The Sad Israeli Campaign

The aborted pr campaign is unfortunate in so many ways.

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Comments (66)

(49) Zamira Rjchgod, January 11, 2016 8:07 PM

It is difficult to live in Israel for many people

Lori: Unfortunately, there are too many Israelis who can't make it in Israel - don't make enough money to even pay the rent which sometimes goes up each year. Or the landlord sells his house & the family has to move once again. I know several Israeli families who moved back to the US, where they lived for years, after trying to make it back in Israel. There are many Israelis who are ignorant of their Jewish history & Judaism altogether so it's easy for them to marry out of their religion & celebrate X-mas. That's why you & jwrp are so needed in the Diaspora.

(48) Anonymous, January 29, 2012 5:17 PM

It is sad

It's sad that this is even an issue... Israel is a beautiful country, but perhaps it's not for everyone, and that's perfectly okay! Let people make up their own minds about it, it's their life after all. Jews are jews no matter where they are. And living in Israel doesn't necessarily mean that one is more religious. There are orthodox and secular jews in both places, and there really shouldn't be a problem with that. I am VERY zionist, and I do believe Israel is a glorious place, but it is okay if not everyone agrees with me.

(47) Jerry Meents, January 25, 2012 4:51 PM

Poor publick relations

Israel is a great country and has so much going for them, but they need to upgrate there publick relations and propaganda. The Palestinians do a better job to get the world behind them, than Israel.

(46) alicia, January 24, 2012 11:05 PM

I agree with lori

it is sad! I'm not Jewish but I love Israel and I think everyone should visit there so they too can fall in love with this blessed land

(45) J. Baum, January 24, 2012 3:07 PM

Istael's campaign insulting Israelis back to Israel

I am Israeli, at least by birth. Been residing in the US since age 13, for 47 years. To both my kids, daughter 28 and son 25, I am ABBA!!! Not daddy, as the ad implies. We celebrate Chanukah, not Christmas and Chanukah as many assimilated Jews do. I insure my kids know they are Jews, the offsprings of an Israeli, and if and when they choose to go to Israel, they will need their Israeli passport, along with all the other bureaucratic nonsense Israel is notorious for. We are Jewish Americans, where the abba happens to be born in Israel.

(44) Uri Karzen, January 21, 2012 10:20 PM

Israeli or American?

As a veteran Oleh of 30 years, I understand the target audience of that campaign. It was not the Israel who is consciously trying to assimilate. They are relatively a small percentage. The average Israeli will move to the US to try his luck in the "Golden Medina". He has heard stories, maybe has a cousin who hit it rich there. But his concience is telling him that it is only temporary, until he makes some money. They are very aware and proud of their belonging to the Jewish state, even if they are not religious. But eventually they become settled in, perhaps marrying an American. Then they realize that they are becoming too settled in the US. The ads targeted them. The American Jewish reaction was pathetic. It isn't pleasant having the truth put in your face.

(43) Anonymous, January 21, 2012 3:45 AM

The sad commentary is really Lori's video

Lori, Since I love all of your videos until now, this response is really hard for me to write. This video is wrong as you say on so many levels. First, you are not an American, so to attack America Jews for this outragous advertisement campaign against the American Jewish community is rediculous. How would you respond if this campaign was occurring in Canada? Would you have the same harsh attack on Canadians? If people are leaving Israel to live in America, maybe they see that they can have a better life in America, like you have. Remember, you said that you did not know if you should apply to become an American in one of your videos. If things were so good for you in Toronto, Canada, the question really needs to be asked why are you here in my country's capital? Why are you not living in Israel? You wonder why are Israelis moving to America? The truth is that America is the greatest country in the world which allows people from all over the world to come to this country in a melting pot with the hope of a brighter future. Our government system, while not perfect, is the most stable and effective model in the world. We also have the freedom of religion and not state sponsored religion which has allowed Judiasm to flourish in this country. We have the choice of Reform Judiasm or Othodox Judiasm. In Israel, the only choice is Orthodox or nothing. Israel needs to really look itself in the mirror and ask the hard question, why are people leaving? Where can we improve our country so that instead of people leaving, people stay and others are begging to be let in. There are no easy answers to any of these questions. However, there is no doubt that the advertising by Israel was conterproductive as well as your video was.

(42) Anonymous, January 19, 2012 2:14 PM

what about the grandchild thinking christmas is the next holiday!

I usually enjoy Lori, almost live but this one is way off. The saddest of all is the grandchild relating to chrismas as a holiday! That is the biggest loss- Jewish children!

