Member of neo-Nazi group in Israel
Photo courtesy of Israel Police

Don't touch Law of Return

Neo-Nazi gang should not prompt us to change immigration laws

The prime minister's logic went on vacation this week. By all indications this logic worked well in managing the current clash with Syria, and is even continuing to do so by effectively maintaining vagueness and silence on the part of ministers and senior officers surrounding the affair.


However, when the cabinet decided to devote part of its recent meeting to the gang of neo-Nazi psychopaths in Petach Tikva, Ehud Olmert blurted out in an almost single breath: "We as a society have failed in the education of our youngsters," and "we have to deal with these isolated cases with the most severe measures."


If the said cases are indeed isolated – and this has yet to be proven otherwise, without detracting from the severity and insanity of the events – how could it be that "we as a society failed in our education"? If the failure belongs to all of society, how could these events just be "isolated cases" which can be treated without shaking up the entire system and without a Winograd-style Commission (to use a relevant analogy)?


The prime minister's logical stumble may be forgiven in face of the burden he is carrying nowadays. On the other hand, it is difficult to ignore the logical and moral failure of those now calling to modify the Law of Return because of the pranks of a few youngsters suffering from severe mental disturbances.


Similar to any bill formulated by politicians, even this bill is not immune to amendment. This holds particularly true regarding amendments that have been added in the course of time with regards to the definition of "Who is a Jew?" which ought to be under constant review.


Blatant contradiction

However, calls to amend the bill based on isolated events by a group of local neo-Nazi thugs are tainted by frightening and varied connotations. And this is not only due to the high number of immigrants from the former USSR among the heroes of last summer's war.


One such connotation is the most blatant contradiction between the calls of "let us not incriminate an entire population group" (rightfully uttered by the prime minister this week) and the thought of revoking the Law of Return for those who only have one Jewish parent. Israeli citizens who meet this criteria do indeed comprise "an entire population group," and an amendment to the Law of Return in the current context will clearly incriminate them without due cause.


All the members of this population, apart from this tiny group, did nothing to disrupt public order and did not undermine the State's security or symbols. Certainly not like some kosher Jews whose genealogy may be traced back to Abraham our forefather, yet despite this they continue to run crime rings and murder unwitting citizens.


Another connotation relates to something quite contrary to Nazi doctrines and the Nazi practice that led the grandchildren of a Jewish grandfather to the gas chambers. We won't learn the definition of Judaism from them, yet they shouldn't cause us to refrain from intelligently utilizing the welcomed potential of increasing the Jewish population in Israel.


Religious Knesset Members Zevulun Orlev and Effie Eitam should keep this in mind before they cling on to "our" neo-Nazi wagon in order demand modifications to the Law of Return.


And we still have not mentioned those who think that an opportunity to abolish the Law of Return in its entirety has been presented.


"Isn't the attitude of Israeli society to ethnic Jewish origins, that is, Jewish ethnocentricity…an indirect or direct reason for the scary phenomenon we're discussing now" historian Moshe Zimmerman wrote this week. Namely, the incident stems from the fact that we are a Jewish state. On second thoughts, this foolish intellectual babble is enough to leave the Law of Return untouched.


פרסום ראשון: 09.14.07, 08:05
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