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  • By Hannah Nesher

Real Life in Israel - Coming Home Again

Jewish people making aliyah (immigrating to Israel) disembark from El Al Airlines flight

There is so much to write about Israel - most of it religious or political - but I just want to write about 'Real Life in Israel' - the good and amazing, as well as the bad and the ugly....My one disclaimer is that this blog is written simply from my own personal perspective - as a mother in Israel, a Messianic Jewish believer (follower of Yeshua the Messiah), an Israeli citizen who immigrated from Canada rather late in life - and not as any kind of expert on Israel.

I am going to leave the complex political situation of the Middle East in better hands and greater minds than my own. There are so many informative news reports and insightful commentaries out there about Israel. I just want to give you a tiny glimpse behind the official scenes into real life on a personal level in this unique and challenging Land - Eretz Yisrael.

After five months of being kind of 'stuck' back in Canada because of the whole crazy 'covid' situation, having traveled there at the beginning of March for my Dad's 90th birthday celebration (which had to happen over Zoom because of the same aforementioned crazy situation), we decided that enough is enough and we took a flight back home to Israel.

So you made aliyah??

People think we're nuts for making aliyah (immigrating) from Canada to Israel. They see beautiful scenes like the pristine jewel of Lake Louise and the glorious Rocky Mountains around Banff and they think this is Canada. Think again. ..

Canoeing on a lake in the Canadian Rockies

Think summers that have more rainy, dull, cool days than few actually decent warm ones; and then think mutant monster mosquitoes that keep you from enjoying any outdoor time.

Think ...freezing your butt off for nine months of year in freezing cold temperatures, trudging through dirty, grey, snowdrifts and trying not to slip and break any essential body parts on the ice.

I grew up in Canada, and know it has many positive attributes; but the Canada of my earlier life is almost unrecognizable from the Canada I witnessed on my last visit there: an explosive increase of homelessness & poverty: people coming up to random cars in parking lots begging for spare change and sitting with signs at the fast food drive thru's; Muslim women standing outside Walmart stores with signs begging for money.

Everywhere we went, we were among broken, mentally ill, seemingly demonically possessed people covered in ugly tattoos. On the streets of our neighborhood and in shops we would see lesbians, homosexual men, and transgender 'who knows what they are' people, flaunting their sexual immorality openly - with this being socially accepted by most people. It got really disturbing just to go out of the house.

With everything being shut down - businesses, opportunities for social interaction, recreational facilities, libraries and places of worship all closed until further notice - I'm sure this does not help matters any. In the five months we were there, I was not able to visit my elderly mother with dementia in a nursing home even once! Crazy!

When we heard that flights were opening up for Israeli citizens to return, we didn't know how long the window of opportunity would stay open; and didn't want to risk getting stuck in Canuk-ville. Twice we were stopped at a train crossing with a big X and red alarms going off & as we waited and waited and waited ....we felt like we were being given the message, "If you don't go now, you might be stuck here for a very long, long time....

So we booked our flights and said goodbye again to all my family in Canada - not an easy thing especially when your parents are elderly. Thank God my sisters and brother are there to help care for our elderly parents but still.....Being Jewish means being genetically programmed for excessive guilt; and it didn't help matters any that my Dad had a mild heart attack just after we left.

But I remember being on a phone call with a friend. Her elderly Dad was moving into a condo; but she felt called to stay home and pray. She felt guilty about this, but then she heard the still, small voice of God say, "Your sisters are there to care for your father; but I need you at home." When she said this, I also felt the Lord speak to my heart, "Hannah, your sisters are there to care for your Dad; but I need you at home in Israel."

As in all things, we cannot lean on our own understanding; but trust in the Lord will all our hearts and walk in obedience. So we left everyone and everything behind (again) & flew back to Israel, saying, "Hineini Adonai (Here I am Lord, send me)" .

Hearing the Whistle

The decision to live in the Land of Israel is, for us, not an 'eenie meenie which place would I rather live in ?? ' kind of choice. It was, and still is, a Divine calling from God - a whistle actually. God said that even if we were scattered to all four corners of the earth, from there He would whistle for us to come home.