(41) Elana, January 18, 2012 10:09 PM

the true saddest part

Rebetzin Palatnik, I listen to your video blogs weekly and enjoy their messages very much. This one however didn't fully settle well with me. I feel the saddest part of the ad campaign wasn't the repercussions of the campaign, but the fact that the Israeli Government TOTALLY blew a great opportunity. Advertisement is about knowing your targeted audience. It seems as though they got mixed up in who they were trying to reach and what those people would want to hear. I believe the majority of Israelis leave because: a.they desire to live "the American Dream", and in this sense they WANT to assimilate into American culture and b.the hardships of living in fear of terrorisim and war. If this ad was being targeted towards Israelis who leave for these reasons the ad should have said "We are one nation for always! Return to your brethren! Do not desert them in time of hardships (or good times too for that matter)". If this ad is supposed to be geared towards American Jews to come make Aliyah (which I think is a very needed and worthy cause) it could have said"your true home is awaiting you! don't waste any more time to return! And if they wanted to really push the envelope, then continue to say "your children's heritage is in jeopardy!" I hope the Isareili governement tries again and gets it right this time. And I"YH may we all return together as one united group to our true home.

Davidah, January 22, 2012 1:53 AM

Your comments, in my opinion are right on target. I especially agree with the following statements: ..."the saddest part of the ad campaign wasn't the repercussions of the campaign, but the fact that the Israeli Government TOTALLY blew a great opportunity. Advertisement is about knowing your targeted audience. It seems as though they got mixed up in who they were trying to reach and what those people would want to hear. . .

(40) L, January 18, 2012 8:06 PM

saddest, saddest, saddest part

There's a sad part you missed. There are real reasons why Israelis leave Israel and why so many anglo Jews who tried to make aliyah have failed. Life here is very hard in certain respects. The government is corrupt. Some Israelis I've spoken to are tired of the wars. Some don't earn enough here or what they do earn is taxed like crazy. There are a lot of sad problems here. There is a crazy poverty level. There are problems here that people don't want to talk about and I don't feel so great putting them in writing. I met Israelis in the US that don't understand how Jewish their culture is--they don't feel connected with the religion at all. And, all that said, there is a connection to this land that every Jew feels. It is life altering. Believe me Lori, there is an opportunity to do the work you do with Israeli women. How about the JWRP for Israeli women to know and remember about who they are and the connection with this land they already live in? Keep shining. You are changing the world. You know that. <3

(39) Chaya, January 18, 2012 7:56 PM

Another side of this story...

I recently had a conversation with a grandmother of 8 (American, Mexican and Singaprean born) children about the advice she had been given by the Jewish Agency for Israel on the topic of her making aliah. With no other information than her age and the fact that none in her family were observant, she was discouraged from planning a life in Israel. Without any information about her financial situation she was told "It's too expensive for you". Assuming she had no insurance other than Medicare she was told thre would be no health coverage in Israel. Then she told she would have to leave the country every six months. By her report the only hope she was offered involved programs her grandkids might be eligible for. If these conditions accurately represent what Israeli's live with then it IS sad--and it certainly does need fixing before expecting a mass return. P.S.: If anyone can correct the information provided, I'd like to hear it.

Shoshana, January 19, 2012 2:57 PM

never heard of such a thing

We have been living in Israel for over 40 years. My husband has never left even once and I did live once,many years ago, for a short visit to my parents in the U.S. I live in a very American community and have never heard of leaving once every six months. HEALTH INSURANCE: everybody has health insurance and it is not expensive at all. It's called "Kupat Cholim". Expensive to live here? Well, that I don't know. It depends on the level you're used too.It's certainly not cheap but I don't know if it's worse than in the U.S.

Rachel, January 22, 2012 4:31 PM

My impression is that Israel does not want older immigrants

My mother-in-law, like the grandmother mentioned in Chaya's post, was told that she would not be able to live reasonably in Israel. If you've lived there for 40 years, you presumably have paid into the Israeli pension and healthcare systems. If you just want to move there in retirement, you are probably not covered and need the money to take care of yourself. And really, you can't blame the Israeli government if that's the case -- why should retirees from elsewhere get benefits they did not pay for during their working lives? Many other countries say the same thing -- come if you can afford it, but don't expect us to pay your way.

(38) Tehillah Hessler, January 18, 2012 4:13 PM

The Israeli government backed down...

...because they care too much about what the rest of the world thinks, and not enough about what Hashem has commanded - living in Israel is a mitzvah in case some have forgotten. I live in Israel. I lived in the US for 50 years. I don't care if American Jews are insulted by such an ad campaign; I'd prefer that Israel continues to run it and more impressively until the heart of every Israeli-born Jew is pricked and overflowing with a desire to return home. And I'd expect that at least a few American's might pick up on the concept as well. As for American Jews being insulted; sometimes the truth hurts and sometimes that's what it takes to get people moving in the right direction. Personally, I'm insulted that American Jews have created an environment in which the rest of the world can question our claim to this Holy Land because their logic is that if it's so holy then why haven't all the Jews returned to their God-given land. I'll tell you, that's one question I wouldn't want to be posed to me by Hashem when it's my turn for His Judgement.

