Sunday, December 19, 2004

Closing off opportunities for Russian immigrants

I find the Israeli government's now successful campaign to stop Germany accepting so many Jewish immigrants from the FSU extremely offensive. You may or may not agree that Israel is the natural place for all Jews to live, but Israel has no right to try and force people who do not want to move there to do so. The enormous wave of Aliya from the FSU in the past decade and a half has shown that Russian Jews who want to have no compunctions about moving to Israel. Unfortunately, Israel isn't for everyone and Russian Jews who choose to go elsewhere have every right to do so.
If Israel thinks that more Jewish immigrants should be coming its way, perhaps it should do more to create economic opportunities for them and more to genuinely integrate already existing immigrants. Taking in people who see Israel as their second choice and who resent Israel for deliberately closing off opportunities for them to go elsewhere is not going to result in successful Aliya in any case.
(For another take on why Israel's campaign was ill-advised, see Jewlicious.)

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