The Israeli government still thinks my wife is boring. My children, too, as well as my job, my house, and my car. Pretty much everything about me, as far as the geniuses in Jerusalem are concerned, is deathly dull, and the only way to make it better, the only way to inject my silly life with some real purpose, is to make aliyah, let my chest hair grow, and shout at my missus to shut her mouth.
It’s no joke, or, maybe, it kind of is: three years after appealing to Israelis like me who have made their home in America to return to the Promised Land—our American spouses and children, a treacly ad campaign argued, will never truly understand us anyway—the Israeli government is at it again with a sequel, this one directed not just at Israelis but also at American Jews at large. Their lives, too, it turns out, are boring and humdrum and devoid of all meaning, all that education and procreation be damned. To really be alive, argue the sages who produced the new ad, American Jews must move to Israel, depicted, in a groan-inducing attempt at humor, as a paradise of camels and pitas and matkot, the high-speed, often injurious racket-and-ball game popular at the beach.
Guys, listen: I love you. I really do. My wife—the one you still don’t like—and I may have no concrete plans for making aliyah anytime soon, but we often discuss what it would be like raising our kids—who we send to a strongly Zionist day school where the blue-and-white flag flies proudly in each classroom—in Israel. We take pains to visit it often, and make it a large part of our lives and of the lives of our children. In other words, we have a meaningful relationship with the Motherland, one in which we invest a lot of our resources.
So, please: enough with being judgy. All joking aside, telling us our lives are empty shells unless spent on the camel-infested beaches of Tel Aviv is not as offensive as it is counter-productive. That’s not how real relationships work. We love you despite your shortcomings—let’s not even get into those—and it’s time you learned to do the same.
Related: Mixed Marriage
Liel Leibovitz is editor at large for Tablet Magazine and a host of its weekly culture podcast Unorthodox and daily Talmud podcast Take One. He is the editor of Zionism: The Tablet Guide.