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Scapegoating Immigrants Wasn't Invented By Trump Or Hitler-- Let's Look At India And Israel Today

Far right political leaders Modi and Netanyahu

You’ve probably read about serious riots in India in the last week-- and if you’ve been online much, you have probably come to see that many people are openly referring to Prime Minister Narendra Modi as a fascist and genocidist, something DWT readers have known for over 2 decades. India has over 200 million Muslims and the Modi government has always been eager to target them. A new law, the Citizenship Amendment Act passed in early December, offering amnesty to non-Muslim illegal immigrants from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.

There have been massive protests in Delhi, Chennai (Madras), Bangalore, Jaipur (where 300,000 people took to the streets) and Kolkata (Calcutta), not to mention throughout the states of Assam and Uttar Pradesh.

In India, scapegoating and ratcheting up the hatred and bigotry is backfiring on Modi and his government. This kind of thing is slightly less obvious in Israel, which has better p.r. than Modi’s government. A few days ago Haaretz reported that a government report classifies more than a third of immigrants to Israel as “not Jewish,” although most actually are Jewish. It’s a matter of definition... and government aid. Jews from Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and the U.S. have been having trouble being accepted as “legitimate” Jews and getting automatic citizenship and welfare. Even the right to marry is in jeopardy. Presumably, 2018 marked the first time in Israel’s history when Jewish immigrants were outnumbered by non-Jewish immigrants, although most of the non-Jewish immigrants self-identify as Jews. Since independence in 1948, Israel has welcomed over 3 million immigrants.

More than one out of three immigrants moving to Israel since 2012 is not considered Jewish by the state, according to figures published on Tuesday by the Interior Ministry’s Population Registry. Among immigrants originating from the former Soviet Union, who account for the majority of immigrants to Israel in recent years, the share was significantly higher.

The Interior Ministry, which does not typically publish such figures, was forced to release them in response to a Freedom of Information Act request submitted by Hiddush, an organization that advocates for religious freedom in Israel. But the initial figures, which Hiddush published on Monday, contained glaring errors that were quickly picked up on by organizations active in aliyah.

According to the updated figures, 61 percent of immigrants arriving from Russia since 2012 and 66 percent of those coming from Ukraine are not considered Jewish by the state. By contrast, fewer than 5 percent of those moving to Israel from the United States fit this definition. Among immigrants from France-- another major source of aliyah during the period in question-- under 4 percent were considered not Jewish.

During the period in question, a total of 199,876 immigrants became Israeli citizens under the Law of Return. Among them, 37.5 percent were registered as not Jewish.

To qualify as Jewish under the Law of Return, which governs eligibility for aliyah, an individual must have either been born to a Jewish mother or converted to Judaism in a recognized Jewish community. Although all such converts are registered as Jewish in the Population Registry, if they were not converted by rabbis approved by the Orthodox-run Chief Rabbinate, they are prohibited from marrying other Jews in Israel. Therefore, the percentage of immigrants deemed ineligible to marry other Jews in Israel among those who arrived in the country in the last eight years is likely higher than 37.5 percent (although no exact figures were provided by the Interior Ministry).

Under the Law of Return, the spouses, children and grandchildren of Jews are allowed to immigrate to Israel, even if they do not fit the Population Registry’s definition of Jewish. These individuals belong to a category designated as “other” or “no religion” by the Population Registry and Central Bureau of Statistics.

According to estimates published by Prof. Sergio DellaPergola of Hebrew University, Israel’s leading demographer, a total of 426,700 Israeli citizens, or just under 5 percent of the total population, currently fall into this rather bizarre category. Because only a small percentage of these “others” opt to convert to Judaism, and given their childbearing rate, their numbers have been growing by thousands every year.

Responding to the Population Registry figures, Rabbi Seth Farber, the founder and executive director of ITIM— an organization that advocates for immigrants— said: “The numbers reflect the new reality of Jewish peoplehood:  There are tens of thousands of people who identify as Jews and seek to tie their destiny to the Jewish future and the Jewish state, but do not meet the halakhic definition of Jewish [meaning under traditional Jewish religious law]. The State of Israel and the halakhic community have a great responsibility to find ways to enable these individuals and families to join the halakhic community-- should they seek to. The diversity represented in these numbers is real, and we must create conversion reform in Israel. The alternative is to blind ourselves to the future of the Jewish people and to our present reality.”

Israel is in a serious demographic war with Arabs-- who have a much higher birthrate than Israeli Jews-- and the only way to keep up has been to vigorously encourage non-Muslim immigrants. There were over 37,000 in 2018 and Israel is on track to increase that by 20% this year. In 2018, about 10,500 people came from Russia, 6,400 from Ukraine, 2,400 each from the U.S. and from France. Meanwhile, Israel has completely shut off asylum seekers from Africa. Not a single one was admitted in 2018.

Source: 
Down With Tyranny

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