A story published a few days ago in the LA Times talked about an Israeli organization, Shavei Israel, which helped a few Keifeng Jews to make Aliyah (immigrate to Israel). It quoted a few Kaifeng Jews having made the trip as saying how Israel is superior to China. Consider the title of the article:
“Chinese Jews Feel More At Home In Israel”
This is a trick used to make those in the west as well as Israel feel good about their own society. It legitimizes their own world. It’s self-congratulatory, self-serving. It’s message is, Chinese Jews would much more appreciate living in a western society than their own backward society. Even Chinese don’t feel their society is natural! What is better testimonial confirmation than from Chinese citizens themselves on the superiority of western civilization?
Also consider a few lines from the article:
Her father told her of a faraway land called Israel that he said was her rightful home, she recalls.
Jin has since fulfilled her father’s dream.
More recent arrivals have been in their early 20s and most have felt more at home in Israel than in Kaifeng.
After studying one year at Henan University in Kaifeng, the 25-year-old jumped at the opportunity to move to Israel. He hasn’t looked back. “I feel Israel is my home and I’m more comfortable here,” said Wang, who now refers to himself as Yaakov. “Israelis help you out when you need it; it’s like belonging to a big family.”
After his conversion, Wang plans to become a rabbi to help Kaifeng Jews immigrate to Israel. If he succeeds, he will be the first Chinese rabbi in almost 200 years.
Along with a newfound freedom of religion, the 14 Kaifeng Jews are looking forward to stretching their political wings.
“The first time I went to vote, it was raining hard and three of us went together,” Jin recalled. “I was so proud. For everyone else there it was just another election, but for us, it was the beginning of a new life.”
The message is clear. Chinese of any stripe would love to change their way of life to become more western if they could.
But what was left out in the margins? Well, Shavei Israel is an organization that pays people to immigrate to Israel. This is explicitly mentioned on their site.
Moreover, many of the people who end up immigrating do so in government subsidized settlements in the occupied West Bank or East Jerusalem (the Israeli government also subsidizes many Israeli citizens giving them loans and other incentives to live in those settlements).
So Shavei Israel pays these Kaifeng Jews to immigrate to Israel and the Israeli government further subsidizes their housing. Wow. Who wouldn’t say that they “feel more at home” in Israel than in China when your given free money to live there (actually in Occupied Palestine) . No mention of Shavei Israel’s activities in “assisting” with Aliyah, their private funding and the fact that people are additionally paid by the Israeli government to live in occupied territory is mentioned in the article. Many Israeli settlers were motivated by state funding for moving into the settlements and that is the only way the government can get many settlers to move because these areas are inherently dangerous. Also, many (tax exempt) private organizations from the US donate funds to the settlements to further colonization efforts.