Coming to America
Yael Eckstein | July 7, 2021
It’s been two years since I have been able to travel outside of Israel. And what a time it has been: A coronavirus pandemic. The entire world locked down. War in Israel. Because of all these things, each trip to America that I planned during the past two years had to be canceled. But now, the moment is really happening. I’ve left the holy ground of Israel to come to America for work meetings and to once again see dear family, friends, and co-workers.
Goodbye to Israel
Entering Ben Gurion airport in Tel Aviv was a bittersweet moment for me. I felt happy that the world is finally opening up, and we will once again be able to experience that one-on-one, in-person contact that we’ve longed for so desperately during the pandemic.
But I also thought of how much the world has changed since I last went to the airport. Some people are mourning the death of loved ones. Ben Gurion, which is usually bustling with activity, was empty of the tourists and pilgrims to Israel who normally pack the halls. The few people who were there were all wearing masks. And there would be no “goodbye” calls to my dear abba, my father Rabbi Eckstein, so he could give me a farewell blessing.
As I looked out the window though, my perspective changed. A “Fly Dubai” airliner was parked near an El Al airplane (Israel’s national airline), with its Hebrew letters and Israeli flag. Tears welled up in my eyes, and I almost started crying tears of joy.
Never in my life have I seen, nor did I ever expect to see, an airliner from Dubai in Israel, because until a year ago, Dubai and Israel were considered enemies. Now, thanks to the Abraham Accords, we are friends. Now, seeing an airliner from Dubai in Israel will be a regular occurrence, the most normal sight in the world.
As I walked down the jet bridge to the airplane, pictures of my abba lined the walls – placards publicizing The Fellowship’s lifesaving work. I thought of the years he spent overcoming the animosity between Christians and Jews by building bridges of understanding. Now, Israel is building bridges between nations, even those we considered enemies. What an amazing time to be alive.
I felt my abba’s farewell blessings over me. And God’s reminder as well, that as dark as this world has become, there is still so much new light in Zion.
Welcome to Israel, Fly Dubai. How wonderful, prophetic, and blessed we are to have you! May we come to see the day when “peace like a river” will cover Israel, the Middle East, America, and the entire world.
Hello, America, and lehitraot (goodbye), Israel. I will be back soon, my home, my beloved Holy Land.