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Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Israeli Immigrants: But you wouldn't want your daughter to marry one, would you?

http://zionism-israel.com/israel_news/2007/10/israeli-immigrants-but-you-wouldnt-want.html

The headline of this article is 'Israelis want Law of Return unchanged' but  one cannot be sure that that is really true.
 
What it actually says:
 
Of those questioned, 81 percent said Israel should maintain the original wording of the Law of Return, which states that anyone with at least one Jewish parent or grandparent, as well as spouses of the aforementioned, are entitled to citizenship.

Only 15% of respondents said it was time for Israel to create new criteria for citizenship based on characteristics such as professional training and family status.
Well OK, but if they had asked, "should anyone who feels Jewish and is ready to serve in the army be allowed to become a citizen?," they might have gotten a different reply. Today, non-Jews may become citizens at the discretion of the Ministry of the Interior. There are no objective criteria.
 
The following is interesting, because it indicates what I think is a strong trend in Judaism, both in Israel and abroad:
 
On the issue of who is a Jew, 55.8% said they believed Israel should more readily embrace those not considered Jewish according to halacha. The same number said that even if a new immigrant were not considered Jewish halachicly, he or she should still be allowed to marry a Jew in Israel; 36% said mixed marriages should not be allowed.
The following is amusing:
 
Despite that, only 22.5% said they would prefer a president born in Israel...
 
This question must've been composed by someone who thinks like an American. Of Israeli presidents, only Yitzhak Navon and Ezer Weizman were born in mandatory Palestine. The rest were born abroad - Russia, Iran and Ireland. And this one is even odder:
 
...and 74.5% claimed that their future son- or daughter-in-law's country of origin was not important.
Now you wouldn't want your daughter to marry some immigrant like David Ben-Gurion or Menachem Begin, would you?? And can you imagine the disgrace if your son married a foreigner like Golda Meir
 
Ami Isseroff





      Ruth Eglash , THE JERUSALEM POST  Oct. 9, 2007

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The majority of Israelis have no desire to change the Law of Return, and more than half believe that Israel should do more to accept and integrate those not considered halachicly Jewish, according to a survey published this week by the Ministry of Immigrant Absorption.

The study - conducted ahead of the ministry's first-ever conference examining immigrant absorption and aliya, which will be held next Tuesday and Wednesday in Ashdod - quizzed a representative sample of 516 veteran Jewish Israelis on their views vis-à-vis olim.

Of those questioned, 81 percent said Israel should maintain the original wording of the Law of Return, which states that anyone with at least one Jewish parent or grandparent, as well as spouses of the aforementioned, are entitled to citizenship.

Only 15% of respondents said it was time for Israel to create new criteria for citizenship based on characteristics such as professional training and family status.

On the issue of who is a Jew, 55.8% said they believed Israel should more readily embrace those not considered Jewish according to halacha. The same number said that even if a new immigrant were not considered Jewish halachicly, he or she should still be allowed to marry a Jew in Israel; 36% said mixed marriages should not be allowed.

"The success of immigration to Israel depends more on absorption into Israeli society than anything else," commented Jewish Agency Chairman Ze'ev Bielski, who in the past has called for Orthodox Judaism to be more accepting of some 275,000 Former Soviet Union immigrants who came to Israel under the Law of
Return but who are not Jews according to halacha.

Bielski also said that the study raised some tough questions about the public image of new immigrants, especially because the study showed that 63% of those questioned admitted prejudice exists against new olim.

Despite that, only 22.5% said they would prefer a president born in Israel, and 74.5% claimed that their future son- or daughter-in-law's country of origin was not important.

Furthermore, 56% believed the country needed to invest more resources to ensure more successful immigrant absorption, and the majority said they believed aliya was essential to keeping Israel strong and fixing the demographic imbalance with the local Arab population.

"This study shows us that the Israeli public loves the idea of aliya but does not love the olim," said Immigrant Absorption Minister Ya'acov Edri. "It is the duty of all governments to continue investing its resources and making aliya a top priority."

Next week's Aliya and Absorption Conference in Ashdod has been organized jointly by the Ministry of Immigrant Absorption, the Jewish Agency, the Ashdod municipality and Bar Ilan University. More than 200 professionals in the field of immigration are expected to participate, as is Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.



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