yes, yours. Because you could have saved him. You could have left that country for another, one where there is no conscription and no wars and where not all politicians are ex-generals. Your refusal to act when you had the chance will get your child killed.
Or maybe he'll be lucky and only lose an eye or a leg. Or maybe he'll just be brainwashed by a sadistic “rasar” whose mental impotence forces him to humiliate others to feel good about himself. Or maybe he'll just have to live with himself knowing that he gave the most important years of his life to protect settlers, so they can pray 15 a hours a day in Qiryat Arba. Aye, lucky him!
And then what? Then he'll go to college and get a job and realize that he has to work for fifty years to afford a small apartment in Rosh Haayin. He'll pay most of his salary in taxes so that the generals could build an even bigger and badder military and the haredim could read the talmud for the fifty-thousandth time at his expense. If he wants to marry, he'd have to go to the rabanut and humiliate himself in front of a primate with a beard, and your daughter-in-law would have to plunge into a mikveh to prove to a peering matron that she is pure enough for the nuptials.
If you think there's a lot of religious coercion now, just wait. The religious are multiplying like oysters, and in 20-30 years they'll crush anyone who doesn't play along with their brand of psycho-judaism. Already you can't drive through parts of Jerusalem without being pelted with stones by Judeo-terrorists. Already you can't buy hamets in Passover or marry in a secular wedding or go to the supermarket on Saturday. Already you pay a good chunk of your salary in taxes so that “bahurey yeshiva” can learn that you're a goy and a mityaven because you ate a piece of ham. What will happen when they are the majority?
By the time your son is an adult, the religious Jews will have so mush power that all those stories you heard about Iran and Afghanistan and other places will not seem so distant any more. After all, we are a Jewish state, and is it that much to ask that you refrain from driving on Saturday, or from eating real meat instead of the sludge they call kosher, or from watching a movie on Tisha Be'av or Tzom Gdalyah or Ta'anit Ester or Mahzor Leah or Yagon Shlomo or some other torture the maniacs have invented for you?
And with the population constantly growing, you can only imagine what will happen to the cost of real estate. Already it's almost impossible to buy an apartment in this country. What will happen in a decade or so? If you stay in Israel, your son is condemned to rent until he dies, because only the rich and the religious can afford to buy a home in the Holy Land.
But it's all okay. Eventually, your children will learn to adapt, and they too will become those old, bitter, miserable Israelis who bitch about how disgusting the country is and how they should have left long ago but now it's too late. They'll have their small social security check and some subsidized medications, and they'll die poor and miserable like their parents.
Make no mistakes: your children's lives will be miserable in Israel, and it will be your fault. Yes, I am trying to make you feel bad about yourself, because you should. You should feel anxious, worried and quite afraid. Your children are at risk, and it is your responsibility to save them.
We can change things from within, you say to yourself. We voted for Lapid or some other false prophet who will be gone by the next election. We can stand up for yourselves and make things better.
Oh, really? Then why hasn't this happened already? It hasn't happened because Israeli Jews, whenever they have to deal with their internal problems, are distracted by the largely made-up belief that there are big bad Arabs out there who are trying to kill us all and we must unite to defeat them. So we'll sell our souls to the orthodox as long as they vote for more money for the military, and the status quo will continue. Jews Unite—but don't forget your kippah!
You can't change anything in that country. It's ruined, finished, gone. The only sensible thing to do is to leave before it's too late. For your children's sake, if not for yours.
It won't be easy, I assure you. Just like it wasn't easy for your grandparents to leave everything and come here from Germany or Russia or Marakesh or Addis Ababa. They'll have to learn a new language, adapt to a new culture, and find new friends. You would have to find a new job, deal with visas and permits, and keep in touch with your family and friends via Skype. All of you will be facing a long process of adjustment.
But it will be worth it—big time. Your kids will learn the language faster than you think, and they'll make new friends before you buy your first piece of furniture. You'll get used to the language and the culture, and even you will make new friends. And in a few years or maybe a decade, you will look back at the best decision you've ever made for your children, because you'll be living in the US or Canada or Australia or England or somewhere else where you can buy a house without being a millionaire and you can eat whatever you want and you can marry in city hall without a rabbi on your side. Your children will go to college or on a world trip when they're eighteen instead of putting on uniform and saluting some moron with shoulder things. They'll live in a pluralistic, secular society, where priests don't tell them what to eat, and they'll be able to go to a restaurant without a security guard sniffing their genitals for explosives.
You owe it to your children to leave Israel. It is your moral obligation to seek a better future for them. It is your moral obligation to sacrifice the present, the comfortable, and the familiar for the new, the better, and the freer.
Now tuck your children in, give them a kiss, read them a good night story, and go find how to get a foreign passport or a work visa. Then go to sleep knowing that tomorrow will be a better day, in a land far away.