UPDATE 8:30 pm Wednesday: A Palestinian terrorist was just captured at the Bekaot checkpoint near Shechem (Nablus). He was carrying 7 IEDs, 3 knives, and numerous rifle shells. According to initial reports, he planned to carry out a Passover terrorist attack against Israeli soldiers and civilians.
UPDATE 6:00 pm Wednesday: Three foreign “peace activists” (see the israelstreet blog yesterday) attacked IDF personnel during an illegal rally in Hevron at the Cave of the Patriarchs. They were arrested and will hopefully be deported.
The statistics are intriguing.
Over the last decade, 47,000 Israelis left Israel and immigrated to the United States. As recently as 2006, a record number of 5,943 Israelis became American citizens. However, this number has been slowly but steadily dropping over the last 3 years: 2009: 5612 immigrants; 2010: 4515 immigrants; 2011 3,826 immigrants.
Not only did 2011 mark the lowest number of Israeli immigrants to the United States in decades–it was also a year when 4,070 North Americans immigrated to Israel.
In other words, Israel experienced a net increase in population insofar as emigration and immigration are concerned.
One might well ask what has caused the turnaround with more people coming to Israel than going. Is it the economy? Is it increasing anti-Semitism? Or is it just maybe that Israel is seen by more and more Jews as the place where they can feel the most secure, the most at home, and the most likely to be able to fulfill their destiny?
Not to mention the fact that Israel is simply a happy place.
In fact, according to the latest statistics from the United Nations (of all places), Israel was the 14th happiest country in the world in 2011. Measuring such factors as family, health, job security, political freedom, social networks, and lack of government corruption, the World Happiness Report found Israel to be one of the happiest places on earth.
But your humble servant mind wanders to the Statue of Liberty today and the inscription of Emma Lazarus—a Sephardic Jew whose family had immigrated to the United States from Portugal in the late 1700s–on its base:
“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”
Of course, Emma Lazarus wrote these words for those coming to the U.S.–but how true they have always been of Jews coming to Israel from around the world.