A home for Daniel, Mohammad and Tamar

March 12, 2015 10:27 PM

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A home for Daniel, Mohammad and Tamar

The gathering of Israel from the Diaspora is a biblical promise which has comforted Jews from the time of Babylonian exile, through the early days of the Zionist movement and right up to such recent anti-Semitic attacks as in Copenhagen and Paris. The passage in Deuteronomy 30:1-5 ends with the promise of better life for anyone who makes the journey from “the end of the heavens” to the land of Israel. In the 12th century, the great philosopher Maimonides concluded that messiah alone would ingather the exiles. For new immigrants (olim), the Jewish Agency takes on the role of messiah, and once here it is up to them, along with the native Jews and Arabs of the land, to fulfill the divine promise and realize a good life.

From day one, Israeli society reflected a kaleidoscopic variety. Jews from Iraq, Yemen, Eastern and Western Europe and the USA were viewed by the founding fathers of the state as deviations from the pioneering ideal, which had to be molded together in an assimilative “melting pot.” In essence, there...

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