I almost didn’t get back into Israel.
After a 9-week speaking and fundraising trip (with, thank G-d, a lot of family time too), it was finally time to go home. My husband and I flew from Washington DC to Newark to board a United flight to Israel. There was an extra step at the gate where you showed a United official your entry papers (passports, Ministry of Health forms, vaccination records, PCR test results, etc…). My husband was cleared with his Israeli passport, but I am still in the process of making aliyah, so I was flying on my U.S. passport.
“No,” he said. “You do not have the proper entry visa; you will have to reapply and fly tomorrow night.”
My husband explained that our home is in Israel, and I was his wife. That did not move him. He then said that the Israeli government wants me in Israel. That for sure made no impression.
I asked if he could please get his supervisor. And then I said Tehillim (psalms).
The supervisor comes, looks at my passport (I am davening under my breath) and says, “It’s okay,” and waves me on.
To say I was thankful is a major understatement. Quickly, before they changed their minds, I boarded the plane, thanking G-d every step of the way.
We are taught that you have to “merit the Land”– Israel is not like any other country. It takes merit to go there and merit to stay. And right in the Torah it says if you do not merit the Land, it “spits you out.” How many wanted to come to Israel these past 16 months and could not get in? I met many in my travels who have now fast-forwarded their own aliyah or who are buying property in Israel so as not to be “shut out.”
I believe I have gathered all the required documents and am ready to finally become a citizen. I do not want to ever leave again until I have both the merit and an Israeli passport to get back in.
We are waiting for you!