Living in Israel isn’t always easy, as those who have tried it can attest. For new-comers, moving to Israel requires an adjustment to the
Middle-Eastern mindset, temperament, and ways of doing things. As in any new country, it requires adaptability, flexibility, and patience. You need to learn everything anew and it’s a very humbling experience. There is a new language to learn and a new culture to adapt to (in Israel, this includes learning to stand up and fight for yourself). Compounding everything, there are also terror attacks and wars to contend with. Those coming from Western countries often experience a decrease in salary and an increase in cost of living.
As a result, the Jews who make aliyah are usually those whose situation would improve by being in Israel, typically those who are fleeing persecution or a bad economy. Jews who are living comfortably often prefer to remain where they are. It’s perhaps not surprising that some of those who make aliyah, after living here awhile, decide to emigrate to a more comfortable homeland and way of life.
Having said all that, if the Lord calls you here, there’s nowhere else in the world to be.
I’ve just returned from a vacation in my homeland of Canada, where the people are typically extremely polite (to the point where we are made fun of by people from other nations), considerate, pleasant, and respectful of others. And while Israeli culture is very warm, generous, and welcoming, there are other characteristics that are a far cry from acceptable behavior. When people ask me how I like living in Israel, I answer honestly: it’s hard, but I’m here because I believe in it.
I made aliyah with my family as an adolescent. My parents heard from the Lord and answered His call to come here. In the process of preparing to move here, doubts arose in their minds, and the Lord faithfully dealt with them, one by one. The Lord provided our family with everything. It was a very difficult adjustment (and often is for me, to this day!), and sacrifices were made, but the Lord made His will and His plan clear to my parents. All we needed to do was obey.
I had an encounter about a year ago that left me reeling. Upon being introduced to an American leader of a large Messianic Jewish organization, I asked him, sort of jokingly, “So when are you making aliyah?” He responded, somewhat despondently, “Oh, you’re one of those.”
Yes, I am one of those. I am one of those who believe in the absolute truth of God’s word. I am one of those who believe that when God said “Israel,” He meant the Jewish people and not the church. And I am one of those who believe that God will bring the Jewish people back to the land He gave them, not leaving one behind (Ezek 39:28).
We are living in exciting times, witnessing age-old prophecies come true. The wilderness is blossoming (Isa 35:1); water is gushing forth in the wilderness and streams in the desert (Isa 35:6). The Jewish people have returned to their land from the
east and from the west, from the north and from the south (Isa 43:5–6), and every aliyah is exciting! Having lived here for almost 25 years, I’ve seen Jews make aliyah from the former Soviet Union, from Ethiopia, from South America, from North America, and more recently, from the Ukraine and from France. Seeing the fulfillment of these ancient prophecies has been thrilling. This isn’t some random occurrence; it’s the realization of God’s prophesied plans. And these are just the dry bones (Ezek 37)! I’m also looking forward to the next part, when God breathes life into these dry bones and reveals His Messiah to His people (Zech 12:10), when all Israel will finally be saved (Rom 11:26).
When we know the Lord, we seek His will for our lives and obey His instructions. It might not be the right time for some to make aliyah just yet. But if we believe God’s word, that time will come.
Obeying God’s call won’t always be the easiest thing, but it will be the most rewarding.