Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Jewish 'Law of Return' loopholes raise concerns

The new Interior Minister of Israel, Meir Sheetrit, decries the number of "quasi-Jews" infiltrating the Holy Land. African refugees and Russians who lack traditionally Jewish roots make him jittery about demographics. There's a white-hot discussion about who should be allowed to make aliyah over on Ynetnews

"It's time to bring only Jews to Israel," newly elected Interior Minister Meir Sheetrit said Friday in an interview with Yedioth Ahronoth, and called for a new discussion on the Law of Return. "If we don't discuss these issues now, within a few years Israel will no longer be the State of the Jews."

New immigration minister cites forgeries as reason for examining existing criteria. 'It's obvious that some immigrants haven't the slightest connection to Judaism' he says

Sheetrit said he was shocked to discover statistics about the number of non-Jews living in the country.

"Seventy percent of emigrants from the Former Soviet Union are not Jewish, the Falash Mura continue to pour in from Ethiopia, Jewish organizations roam the world and bring here quasi-Jews from all sorts of tribes, thousands of illegal residents from the Palestinian Authority live and work here uninterrupted, and thousands Africans infiltrate to Israel, when only a minority are Darfur refugees," he stated.

Sheetrit, who took up the position last week, said it was time for Israel to decide who it wants to see living here. "We retuned to our homeland after 2,000 years in exile in order to build a Jewish, Zionist state here, not a Foreign Legionaries country. Entrance to the country should not be automatic." His main concern, he stated, was that Israel might lose it Jewish majority due to reckless immigration policies.

According to Sheetrit, Israel should institutionalize a mechanism that would examine candidates for aliyah and make sure they are Jewish, and also that they have a clean record.

How would you decide who should be allowed in and who shouldn't?

"The way I see it, it is our duty to accept every Jew who wants to and is capable of coming here, on the condition that he feels he shares our destiny and wants his children to live here. Additionally, other criteria must be set, for instance 'criminality tests.' I don't want any criminal being imported here."

Sheetrit stated he was considering introducing citizenship tests in Israel, as well as obligating new immigrants to swear allegiance to the state. However, he added that he opposed using financial criteria, because "the Jewish and Zionist element is till the most important one."

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