Original article by Rivkah Lambert Adler (excerpt):
As evidenced by the title, Just Get On That Plane: Aliyah. And Why You Need to Make It. Right Now! by Yaakov ‘Yanky’ Greenspan is a quasi-belligerent approach to aliyah.
Greenspan is actually a pseudonym for the author who calls the book a “literary sledgehammer.”
Its controversial, aggressive tone was intentional. Greenspan hopes it captures the reader’s interest in a way other books about aliyah fail to.
In an interview with Shmuli Rubinstein of AfterAliyah.com, he said, “Greenspan is sort of a lighthearted caricature of a right to far right American immigrant to Israel. He’s kind of a synthesis of a few real people.” Even Greenspan’s face on social media “was generated by an artificial intelligence (AI) algorithm.”
Describing his motivation, Greenspan said, “I felt that the Jewish world needed as blunt and undiplomatic a text as possible that would encourage Jews living in the Diaspora to make aliyah. The central message I tried to get across is that I think it’s crazy – when we finally have a state of our own – that there are Jews in the world who have never even thought about living here. “
“The book frames Zionism in the very simple terms that I think about it.”
“After 2,000 years, our state is re-established. Not at least thinking about living here or coming on a pilot trip is crazy. Of course, I realize that there are anti-Zionist Jews. Not everybody is amenable to pro-aliyah messaging. But I know that there are those who are and who needed something more direct. We tend to skirt around the issue of why moving to Israel makes sense. The book cuts straight to the chase – it’s the only place the Jewish people can call home.”
Greenspan, who wrote in the book’s introduction, “The only vitamin that counts in Israel is spirituality,” feels that there are two specific audiences for his volume:
1) The first is parents and grandparents whose children still live in the Diaspora. “Just Get On That Plane is like this annoying book that they buy for them at Hanukkah to try to pressure them into coming. Basically [it’s] a way to nag them.”
2) “The second target market is the Jews of Diaspora themselves. I also include in this market Israelis living abroad. Even though the book is written in English, I think they could benefit from reading it.”
Greenspan is disinclined to use anything other than the Zionist argument to encourage people to consider aliyah.“I’m very much against framing aliyah in anything but positive terms. We shouldn’t make aliyah because of antisemitism, nor because of COVID, even though, practically speaking, those things might provide the immediate impetus.
The only reason for the Jewish people to move to Israel is because it’s their homeland. The significance of COVID, to my eyes, is that it showed that the gates to the State of Israel can be closed. The book tries to emphasize that this should serve as a warning to the Jewish Diaspora.”
He acknowledges that the book’s tone is “totally offensive to the target audience – but, perhaps oddly effective in the process.”