When COVID-19 reached Israel last March, I was not unduly worried.
When my daughter Bracha decided to sell her apartment in Modi’in, a small city between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, and move to a spacious corner house in Elkana, one of the first settlements over the so-called Green Line, no ideology or nefarious government scheme played any part in her decision.
This July, thousands of Ethiopian Jews participated in sit-ins, blocking main roads all over Israel with burning tires. More than 100 police officers were injured and more than 136 demonstrators arrested.
For Israelis, bringing teenage sons and daughters barely out of high school to the army induction center to begin their compulsory military service is one of the most fraught and difficult realities of life. Underlying the cheerful, almost celebratory sendoff is the terrifying possibility of one day being forced to join the crowds at Mt. Herzl Military Cemetery, part of the growing “family” who have paid the ultimate price for living in the world’s only Jewish country.
We need to bear witness to the Talmudic dictum, “The poor people living in your own city come first.”
The future of Europe’s dwindling Jewish communities is bleak.