Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Israeli Interior Minister Wants To End Israel As A Jewish Refuge
Just when you think the Olmert government's Malice-In-Wonderland quality can sink no lower, they surprise you.
Here, we have the Olmert governments' Interior Minister Meir Sheetrit coming up with a nifty idea..ending the idea of Israel as a homeland and refuge for Jews.
Appearing at the Jewish Agency's Board of Governors meeting in Jerusalem on Tuesday, Sheetrit said he believed "Israel should no longer grant automatic citizenship for Jews".
What Sheetrit is talking about is changing one of Israel's core principles, the Law of Return which says that any Jew world wide can look on Israel as a refuge and be granted immediate asylum and citizenship. This is a direct outgrowth of the experience of the Holocaust, where the death toll was as great as it was because Britain cut off immigration to Palestine, and Jews trapped in Europe were unable to get visas to other countries to escape the Nazis.
Sheerit also had a few choice remarks to make about `filtering out' those allowed to enter the country. "Don't go finding me any lost tribes, because I won't let them in anymore," he declared. "We have enough problems in Israel. Let them go to America."
Sheetrit directly mentioned organizations such as the North American Conference for Ethiopian Jewry and Shavei Israel, which finds groups of Jewish descent around the world like the Bnei Menashe in India and brings them to Israel...which gives you an idea of Sheetrit's agenda.
Oddly enough, Sheetrit's family hails originally from Morocco, and if what he favors had been in effect back in the 1950's,he'd have been locked out of Israel...just like he wants to do to those so-called `lost tribes'.
Thankfully, Sheetrit's little screed attracted the scorn and disdain it deserved.
Several participants in the Board of Governors meeting walked out of the hall in protest during the speech, which also included criticism of the Jewish Agency, which is an umbrella organization that has attracting Jews from the Diaspora to emigrate to Israel as its core mission. According to a spokesman for Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews leader "walked out because of the comments about Ethiopians and the minister's calling the agency irrelevant. He wanted to express his disagreement and discomfort over the insulting content of the speech."
The Agency itself as a whole officially distanced itself from Sheetrit's comments...although they were fairly polite about it, given that he's the Interior Minister.
"The agency supports the continued existence of the Law of Return, which [has been] the soul of the State of Israel since its inception," read an agency statement.
Others weren't so discreet.
Shavei Israel head Michael Freund called Sheetrit's comments "post-Zionism in its ugliest form. They are an outrage. They show that he simply doesn't understand what this country is all about, which is serving as a homeland and a refuge for the entire Jewish people."
Regarding the comment on lost tribes, Freund said, "Mr. Sheetrit has never bothered to explore or even study the issue of the lost tribes, such as the Bnei Menashe, nor has he ever met with any members of the community, so I find it simply astonishing that he would so irresponsibly determine their fate without even bothering to investigate the issue."
I'd be willing to bet that the vast majority of Israelis are proud of Israel's record on redeeming Jewish populations from Ethiopia, the Soviet Union, Yemen and other areas where Jews have been subjected to harsh discrimination...and worse. it's part of what Israel has been all about from the start.
Best selling author, Holocaust survivor and Nobel Peace Prize winner Elie Wiesel once said that to him, the holiest spot in Israel wasn't the Western Wall, but the little booths at Lod and Ben-Gurion airports with a Jewish customs officer stamping entry visas.
This foul Kadima apparatchnik has no conception of what that means,or indeed what Israel means. Yet, he'll stay in power, just like Olmert will because enough Knesset members - like Sheetrit - know that they'd get tossed out of office in a heartbeat if the country went to new elections right now.
But soon come, like the song says. Soon come.