‘Losttribes’ nolonger welcome
ISRAEL SHOULD amend the Law of Return, which grant’s automatic citizenship to those of Jewish ancestry, Interior Minister Meir Sheetrit said this week.
“I want to see that [the immigrant] is not a criminal, that he’s learning Hebrew, that he’s here for five years before getting citizenship,” he told a meeting of the Jewish Agency’s Board of Governors in Jerusalem.
He stressed that resources should be focused on improving the “miserable” lives of many new immigrants instead. And he chose to pour scorn on attempts to bring so-called “lost tribes”— who while not halachically Jewish claim they are of Jewish descent — to Israel.
“Don’t go finding me any lost tribes, because I won’t let them in any more,” he said. “We have enough problems in Israel. Let them go to America.”
The Law of Return, which allows anyone with a Jewish parent or grandparent to move to Israel, came under scrutiny recently with the exposure of a cell of neo-Nazis in the city of Petah Tikva. The young group of right-wing extremists were all from the former Soviet Union, an issue that Mr Sheetrit referred to in his speech as one reason to tighten up the law.
Mr Sheetrit — who was himself born in Morocco — also claimed there were many cases of immigrants illegally exploiting the swathe of benefits available for those who made aliyah.
The Jewish Agency, which promotes and manages aliyah to Israel, was quick to distance itself from the ministers comments and emphasised that its policy was still to support the Law of Return.