Interior Minister Yishai. Racially pure attitude
Photo: Hagai Aharon

In praise of immigrants

Op-ed: Israel’s anti-immigrant approach incommensurate with contemporary world

Germany’s national soccer team became such an Israeli favorite because of the fact, among other reasons, that it’s less “German” than it used to be. With immigrants from Poland, Ghana, Turkey, and Tunisia on the pitch in the game against Ghana, one wonders which team Hitler would root for had he been alive.


A similar process turned France into the world’s best national soccer team in the 1990s. Yet a similar process will not turn Israel into the world’s best team in 2030, certainly if it depends on Minister Eli Yishai, who last week renewed his efforts to expel 1,200 children of work migrants from Israel.


An immigration policy is a matter that is too complex to be determined by the future contribution to our chances in the 2026 World Cup in Dubai, yet the contribution of immigrants and the children of immigrants to European soccer (they changed not only the quality, but also the style,) is merely one example of why we should not only be dealing with the “foreigners problem,” but also with the benefits they bring along with them.


Beyond the basic inhumanity and racist nonsense about disease and undermining our Jewish character, and beyond the immense actual difficulties posed by any immigration wave, the European (and Israeli) experience also reflects the positive aspects.


Trapped in a cave

Ethnic diversity contributes to culture, commerce, society, and sports. It also exposes people new flavors, different colors, and original thoughts. Dr. Yishai claims that foreigners spread disease? Well, at least they will diversity our illnesses.


The contemporary world features more immigrants worldwide than in any other period in history. The third millennium will belong to immigrants, and any kind of isolated and homogenous approach will merely keep those who adopt it behind.


Yishai, who already demonstrated his racially pure attitude in respect to his anti-immigrant actions and through his inaction on the Emmanuel discrimination affair, cannot comprehend this, obviously. He’s about 3,000 years behind the times. Yet he threatens to keep all of us trapped in a cave.


In an era where everyone moves from one place to another, Israel of all places – a state of immigrants itself – insists on being scared and closing the door to 21st Century immigrants. This isolationist and frightened approach, which is detached from the spirit of our time, will continue to keep us out of the global celebration after the multi-ethnic party in South Africa draws to an end.



פרסום ראשון: 07.10.10, 13:56
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