“I will whistle for them and gather them in, for I have redeemed them, and they shall be as many as they were before.

Though I scattered them among the nations, yet in far countries they shall remember me, and with their children they shall live and return." (Zechariah 8:8-9)

Why were we the only 'meshuganah' ones in the family who heard the whistle? I don't know... Maybe it's like a high pitched whistle that only dogs can hear. Maybe the whistle of God is on a frequency that only certain people can hear it. I'm not sure if that's theologically sound or not, but it's possible, right?

God says, 'Return, O faithless children,' declares the LORD; 'For I am a master to you, And I will take you one from a city and two from a family, And I will bring you to Zion.' (Jeremiah 3:14)

When the master blows the whistle, the dogs come running, so ready or not, Israel, here we come! Ya'alah! (Let's go!)

The Flight Home

It was almost eerie to see how empty the airports were - the waiting area to board our flight was devoid of human life - like maybe the rapture had happened and we missed it. :)

Hey!... I found one masked human .. oh wait - that's my son Avi

Our Air Canada flight was also practically empty - just a few Israeli stragglers coming home - which was both good & bad. It was good because it meant we had our choice of rows to stretch out on and sleep the whole way and be super comfy. Bad because I wasted $186 on seat selection because the _______ Air Canada agent, who I know full well could see how many seats were booked on that flight, didn't tell me that the whole plane was practically empty and that there was no need to waste my money on seat selection. May God have mercy on her soul.

The other bad thing about this flight was that because of the aforementioned 'crazy covid' situation (which I may or may not say more about at another time); we received no drink or food service besides some water bottles and soggy cold veggie wraps thrown our way. Seriously I think they owe me a significant credit!! The worst was not having anything hot to drink like a tea or coffee on a 11 hour flight from Toronto to Tel Aviv. Honestly, I know they have those hot water machines back there. How hard would it be to have disposable cups out and let me make myself a hot drink?? The 'air hostesses' definitely did NOT earn their money on this flight. They just appeared a couple of times wrapped in plastic wrap from head to toe to throw us another water bottle & another yucky wrap. Thanks Air Canada!

But touching down at Ben Gurion airport is always such a thrill! I don't know if it's the only place but it must be one of the few where people actually clap & sing when the pilot lands the wheels of the aircraft on Israeli soil. Outside our window, we saw all the El Al airplanes that have been grounded because of the lockdown. An entire Israeli airline forced to go bankrupt because a few people have the flu. Go figure....

We disembarked, retrieved our luggage and saw this beautiful welcome sign. Ah yes, Bruchim ha'ba'im. Welcome! So good to be home! Or as we say in Hebrew, "Tov l'hiyot babayit"

The porter patiently waited for us to get coffee & burekas ( phyllo pastries stuffed with yummy fillings like potato and bulgarit cheese). Finally I got my coffee! Yay! Israelis know what is important in life. lol

Watch this short film from Israel created by Liat to express what coming home to Israel meant to her. Click on the image below. To read Liat's blog Life in Color, Click Here.

As we walked outside the airport, we reveled in the palm trees and sunshine; and took photos like tourists under the menorah.

Even before leaving the airport, we had an opportunity to share about Yeshua with a guy sitting on a bench where we also waited for our ride to show up. As we got talking, the conversation turned from 'crazy Covid' to more spiritual matters (as it so often does with Israelis); and we ended up talking about our faith in the Messiah and giving him an Israeli website that has many Hebrew videos explaining about the Messiah Yeshua. Halleluyah!

We just plant seeds and trust the rain of the Holy Spirit to cause them to grow and bear fruit. It's so easy to talk to secular Israelis about Yeshua because they are so spiritually hungry.

Stepping into a new adventure

Finally our ride arrived and we stepped into a new adventure in the Land of Israel, not knowing what awaited us here; but trusting in the One who holds us in the palm of His hands.

Weary from the long flight but happy to be home. (Tov li'hyot babayit)

Shalom from Israel!

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