As reported a week ago, Knesset Minister and Yamina party (Rightist party) member Bezalel Smotrich endeavored to introduce a new bill into law which would dramatically change the secular Law of Return, omitting that the grandchildren of Jews also have the right to immigrate to Israel. On the same day that the bill was introduced, it was knocked down for lack of support, causing most fair-minded Israeli citizens to breathe a sigh of relief.
So it is truly mind-boggling to read in today’s leading Hebrew newspaper, Yediot Ahronot that the bill has been resurrected by the government in the hope of reviving the change to the Law of Return, not as a private effort of one Knesset member but rather as a collective government effort to further disenfranchise those whose Jewish blood is not thick enough or pure enough.
Upon the unfolding of these extremely controversial events, Yesh Atid leader, Yair Lapid forcefully voiced his outrage that such a measure could even be contemplated. He indignantly shouted out the question, “Who are you to decide who is Jewish enough? You will not tell us how to be Jews!” In fact, he opened up the fiery discussion by quoting Ezekiel 47:22, “You shall divide it by lot for an inheritance among yourselves and among the aliens who stay in your midst. And they shall be to you as the native-born among the sons of Israel; they shall be allotted an inheritance with you among the tribes of Israel.”
Lapid was essentially telling Smotrich that although he, as a practicing Orthodox Jew, alleges to know scripture, that he couldn’t possibly understand the spirit or depth of these words which are not a suggestion but rather the duty of the Jewish nation to count among us those who are part and parcel of us – in this case, through blood ancestry.
Lapid well knows about the Aryan racial purity beliefs, having been the son of a Holocaust survivor. Hitler asserted that the Aryan race was gifted above all other races and sought to elevate this race by adopting measures that would purify it even further. This included no mixed marriage and a rejection of what was deemed to be inferior characteristics which were said to be found in other races.
The plan was to raise up a pure breed which was superior in every way. While such a plan might be anathema to those who serve in the Israeli government, how is this present bill much different? It seeks to exclude those whose bloodline is an extra generation away from being fully Jewish and views them as not pure enough to be worthy of calling Israel their home.
The problem is that this will affect countless children and grandchildren who counted on the present Law of Return to be reunited with their families, especially now at a time when anti-Semitism is becoming rampant even in America. Just in recent days, it has been disclosed that the father of an African American shot by police is a rabid anti-Semite and ardent follower of Louis Farrakhan who is known for his deep hatred of Jews. This father, who now has been given a broad platform to spew forth his venomous positions, posted the following on social media, “The same pink toe Jews that control the interest rate, control the media. They control minds and money.” It is worth noting that presidential hopeful Joe Biden went to visit and console him on his recent trip to Kenosha, Wisconsin.
Nefesh b’Nefesh, within the past few months, has reported being inundated with inquiries by American Jews concerning the possibility of immigration to Israel. In June alone, they claim having received 25,000 calls on the subject, and it’s not just due to the coronavirus. Many American Jews are terrified, wondering how much longer they will have a safe and secure future in the land they thought would always be welcoming to them.
Yet with the addition of new congress members, Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib, supported by others with sympathetic views toward their anti-Israel and anti-Jewish sentiments, America is poised to take a sharp turn towards progressive ideology and embrace new directions which could easily end up in the vilification and condemnation of all Jews.
So the question begs to be asked – how could any right-thinking, merciful member of the only Jewish state in the world think that this point in history is the right time to weed out the grandchildren of Jews as not being pure enough to be counted among the Jewish race?
This proposed bill is possibly the most insidious and cold-hearted piece of legislation which has ever been introduced into Israeli society since its inception. It seeks to disenfranchise a sizable portion of the Jewish race by officially viewing them as second-class citizens whose race should not be mixed with the pure Jews who are in a higher category. Shame on anyone who allows such a thing to happen! It goes against every decent and moral conscience at a time in history which presents an uncertain and frightening future to the direct descendants of Jews, many of whom have supported the Jewish homeland from afar.