Full Disclosure:

It  was just before the  Seder more than 50 years ago that my father called me in Madison with the news:  

A letter of acceptance at Hebrew University for the Fall semester Jerusalem

My Bones shuddered.

Next Year in Jerusalem  would be 
this year in Jerusalem.

 The Seder took on new meaning

Yet Fellow Jews at the  Hillel seder in Madison were not impressed.

What I noted in a 1970 diary entry was ” the willingness of fellow  Jews to

live in slavery”


Most Jews  do not view israel as a step up from slavery.

Unlike other enslaved peoples, the Torah goes out its way, throughout the book of Genesis, to emphasize that  Jacob and his children, relocated to Egypt on their own accord, as a free people,  seeking  sustenance – for which they were ready to subject themselves  to a voluntary servitude of their souls.

“We shall be slaves to you, Pharoah!” היינו עבדים לפרעה  (Gen. 47:25) proclaim the people of Israel, represents the  opposite  theme of the Seder,   “We were slaves to Pharoah”

The Hebrew context of “willing servitude” says it best:

The Jews cried out:

היינו עבדים לפרעה

A full  generation before they cried out

עבדים היינו לפרעה

The Israelites  understood  slavemy in Egypt as a lifesaving moment

Therefore, Torah commentaries postulate  that only 20% of the Israelites chose to leave Egypt

Another reason to remain in Egypt was articulated on page 11 of the tractate Rosh Hashanah, which was  that the physical bondage of the people of Israel ended on Rosh Hashanah, seven months before the exodus from Egypt.

And Pharoah did not lift the spiritual oppression of the Jews when  he  ended their physical abuse as  slaves.

Pharoah offered to sustain descendants of Jacob in  Goshen,  as  slaves to  to the gods of Egypt

Indeed, the majority of Israelites opted for voluntary servitude in diaspora rather  than the  trials and tribulations of an uncertain trek to Israel.

In the “Amud HaAish”  TV  documentary series which documents the return of the Jews to Israel in the 20th century, Zionist leader Chaim Weizman laments   “Ayaecha”- “where are you” – to the people of Israel for not flocking  to Israel after the 1917 Balfour Declaration and the 1922 San Remo Conference, which bestowed international recognition and welcome  for the Jews to return.

Jews prefer voluntary servitude in suburban Goshen to life in Israel. Is that in their DNA?.

The challenge of the Jew is to reject that DNA.


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David Bedein is an MSW community organizer and an investigative journalist.   In 1987, Bedein established the Israel Resource News Agency at Beit Agron to accompany foreign journalists in their coverage of Israel, to balance the media lobbies established by the PLO and their allies.   Mr. Bedein has reported for news outlets such as CNN Radio, Makor Rishon, Philadelphia Inquirer, Los Angeles Times, BBC and The Jerusalem Post, For four years, Mr. Bedein acted as the Middle East correspondent for The Philadelphia Bulletin, writing 1,062 articles until the newspaper ceased operation in 2010. Bedein has covered breaking Middle East negotiations in Oslo, Ottawa, Shepherdstown, The Wye Plantation, Annapolis, Geneva, Nicosia, Washington, D.C., London, Bonn, and Vienna. Bedein has overseen investigative studies of the Palestinian Authority, the Expulsion Process from Gush Katif and Samaria, The Peres Center for Peace, Peace Now, The International Center for Economic Cooperation of Yossi Beilin, the ISM, Adalah, and the New Israel Fund.   Since 2005, Bedein has also served as Director of the Center for Near East Policy Research.   A focus of the center's investigations is The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). In that context, Bedein authored Roadblock to Peace: How the UN Perpetuates the Arab-Israeli Conflict - UNRWA Policies Reconsidered, which caps Bedein's 28 years of investigations of UNRWA. The Center for Near East Policy Research has been instrumental in reaching elected officials, decision makers and journalists, commissioning studies, reports, news stories and films. In 2009, the center began decided to produce short movies, in addition to monographs, to film every aspect of UNRWA education in a clear and cogent fashion.   The center has so far produced seven short documentary pieces n UNRWA which have received international acclaim and recognition, showing how which UNRWA promotes anti-Semitism and incitement to violence in their education'   In sum, Bedein has pioneered The UNRWA Reform Initiative, a strategy which calls for donor nations to insist on reasonable reforms of UNRWA. Bedein and his team of experts provide timely briefings to members to legislative bodies world wide, bringing the results of his investigations to donor nations, while demanding reforms based on transparency, refugee resettlement and the demand that terrorists be removed from the UNRWA schools and UNRWA payroll.   Bedein's work can be found at: and A new site,, will be launched very soon.