(37) Anonymous, January 18, 2012 2:01 PM

the saddest part?

definitely that American Jews protested. Open your eyes people and stop kidding yourselves- Israel is the place to be, to be investing time, money and effort in. Israel is the place to come and live as Jewish people. Don't stand by complaining- come home and make a difference. No, it's not easy, no-one ever said it will be but wake up- assimilation rates are tragic in America. Every single Jewish person knows someone who has married out. G-d handed us our country back to us 60 plus years ago. What the heck is taking you so long?!

Yaakov, January 19, 2012 4:18 PM

Beg to differ

You say that assimilation rates are high in America- there are many outreach professionals in the US trying to curb that number.Not just professionals but anyone that does NCSY or even invites a Non-Orthodox friend for shabbos is doing their part to bring Jews back to their heritage. If these types of people (there are a lot of them) pick up and move to Israel, who will be left to try to bring Jews back to Judaism? How would that stop the assimilation rate? I admire your passion for Israel, but again, too many generalizations.

(36) Yehoshua, January 18, 2012 1:52 PM

It's beyond Sad - American Jewry Turned Absurd

How do Orthodox Jews face themselves reading the weekly Torah portion which is completely oriented around Eretz Yisrael as the Meshech Chochma wrote and continue to live in the Galut when finally the doors open to come back. Reminds you of the failure during the 2nd Beit Mikdash under Ezra and Nechemia when most the Jews failed. Do we learn from History. All your Bubbies & Zaides are rolling in their graves wondering how they went so wrong to raise Jews like these rejecting Eretz Yisrael with their choice to stay in the Galut. What Kind of Torah is that ? Dimented ..

Rachel, January 18, 2012 10:28 PM

What about living parents & grandparents?

The no. 1 reason that I did not make aliyah was because of responsibilities to older parents, one of whom had a health problem. I don't believe that our ancestors are "rolling in their graves" because some of us stay to properly care for family members. You should not generalize.

(35) Irene, January 18, 2012 7:46 AM

Lori, You missed the real saddest part

Dear Lori, Thank you for your work. Your contributions to are excellent. You missed the saddest part of the story. The saddest part is the reason many citizens leave Israel: war and terrorism. And for those same reasons, many will never return. In May 2010 I became annoyed at the way National Public Radio (NPR) covered the Mavi Marmara incident. The first reports mentioned Israel's assertions that the IDF met deadly force and that they had the video to prove it. Subsequent reports made no mention of that, characterizing the event as the murder of unarmed humanitarian civilians on a mission of mercy to the oppressed and hungry people of Gaza, on a boat in international waters, by an elite Israeli commando squad. I looked at the videos and researched the international law. Of course, Israel was right. That got me started on a project to learn the history and current events of Israel. I have logged about 2000 hours, reading everything from British reports from the 1920's about land ownership and tenancy practices during the Ottoman Empire to the International Court of Justice's decision on the security fence. I am staggered by the evidence. Israel has been mistreated by the entire international community and by the Arabs to such an extent that an average Israeli could not comprehend. I am stunned to learn that so much anti-Israeli opinion is actually anti-semitism. I am angry about the number of lies that have been accepted as truth by the media, world leaders, civic and educational leaders, and ordinary Americans and Europeans.

Sharon, January 18, 2012 8:11 PM

Irene- Please!

Irene-I agree with you! But, I have a request. Write up your findings and publish at least in a blog format. As an Israeli/American who knows how hard it is to live here, but knows that it's even harder to live outside of it, I ask you to do this.

(34) yossi markowitz, January 18, 2012 4:03 AM

somthing to consider

hi lorry i dont like to write that much so il just let you consider the following question and be on my way. what is better be called aba and a few more basic terms and witness machloket between the jewish people or called daddy and witness achdut among the jewish people?

(33) Jacob White, January 18, 2012 2:08 AM

The wrong approach

Lori, tough questions. Before this ad campaign started, the reasons for Israeli's leaving should have been addressed. Understanding whom you are trying to reach, is the key to good advertising. Most Israeli's that leave are looking for their pot of gold. They see American TV, and think life is better there. Everything American is better. It's brainwashing. They're also taught in many schools that being secular is better, often learning little about their Jewish (as opposed to Israeli) heritage, and don't develop that bond to the land that comes from knowing that our forefathers walked those same paths. They also live with the threat of war and terror over their heads. Americans can't really understand the Israeli mentality,and Israeli's don't really understand the American reality. Many Israeli's move to places that have little or no Jewish community. Places like Delaware where there is a beach and a possibility of starting a business. The American dream. Why would they worry about having Jewish neighbors when it was never an issue before? If your teachers teach you that being Jewish isn't important, then why would it be important to you? Many Israeli's that move to America and move into an area where there are Jews that take pride in their religion, learn to take pride in their religion, too. There are many assimilated Jews, but there is also a very strong presence of Jews with a strong bond to Judaism and Israel. A better approach would probably have been more along the lines of "We miss you, come home". Most people like to go on vacation, but by the end of the vacation, you want your own bed, and your own surroundings. American Jews were right to feel insulted, and Israel was right to pull the ads, because it was hurtful and didn't reach the appropriate target. Instead of trying to get Israeli's to come home, focus more on making Israeli's feel at home. When the prodigal sons see that there's a warm bed waiting for them, they'll come home on there own.

