An Israeli MK called for higher aliyah from Western countries at the Limmud conference today.
American-born Rabbi Dov Lipman, who entered the Knesset earlier this year as a member of Yair Lapid’s new Yesh Atid party, said: “I am not a person who says that every single person should drop everything and move… But I do believe we should be raising our children to move to Israel.”
The mass emigration from the former Soviet Union in the 1990s had “changed the face of Israel for the better,” he said. “Now it’s our turn."
The MK, who made aliyah with his family in 2004, asked: “Can you imagine what would happen to the state of Israel if 200,000, 300,000 English-speaking olim came and made an impact?”
Encouraging aliyah would be “a major focus” of his work as a member of a Knesset commitment on absorption of olim and diaspora affairs.
But he acknowledged: “I don’t think we are doing enough in our government to help with English speakers who are making aliyah.”
More emphasis on aliyah would not have a negative effect on diaspora Jewry, he believed.
But UJIA chief executive Michael Wegier – who himself emigrated to Israel from the UK – disagreed, professing that aliyah was “bad for the British Jewish community”.
Nevertheless, Mr Wegier felt that aliyah was a “price worth paying” as it represented the “ideal form of Jewish living”.
Rabbi Lipman said that he had been “overwhelmed” by what he had seen at Limmud. “It is a remarkable achievement and accomplishment by the people who put this together.”