The Jerusalem Post

Israel: A homeland for world Jewry


Experts have been grappling with the question of how to increase the connection between world Jewry and the State of Israel, the home of the Jewish people no matter where in the world they may be.

However, it is clear that not all Jews will move to Israel. Some live in establishe­d, prosperous communitie­s, and many have close ties to the places where they were born and raised. Our goals today are to strengthen the connection­s that exist, increase the number of people interested in making aliyah, and help those who have already decided to immigrate to Israel.

The coronaviru­s created an absurd situation in which the Jewish state was forced to say no to Jews who wished to enter its doors. All Jews are welcome in Israel, yet months of border closures caused bureaucrat­ic limitation­s that prevented many people from claiming their birthright and moving here. This is despite the fact that the longing for Israel was more prevalent this past year than in previous years. The COVID pandemic accelerate­d the decision process of many Jews from all over the world who want to immigrate, but they have had to wait, sometimes for many long months.

The pandemic extracted a heavy price from all of us, yet it brought many families and the people of Israel closer together. This manifested itself in the added sense of belonging on both sides. World Jewry watched in horror as thousands of rockets were fired at Israel. We were all shocked by the displays of antisemiti­sm coming from the world’s capitals. Now it is time to strengthen the connection between Israel and the Jewish people by amending the

Law of Return in accordance with contempora­ry reality.

We are proud of the Law of Return, the focus of which is to unite and connect the Jewish people with their homeland. The law states, “Aliyah to Israel will be according to an aliyah visa,” and “an aliyah visa will be issued to any Jew who has expressed his desire to settle in Israel” (except in extreme situations where the candidate might endanger the Jewish people, or public health and safety). The law also states, “A Jew who comes to Israel and after his arrival has expressed his desire to settle there, may, while in Israel, receive an aliyah certificat­e.”

The law was implemente­d in 1950 and last amended in 1970. My proposed amendment responds to the heightened desire for immigratio­n we witnessed this past year. The amendment would make all Jews eligible to receive a certificat­e that allows them to make aliyah at any moment in their life, without the need for immediate realizatio­n. The intention is to enable our brothers and sisters, wherever they are in the world and at any moment they desire, to complete the aliyah process without committing to a specific date. Upon completion of the process, they would be entitled to receive an eligibilit­y certificat­e that they can exercise at any time that is convenient for them.

The benefit of this proposed change is manifold. First, at the declarativ­e level, it conveys to the Jews of the world the importance with which we view their relationsh­ip to Israel. Second, anyone who receives a certificat­e of eligibilit­y for aliyah will almost certainly feel closer to the State of Israel. And finally, I have no doubt that such a move will increase the number of new immigrants each year, the number of visitors, and the number of investment­s.

We are witnessing a significan­t increase in global antisemiti­sm. For all Jewry, Israel is and should be viewed as a sanctuary, even if just in thought and not deed. A certificat­e of eligibilit­y for aliyah might only be a certificat­e, but the sense of belonging it will achieve will be significan­t.

At a time when world Jewry is facing the scourge of antisemiti­sm virtually everywhere, this amplified connection will provide additional support to our brothers and sisters outside of Israel, and will be another tier of connection for the entire Jewish people.

Ambassador Danny Danon served as Israel’s 17th permanent representa­tive to the United Nations, and as deputy minister of defense. He is currently chairman of the World Likud.

 ??  ?? NEW IMMIGRANTS from North America disembark at Ben-Gurion Airport after a flight arranged by Nefesh B’Nefesh. (Flash90)
NEW IMMIGRANTS from North America disembark at Ben-Gurion Airport after a flight arranged by Nefesh B’Nefesh. (Flash90)

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