Fleeing the Holocaust, economics sophomore Ayala Huber’s grandparents sought refuge and built a life in the state of Israel before it gained its independence in 1948. In July of 2000, Huber’s family left Israel for what they thought would only be a few years and moved to America.
Huber immigrated to Houston with her family when she was 3 years old. But even though she left Israel at a young age, she always felt an incredible connection to her Israeli immigrant identity.
“I only became a citizen less than a month ago, so I didn’t always feel like I could say I was an American,” Huber said. “I grew up (in the United States), so yes, I’m an American; but no, I’m not an American. I’m still an Israeli.”
Fluent in Hebrew and a pro-Israel activist, Huber said her Israeli identity comes first. She often struggles with ignorant criticisms of her home country.
“I’ve had times where I felt like I needed to be ashamed of where I was from, and it hits hard,” Huber said. “These sweeping generalizations and assumptions of my people and my culture are so painful because immediate judgments of the government end up affecting the view of the people.”
Despite the controversies surrounding Israel, Huber said she is always mindful and appreciative for the personal, familial and historical importance of her home country. Huber said while she loves her newfound American citizenship and identity, she cannot wait to return to Israel and join the Israeli Defense Forces post-graduation.
“I was raised here, so I’m happy to say I’m finally an American citizen. It’s great especially because now I’m even prouder of where I come from,” Huber said. “I became happier to be an Israeli and happy to be an American; and I am so happy to have both.”