Until the 1970s, Zionists of all political shades tended to be committed to the principle of shlilat ha’galut, translated as “negation of the exile.” The Israeli school curriculum promoted the idea.
In the 1970s, the language used was softened. People began to refer less to the galut, or “exile,” and more to the tefustot, or “Diaspora.” Nevertheless, there was a widespread belief that the future of the Jewish people lay in Israel and not in the Diaspora, and it was in this context that the Diaspora Museum was established.
Haifa University sociologist Oz Almog, an expert on contemporary Israel, told the Forward that the mindset today could not be more different: “Ask Israelis now what they think about Jews coming from countries where they aren’t persecuted, like the U.S. and Britain, to live in Israel, and they’ll say, ‘Those who do are nuts.’”
Hebrew University sociologist Vered Vinitzky-Seroussi said the fact that it has become commonplace for Israelis to move abroad, either permanently or for a stint, makes it contradictory for their families to look down on Diaspora Jews. More than this, she said that while Zionist ideology traditionally preached that Jews are vulnerable in the Diaspora, today, following two intifadas and various other attacks, “many people are not so sure that Israel is the safest place for Jews.”