CNN reports on a cluster of Iranian Jews who have just moved to Israel -- the largest group in recent memory. Many have family members already in Israel -- some of whom they haven't seen in years. At least as the story reports it, they are quite glad to have made the move.
The Jewish community in Iran is the most vibrant in the Middle East (excluding Israel, obviously), and is actually treated fairly well. But there have been some reports of discrimination, and the community is definitely nervous about President Ahmadinejad's increasingly strident and hard-line stance against Israel, which they think runs a serious risk of a domestic backlash against Iranian Jews.
On the one hand, these people are my sisters and brothers, and I want them to feel secure wherever they live. And, more than anything else, isn't that Israel's purpose? To provide a haven for Jews who don't feel safe in their land of birth? So in that sense, I am happy that they are in a place where they don't have to look over their shoulders for being Jewish.
But at the same time, it's disheartening why they felt they had to move. There are, to be sure, many good reasons as a Jew to move to Israel. Personal security is definitely one, but it should not have to be. Security aside, I am glad there is an Israel -- a place where Jews are the norm and not the margin, a place where we're in control of our own destiny. But yet, I don't want to move there. I prefer to make my contributions in America, because I think I and my people have something to add to our delightful cultural mosaic. And I wish that other countries recognized that too. Some countries (albeit usually inartfully) say they specifically want Jews to move there. I want us to be wanted. I want us to contribute to the flourishing of Israel, and the US, and France, and Japan, and yes, Iran. So even though I support the right of any Jew to emigrate to Israel, for any reason, at some level I want to maintain the diaspora as well.