Despite the battles over illegal immigration, and the humanitarian disasters caused by our weak border security, nobody argues that America could ever have become what it is today without immigrants. Even if your ancestors came over on the Mayflower, they still had to take a boat to get here. Even Native Americans had to cross a land bridge at some point way back when.
TRENDING: Happy Independence Day America
Americans have a can-do attitude about tackling tough problems because we’re descended from ancestors who had the gumption to say, “There must be a better life than this,” then risk everything to come here and find it. When you hear smug know-it-alls say there’s nothing exceptional about America compared to other countries, remember that America was founded by all the people who were so exceptional, they just had to get the heck out of those other countries.
Of course, there is one other place where people share that spirit that drives them to start a new life, far from everything they’ve known. That’s our ally, Israel. Considering the threat from radical Islam all around it, it’s a wonder that so many people still do move there. But there’s a very important tenet of the Jewish faith called Aliyah, or “ascent.” It refers to the duty of every Jewish person to return to the Holy Land at some point and help to build the nation of Israel.
Seventeen years ago, Israeli Rabbi Yehoshua Fass lost a family member to a terrorist attack. That brought home to him the fear that many Jews who grew up in the safety of the West felt about moving to Israel. So he founded a group to make it easier for Jews to negotiate the security obstacles and come to Israel. It was called Nefesh B’Nefesh.
It started small, but since 2002, Nefesh B’Nefesh has helped over 50,000 Jews from the U.S., Canada and UK come to Israel. They help with travel and financial grants, finding jobs, adapting to the local culture and more. Just as immigrants helped build America into a great nation that benefits its neighbors, these immigrants are helping people of all cultures in the Middle East. They bring the American ideals of freedom, equality and democracy to a part of the world that sorely needs them. And their skills don’t just help the Jewish population. When a doctor shortage was forecast, Nefesh B’Nefesh provided grants to encourage physicians to move there and provide enough medical care for people of every faith.
Nefesh B’Nefesh is keeping alive the idea of the best and brightest leaving the comforts of home to make another part of the world a better place. As many other nations become more dangerous and intolerant, we should celebrate the partnership and mutual values of United States and Israel – two great nations that still stand tall as beacons to immigrants around the world.