(32) Anonymous, January 17, 2012 10:38 PM

Galut is supposed to be sad

LIfe in Israel is not for everyone and many Jews in America have no desire to leave and I don't see advertising making much difference. While it's true that at this time there is little inter faith marriage in Israel, and a non Orthodox Jew has a better chance of having Jewish grandchildren in Isreal than he/she would in the US I don't think it matters much to most involved. Now that's sad

(31) Anonymous, January 17, 2012 10:30 PM

Luring Israelis back - who and what am I?

Born in Israel in 1951. 1965, aged 13, my family immigrated and residing in the United States since. What am I? An Israeli by birth, definitely. By all other standards, cultural, religious, etc. I am American. Oh, my accent? After 47 years, yes, still have one, the Israeli. Not quite lost it completely. Upbringing, education, profession/career, mind-set, are American. I am Jewish, leaning towards, somewhat contemporary orthodoxy, possibly modern conservatism. I am a Jewish American, not an American Jew. G-D and my people come first, than my nationality. In Israel I would be a Jewish Israeli, but than, again, the Orthodox would consider me a goy. Either way, can't win. So, luring me back to Israel, trying to make me feel guilty, won't work. Guess what? I am ABBA to my kids, and will be saba or zaida with G-D's help. Oh, funny thing should I decide to return. Being an Israeli (by birth), does not entitle me to the same rights and privileges as olim (new immigrants). To Israel I would be a 'toshav chozer' a returning resident. After almost 50 years I am a returning resident!!! Resident, mind you. Was barely raised there, education to 7th grade, not old enough to receive a 't'udat z'ut' (ID card), not serving in the Army, owning anything, much less not having any credit to my name, but nevertheless, I am a RETURNING CITIZEN. How nice. Hello, Israel, It's me, Yossi. Remember me?

Kerry, January 18, 2012 11:52 AM


This is what most U.S. citizen resent about some immigrants-their chosen title of Jewish American or Mexican American. I am American of Basque, English Scots heritage, and lastly I am a Deist in this secular land.

Andy, January 18, 2012 3:31 PM

Jews are different see comment #32 and Kerry

Judaism is not only a religion. It's primarily a family/a people. As the generations proceed being of whatever heritage one was will become irrelevant and eventually forgotten.Today one is a Deist, but if tomorrow one became a Christian he'd no longer be a Deist. Unless I'm mistaken as long as someone is born of a Jewish mother, or converted by an authorized[today Orthodox]Jewish court they are Jewish no matter what they believe and what their family origin. When the sages state that someone is cut off from the Jewish people it refers to the one's portion in the next world as an individual. While many Jews are unaware of the fact that they are Jewish, and many others believe that they are no longer Jews,it is my understanding that in this world one may choose not to practice Judaism, not to believe in God, to embrace another faith, etc but one can no more stop being Jewish than being Black,White etc. To the editors :If I'm incorrect then please don't print this comment

(30) Malka, January 17, 2012 10:01 PM

Israelis hare having trouble financially

I just wanted to bring up a point about life in Israel.... the cost of living is VERY high, and the average salary is paltry at best. This is the main reason Israelis choose to live abroad... so instead of spending $ on this ad campaign, the money would have been more wisely spent on discovering ways to get Israelis to stay!!!

(29) luther navy, January 17, 2012 9:58 PM

sad for Israeli Jews

I am sad for Israeli Jews and angered by the attitude of the American Jews. I am an American who supports Israel in every way possible. I do believe that the Jews here in the U.S. have made some mistakes that harm their own cause. one such mistake is,they are mostly liberal and helped elect the worst president in U.S. history. with attitudes like this,its no wonder why they were offended about the ads.I think if they were conservative and voted for a person who supports capitalism,free markets,strong national defense,strong military and the most important for them would be the support that the U.S. gives Israel, they would want to have at least a duel citizenship with the country they were born in and the country that Yaweh gave to the Father of the Jews (Abraham) and the Jewish people.

(28) Karen, January 17, 2012 9:54 PM

Something not mentioned

I lived in Israel for 2 years, and yes there were advantages living in a Jewish state. However life is not easy in Israel. I have mixed feelings about Israelis leaving Israel. I do see Israel has a home to all Jews, however there are good things about living in America, and some Israelis come to America and develop a stronger Jewish Identity and some become Orthodox. However, what I have seen that was not mentioned was Israelis living outside of Israel and marrying non-Jews and having children, and not raising their kids as Jews. Also, some are lost to the Jewish World and that is the saddest thing of all.. In fact, there is a family like that which lives at the end of our street.

