The Forward is running a piece about an Orthodox school in New York sending some of its students to a religious Israeli school to experience Israeli realities and to improve their Hebrew.
Next year, the Israeli school is due to send four of its own students to the American school in a return visit:
In fact the school... has a blanket ban on overseas school trips, as it abides by a religious-Zionist view that it is prohibited, under normal circumstances, to leave the Land of Israel. But both West Bank institutions are making exceptions for this visit.
“Rabbi Eitan Eiseman, the head of the Tzvia-Noam school network... has said time and time again that for halachic reasons we should not allow our students to leave Israel,” Rachel Kaplan, principal of Ulpanat Tzvia, told the Forward. “But an exception was made for the exchange program with the Yeshiva University high schools because the students are leaving Israel as shlichim [emissaries] of the Jewish people, with the goal of enhancing the lives of their American counterparts with Israeli culture and the Israeli experience.”
I strongly object to this attitude to the diaspora, particularly condescending when we are talking about a school in one of the most heavily 'Jewish' areas of America, with exceptionally strong Jewish infrastructure and Jewish life. It never occurs to her that her students have something to learn from the American school and the American community - perhaps about community life or modern Orthodox values. They are simply there to teach the ignorant, quivering diaspora Jews.
Maybe Mrs Kaplan should join the students in their trip to America. She might be astounded by what she finds.