Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Sharon Calls for a Million Jewish Immigrants to Israel, Shuns the Unmentionable "E" Word

Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Sharon Calls for a Million Jewish Immigrants to Israel, Shuns the Unmentionable "E" Word

Article excerpt

Sharon Calls for a Million Jewish Immigrants to Israel, Shuns the Unmentionable "E" Word

"A Jew who leaves Israel for any reason and does not return for at least one visit within four years."--Israel's definition of emigrant

An Agence France-Presse story from the English-language daily Saudi Gazette on April 28 quotes Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon as saying, "If the Jewish people would make an effort...we would not have any problem bringing another million Jews here."

Sharon saw Argentina, Brazil, Mexico and Venezuela as countries from which immigrants might come to Israel.

Other countries mentioned as having Jewish communities included South Africa, France and Ukraine. A country Sharon did not mention was the United States.

Nor did he utter the unmentionable-in-Israel "E word": emigration.

The last report seen in the American media with any explicit numbers on emigration from Israel per year was in 1975. An Associated Press item carried in The New York Times on July 6 of that year had 20,000 "persons" having emigrated from Israel the previous year, 1974. In normal parlance "persons" can be people of any race, religion, age or gender. But since emigration from Israel applies only to Jews, the 20,000 figure is interpreted to mean Jews only.

In 1980 the Jewish Agency said Israel faced a "national emergency" because so many Israelis (500,000) were residing in the United States. The New York Times of Dec. 22, 1980 reported the national emergency story, but provided no information of yearly numbers of emigrants.

The heavily negative Hebrew word yordim (those who go down) is used to describe Jews who emigrate from Israel. …

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