Deporting a Kibbutznik

I somehow missed this intriguing (albeit depressing) news item about a Japanese woman who came to Israel as a kibbutz volunteer on Samar (the legendary “hippy-anarchist” kibbutz north of Eilat), married a kibbutznik, and a few years later admitted to authorities that she and her husband were divorcing, after she had lived off and on in Israel for a decade. She was promptly ordered to be deported and forced to leave Israel this March.

All this, despite the fact that the kibbutz had elected her as a member by an unprecedented majority because members thought the dance instructor was such a vital member of their community. The kibbutz has protested the government’s decision and plans to keep her membership open for as long as it takes her to be allowed to return—which might be some time, if ever.

“I have no status in Israel now,” she said. “My situation is the same as Palestinians who need invitaions from Israelis and permission to come to Israel. And yes, the way the country is being run is a certain reflection of its people, this is true. But I have become connected to the Israeli way of life, to how people open their hearts straight away. I loved my life in Israel and I want to return to my home.”