(27) Anonymous, January 17, 2012 9:42 PM

Israelis leaving Israel

The problem with Lori's argument, is that she differentiates between Israelis and Jews. If "Israelis" should be in Israel, then so should all Jews. Lori also overlooks an important fact. It is very easy to be a Jew in Israel, it's probably the easiest thing about being in Israel. One does not need to demonstrate his or her Jewishness to know their identity. Whereas in America, those who wish to identify with Judaism have to work much harder. Many "Israelis," send their children to yeshivot or day school, or at least Hebrew school. The point being, that in Israel, perhaps many Israelis would have no affiliation whatsoever since they are already in the Jewish state, but in America, they might seek to preserve their Jewishness moreso. I think a new campaign for Aliyah should be directed to all Jews, Israelis included.

(26) Alexis, January 17, 2012 9:38 PM

the reality it's addressing is sadder than the ad

It is a difficult balancing act for all of us...Israel's government included. This is part of the challenge of being the nation--I mean this in the sense of tribe, people, both by birth and by choice--of Israel. There are many aspects to this challenge on various levels, from pure physical survival to spiritual directedness. This little video underscores one of them. If the "sad Israeli ad campaign" did one thing, it opened a dialogue. This is already valuable.

(25) Anonymous, January 17, 2012 8:47 PM

I agree, it was sad for so many reasons. There was however another reason you did not mention and that was the hypocrisy of the American Jewish community to be appalled by such an honest appraisal of the serious issue of assimilation in the US., The commercial should have stressed that all Jews come home to Israel thereby maintaining Jewish identity. It is always sad when Israeli's leave the country but it's not fair to single them out for leaving without asking all other Jews to come home as well.

Anonymous, January 18, 2012 4:18 AM

About what Lori left out

I have to respond because you called the American Jewish community hypocrites. Take a look at the picture of the billboard at the top of the page. A good long look. My take on it and how it can appear to be saying. "The Israeli father won't be called Aba by his sweet American looking daughter if they don't hightail it back to Israel on the next flight out. No need to see the mother of the daughter, what are the odds, the Israeli married out! He assimilated in America! Makes me think, why the mother was left out of the picture. Ashkenazi Jews could be ticked by such a clue since his daughter doesn't look like him, that the Israeli man assimilated and intermarried. Of course the happy poise, they did return, otherwise they wouldn't be so happy if they were a real father and daughter and still living in the US, because his sweet American looking daughter couldn't possible know any Hebrew because her mother didn't teach her, guess she didn't come with, reason to leave her out of the picture no doubt after the father and daughter returned to Israel both cheery as a lark for making the move, just the two of them." Returning to Israel he speaks amongst his family and friends, "At least something good came out of that marriage to that American woman, I have a great daughter I wouldn't of had, and now she can grow up in Israel and call me Aba."

Anonymous, January 18, 2012 10:37 PM

If the mother's not Jewish, how can the child be immediately Israeli

I thought anyone not born of a Jewish mother had to be converted to Judaism in order to receive Israeli citizenship. Or is that not true of children of sabras born outside Israel, regardless of the parents' religion?

Anonymous, January 19, 2012 3:39 PM

The billboard making assumptions the mother is not Jewish

True what you said, but by the picture the assumption is being put out there since the mother is an American, the mother is not Jewish. Who says an Israeli isn't marrying an Orthodox Jewish American in the US? Then the child is Jewish. The ads were assuming all Israelis moving to the US is intermarrying with non-Jews. Granted, some may, but what an insult to assume everyone is in an intermarriage. When the first Jewish settlers came to America, the Ashkenazi Jews and the Sephardi Jews, the discussion of that day was it intermarrying between the two. The Jewish community was small, so the pickin's were small in who you could marry. The American Rabbis granted blessings on those marriages between the two, because it was better than if one marry outside of Judaism. Up to that point, if you were Ashkenazic you married Ashkenazic, and if you were Sephardic you married Sephardic. So the man in the billboard married an Ashkenazi (possible) and is accused of intermarrying, by assumption of the American looking daughter, it's saying she is not Jewish and her mother is not Jewish, is the message it's sending out, though the mother could be Jewish by European descent. Israel may still look at it that way, however, our Rabbis in the US established it is not intermarrying when both are Jewish. What rubbed me the wrong way over the ads, was grouping in America, the assumption on Israelis are intermarrying, that all are, here in America, which is not true. Some have paid a high price, not. If Israelis are coming to the US, they could come to my area. Wouldn't stop them from coming. Why, if they want to come, let them, wrong to try to keep someone where they don't want to be. When a woman has decided to leave her husband, sending flowers isn't going to work, her decision is already made. Jews lived in Babylon, shaped the Torah of today. Don't underestimate how the world has been shaped goodly by Jews living outside of Israel, Moses a Levite in Egypt, etc.

