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News and views on Israel, Zionism and the war on terrorism.

November 19, 2002

Anti-Semitism in Israel spurs call to tighten Russian immigration to Israel
A growing number of incidents, including verbal and physical abuse, swastikas daubed on walls and the desecration of a Jewish cemetery, has led to calls for a rethinking of Israel's aggressive immigration policies.
Yuli Edelstein, an Israeli government minister responsible for settling immigrants, on Saturday became the first senior government figure to call openly for the immigration system to be changed.
In an interview, he said he was concerned about the rise in anti-Semitism and its apparent connection with the "overzealous" policies of the Jewish Agency, which is responsible for bringing immigrants to Israel.
He said he had met heads of the agency to press for more stringent measures to filter out "undesirable" immigrants who have no intention of adopting Jewish customs.
A survey of recent immigrants from the former Soviet Union found that 70 percent did not qualify as "Jewish" according to religious law.

In the Brother Daniel case the Israel supreme court held that the law of return applied to Jews as defined by the man on the street and therefore a Jew who became a monk was not considered a Jew for the purposes of the right of return. Someone with some Jewish blood who is an anti-Semite should likewise not be allowed to emigrate to Israel as a Jew.