Contributed by CAMERA Intern, Rebecca Pritzker:
“A 21st Century Exodus: Dina’s Journey From Alexandria to Jerusalem” summarizes Dina Ovadia’s heartwarming life story – a story filled with harsh rejection, displacement, and eventually, homecoming.
Dina Ovadia was born and raised in Alexandria, Egypt. She, like many other Egyptian children, went to school and even learned some Muslim scriptures. All the while, though, she felt that she was different, and she longed for acceptance.
As prejudice against Jews mounted, however, Dina and her family were eventually banished from the country. It was not until then that she discovered that she was Jewish.
Dina currently lives in Israel and is a member of the IDF. She now has a home alongside fellow Jews.
Israel, the Jewish homeland, serves as a home for many displaced Jewish refugees, including Dina Ovadia. It is in Israel that they find refuge from intolerance and even persecution in certain Diaspora countries that they once called home.
For Jews, Israel has been a sacred homeland ever since G-d commanded Abraham to settle and raise a family in Canaan. Today, any Jewish person has the legal right to become an Israeli citizen. Visit Israel today, and you will encounter Jews of all conceivable backgrounds—Sephardi, Ashkenazi, Russian, American, Ethiopian, and more—living side by side.
But Israel also opens her doors to refugees of all faiths and ethnicities. Israel, despite her size, is remarkably diverse.
Visit Haifa, and you will witness Druze learning and living alongside Jews. Visit Hebrew University in Jerusalem, one of the nation’s most prestigious learning institutions, and you will observe Muslim students learning alongside Jewish students, both eagerly working to earn a higher education.
And yet, Israel faces countless accusations—of apartheid and of racism to name a few. Would these displays of tolerance and diversity occur in a racist, apartheid state?
Israel was deemed the freest country in the Middle East. Indeed, Israel is home to many Arab citizens—some of whom were once considered refugees—even though neighboring Middle Eastern countries often do not reciprocate to Jews.
Israel is and always has been a homeland and a refuge to many.