(24) t.rose, January 17, 2012 7:29 PM


To some degree Israel's fear of losing American financial support may be rooted in reality, that said it is as you suggest, profoundly sad. An American Jewish Agency who's purpose at least in part is to support Israel objecting to the campaign is absurd, misguided, arrogant and maybe evil. That Jews are leaving their homeland to live abroad, that an American Jewish agency objects to a campaign to entice them to return, and that the Israeli government cancels the campaign in response to the objection--is an indication of how profoundly off course and misguided we are. The priority is Israel and her citizens. Communities outside of Israel must know this and help in way possible, not hold her interests captive for $$$$$ or bully her. And Israeli government--get a backbone, or better yet have faith and remember you serve Hashem and you represent his people. Govern accordingly.

(23) Odelia, January 17, 2012 6:55 PM

I'm happy that the Israeli gov't backed down and pulled the ads. I saw them when I was visiting my family. The whole notion that you will lose your Jewish or Israeli identity by living outside of Israel is absurd! Of course there maybe those who do, but it is certainly not a given. Case in point :my parents each left Israel sometime after the army and they met and married in the States. They just ended up staying and settling down there. My parents grew up not observant and only in New York did they return to Judaism and raised my siblings and I in an observant Jewish home. Furthermore, every summer we came to Israel to visit our family here for the whole summer vacation. Out of all the possible ways to try and entice Israelis to return to Israel, this was a very poor attempt. I think the American Jewish community had every right to feel insulted. It's sad that the Israeli government felt it had to resort to such measures.

(22) joanne, January 17, 2012 6:35 PM

B"H, How can you smile your way through this message? The situation is not as black and white as you present it. Thank you for your work.

(21) david, January 17, 2012 6:09 PM

the saddest part...

is that the Israeli government has done so much to eliminate the true Jewish identity and now bemoans the fruit that has grown from the seeds that they have sown.

Anonymous, January 18, 2012 5:22 AM

Hit the Nail on the Head

Secularism is so promoted in Israel that if Rabbis like Rav Lazer Brody could run the government, all would be not so surprisingly different.

(20) Irit, January 17, 2012 5:39 PM

The MORE sadder is...

...the insulting ad of the government. This is an offensive advertisement and not intelligent. It is good that it has been down from the air. It did not make its job. I live in Israel, and contrary to one of the above comments (14) -although I am a leftist, and not a Zionist I am not going to leave my country! I'm here, and I do as much as I can for a better Israel, so it would be much worthy to live here. Look, the world has become a one small village, and the Israelis - like other peoples - are looking for their lives elsewhere. All countries in the world have people from other countries . Our being Jewish does not contradicts the international movement. The gov must not condemn those who leave - instead, it should persuade them to return, in a pleasant and positive way. May we see a better time soon.

(19) Joel Koven, January 17, 2012 5:09 PM

Yes it sad but I see differently

Yes it's sad: It's sad that Israel's Government didn't spend the $$$ or more in getting assimilated young families, youth etc. free trips to to Israel to explore, feel, touch talk etc. with the land the people. Let's just say it cost $1,000 ( and I am sure thee cost would be less) per person that would be 1,000 Jewish assimilated people going to Israel. Forget what it would do to continue to stimulate economics in Israel but the spreading of the word would be exponential, or have weekend Jewish retreats. I remember going to a Jewish camp which gave me my first real experience of being Jewish coming from a broken non religious home WOW. It is silly I repeat silly too try to convince intelligent people that left Israel to come back, the logic surprises even me. The complaint by the Jewish Organizations should not come as a surprise (or the government cancelling it) to anyone, If I had seen it I would of been discussed too. There are so many different avenues to open sheltered eyes. So instead of just asking why Lori with respect how about giving some positive suggestions?

(18) Orit, January 17, 2012 4:25 PM

its sad that that American would be insulted....

and even more sad that the isreali gov't backed down! i saw these commericals and i thought there were TRUE on every level...its pathetic that this is what it has come to.

(17) Marsha, January 17, 2012 4:24 PM

Additional level of sadness

On a fifth level it is also sad. Staying in Israel for those not religious does not mean they will keep their Jewish identity either, unfortunately. They may not celebrate Christmas, but they are intermarrying with the Arabs.

Shimona, January 17, 2012 7:24 PM

Reply to 317 Marsha

There is hardly ANY intermarriage between Jews and Arabs! Where in the world did you get this peculiar notion??? Please give a reliable source for this nonsensical claim!

(16) Mindy, January 17, 2012 3:35 PM

Living in Israel is something you have to merit

Lori, you have taught us that going to Israel is something we have to merit. If a Jew can be "lured" away from Israel, doesn't that mean they don't merit to stay? I understand the Israeli government's predicament, but surely they could have come up with a better ad campaign. Instead of guilting Israelis into coming home (and didn't you also teach us that guilt really doesn't have a place in Judaism?), why not emphasize the positive. "Don't you merit being in the land of your people? Come home to Israel!" Yes, there will still be American Jews who are upset, but those are the ones who would be upset about something, regardless. And a really positive ad would not only bring Israelis home, it would bring in olim as well.

(15) Yaakov Lasson, January 17, 2012 2:58 PM

Disagree with Lori on this one- Israeli pride not a replacement for Hurtful words

I beg to disagree that Americans have zero right to feel somewhat hurt. Israelis that choose to leave are acting on their own prerogative. While it is certainly ideal that all Jews live in Israel, the fact that Israelis can imply that all sense of religiosity (Jewishness) will be lost in the US is absurd. If the Israelis that moved outside of Israel were staunch enough in their beliefs and practices- than they can still have their kids call them "Abba" as well as celebrate Chanuka. The ads imply that the 'holy' Israelis need to come to back or else their kids will leave Judaism. That is ridiculous. Hundreds of thousands Americans are doing just fine in terms keeping Mitzvos, etc. Again, I agree we should all be in Israel, but to support the implication that ALL American Jews are clueless and secularized (As Lori seems to be doing) is to take a "Holier than thou" stance that is way off the mark.

(14) David Altalena, January 17, 2012 2:30 PM

For me this is not sad. I live in Israel and I have family in the USA. And I know that most of Israelis who left Israel are leftists and anti-religious. They didn't get a real Jewish education and this is the reason why they left Israel. Every time there is an election they come quickly to Israel to vote. But one million Jews cannot rush on election day. And this is the reason why the Israeli right and the religious win the elections.

(13) moshe, January 17, 2012 2:20 PM

an amazing camp.

The truth hearts. People don't like to see the truth in their face, but sometimes, they must. Those that were touched by it, might come back, and the others will never come back even if they will be sooooo poor in big America. The Jewish community in America was never the group target of this camp. and if they got hurt - i would say: "so take a good look inside".

(12) Anonymous, January 17, 2012 10:32 AM

Israeli Campaign

While those ads have a vital point, I can see why American Jews might find it offensive. Why bite the hand that feeds you? The Diaspora communities are staunch supporters of Israel. They finance a lot of Israeli organizations and fund their institutions. They may perceive those ads to be showing the lack of gratitude by the Israeli government. Yes the whole scenerio is sad and pathetic on many levels. Its sad when Israelis leave (some for good reasons). Its even more sad when religious Jews have no desire to live in Israel. As someone who made Aliyah 2 years ago, I am baffled by the comments my peers make about living in Israel in the US. Both the religious and non religious don't feel a connection to the Land of Israel. While I'm loyal to my country of origin, there are Jews who have no intentions of leaving the US whatsoever. Yes life is difficult in Israel and adjustments can be very trying at times. There are people who leave because they want to to establish a better future for themselves and their families. And there are those who won't make Aliyah because their current circumstances won't allow them to or they do not want to endure Israeli bureaucratic system.While Aliyah should be encouraged and we should convince Israelis living abroad to return to Israel, with all things considered, some people are not prepared to make a serious transition in their lives. I may not commend the attitude of American Jews towards these campaigns, but I think the Israeli government could have taken a more diplomatic approach rather than insulting American societies.

Yaakov Lasson, January 17, 2012 3:00 PM

The ads had nothing to do with Israeli ultimately being a better place for Jews to be- rather it was hurtful, implicit criticism of all American Jews

(11) Claudio, January 16, 2012 9:09 PM

How I wish...

I'm Brazilian and I live in Brazil. I'm a Christian and I would love to live in Israel. I haven´t been there before but I love the Holy Land and its chosen people (the Jews). I like this website because it keeps me in touch with such an exciting and eternal issue: Israel and the Jews. How I wish I were a Jew...

(10) Becca, January 16, 2012 7:05 PM

I think all of it was sad. What a waste of time and money. I think that the Israeli gov. who they want to move to Israel, who they know will be accepted in migrating to Israel, ought to send out personal invitations through the mail. Forget about some public campaign, that is targeted to American Jews, who some by Israeli gov. isn't consider a Jew but they are considered a Jew by the United States gov. No, no, the Israeli gov. should mail out personal invitations to those who they really want to move to Israel, including migration papers enclosed--pre-approved. Plain and simple, no beating around the bush about it. Not throwing out a net to catch Jewish fish, then tossing those that can't migrate back into the american waters. Why bother stirring the waters, when they only want certain fish to rise to the surface. Israeli gov. was shock over the reaction? Israeli gov--start mailing out personal invitations, that will get a far better reaction from those across the waters. Israel may then see, more Jewish fish swimming there way. Gleaning who they really want without the task and waste of time on both ends using a fishing net. A Jewish fish finder saves lots of time and money. Just an advertising thought for next time.

Anonymous, January 18, 2012 10:48 PM

US Government does not "consider" anyone a Jew or other religion

The US government does not consider its citizens to be Jews or any other religion. It is not officially recorded anywhere (e.g. passport, birth certificate, voter registration.) Race is taken into account because of the sad history of racism against non-whites in America. But specific nationalities (Irish, Russian, Chinese, Kenyan, or whatever) are not taken into consideration by the U.S. government either.

(9) Anonymous, January 16, 2012 7:01 PM

Sad in another way

I saw those billboards and thought it was sad that the only way to entice people back was by the thought of their family losing their Hebrew. When we yearn to return to Israel it is for so much more than that. The kedusha in the air for example. I am not sure how to put that on a billboard or market it to people who don't appreciate religion though.

(8) Mo, January 16, 2012 10:27 AM


"You can be a great Jew outside of Israel" - but you can't be the best Jew. Americans took the ads far to personally. But if a message is to be drawn, it is this: Israel is the home for the Jews. America is not. Anyone who thinks that the future of the Jewish people is in Teaneck, Borough Park, DC or LA is seriously lacking in judgement. America is a great friend of the Jews, but it is not the Jewish homeland. I don't think it's sad that they stopped the campaign, I think it's sad that American Jewery was insulted when the Jewish state showed its true colors. I applaud the Israeli government on saying in so many words - "Come home."

(7) Anonymous, January 16, 2012 10:02 AM


that the gov't backed down is not sad. that the US community got annoyed, is sad. the saddest of all. it means all this love and support of israel is no more than lip service. the gov't is to be commended for its compassionate respect for american jewry's bubble blindness. better kol yisrael together than create divisiveness. one needs only check writings of our sages thruout time - including 'one who walks 4 amot in israel, merits the world to come in the present' - to see the lack of value in continuing to build and strengthen communities outside of israel. yet, out of respect, israel pulled the campaign. what does it say of us here, fighting on an everyday basis for our lives? that we know, in the long run, that we must rely first and foremost on ourselves, and not on our extended-brethren elsewhere, whose support of us is limited. nonetheless, we keep the doors open for all jews everywhere and at all times. the lip service zionism saddens me the most. from - proud mum of 4 elite unit khayalim who love their country, israel.

(6) Anonymous, January 16, 2012 9:21 AM

Definitely that American Jews are offended

If American Jews are offended by the statement that its better to live in Israel, then they must not be very good Jews. As they say, it is a Mitzvah just to live in Eretz Israel. A lot of American Jews are losing their way. Too many Jews today think they can maintain Jewish identity without Judaism to back it up, which is a farce. No child is going to take his heritage seriously if he sees his parents ignoring the foundation of it. It is clear that American Jews are proud to be Americans, which is fine. But every Jew has to decide at some point, are they a Jew first and anything else second. Or does being Jewish come last? Every good Jew should aspire to live in Israel, and our hearts should be directed toward God, who commands us to live in Israel. The Jewish American response to the ad campaigns show that their hearts aren't directed toward God or Israel, if it were, they would heed his word.

(5) Zev, January 15, 2012 5:03 PM

Totally Disagree

I totally disagree with you on this one. The ad campaign was totally inappropriate. The Israeli government is more concerned that people return to Israel (the state of Israel) than they are about their citizens marrying and living Jewishly. Some Israelis come to America and ironically in America they start living a life more in accordance with Torah values. I agree that all Jews should live in the land of Israel and one day we all will live there. True, Jewish identity often does disappear in America, but leaving Israel is not necessarily and end to Yiddishkeit and to portray it as such is false and disingeniuous.

Anonymous, January 16, 2012 11:37 AM

Isn't this what they were taught in school?

Baruch Hashem, I have lived in Israel for 35 years. i remember when I was making aliyah in '76 alot of the Israelis I knew in the States thought I was crazy. It seems that this is what they were taught in their secular education - the goal is to live in America. But, to paraphrase an old saying: "The government made its bed. Now they have to sleep in it."

Yehuda, January 16, 2012 11:50 AM

Somewhat misread the video

Regardless of the ad campaign (joke of the season, the Israeli government telling us about Jewish identity) the fact that the American Jewish community responded the way it did shows that they are happy / content with the comfort zone they live in (be it community, financially etc.), the ads should have been read and taken as a yearning for Israel, not a protest or defense

(4) shira, January 15, 2012 4:53 PM


thanks so much, i agree 100%

(3) Alan S., January 15, 2012 4:08 PM

This pr campaign was sad and bad from the get go, for the reasons mentioned by Mrs. Palatnik. However, I do not believe it was a 'sad' thing that the Israeli gov't "backed down". Why insult the one nation in the world that 'has your back'? I believe we can learn this from the simple fact that Moses would not bring the plagues upon water and the earth -- so as not to insult them -- because they helped him.

(2) sharona, January 15, 2012 6:48 AM

I don't know what's sadder, but it is quite sad. Sometimes people want what is somewhere else. It's looks better. I don't know if they actually become more secular. If they are already, then they just stay that way, and maybe be exposed to a little more here. I read a story about this couple who moved to America and became close friends with their Jewish neighbors who are religious. After awhile, they were inspired to be religious and then decided to move back to Israel. Maybe they needed that. I feel that each of us Jews in America should personally try to improve something about ourself and then make our way back to Israel.

(1) lisa, January 15, 2012 2:56 AM

It's also sad that WE don't live there...yet!!

I think we shouldn't judge until we are in their shoes!!


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