So the Martians are coming to save Israel and make the world a better place. Well not exactly Martians but the French, or so we are led to believe by powerful Government bodies. But by dispassionately examining the hypothesis underlining the claim I would put my money on the Martians despite the pedigree of those lined up against me.
They being the Ministry of Diaspora Affairs and the Jewish Agency for France. Both cite anti-Semitism in that country as the catalyst that will turn the trickle of immigrants into an avalanche… no a veritable Tsunami. At first I took these claims to be a Purim Spiel but no its the wrong time of the year. So I looked closer at the figures to see If I should become as excited as those who speak for these prestigious bodies.
The number of French Jews they expect to emigrate to Israel by years end 2017 is 42,000 souls, all fleeing the pincer movement of French loathing and Muslim hatred. This figure seems to be based on little more than the arrival of 3,000 French Jews this year making their homes in Israel. A figure only ever equalled four times previously the last time being in 2005. To now speculate that the figures of 2013 will remain constant would in itself seem to be little more than wild optimism based on scant evidence, even in the land of miracles.To expect these figures to leap by more than 300% a year over the next four years would be a miracle in its self. Not since the boom days of Russian emigration when anyone who had shaken hands with a Jew appeared qualified for aliyah under the “Right of Return” have such figures been met on a year on year basis. The only carrot on offer to the French, and not previously available to them is their medical, optical, and accounts qualifications, not previously recognised in Israel, would be given equal status to those of Israelis.
The claims for future French emigration was made by Ariel Kandel, the Chief of Operations of the Jewish Agency in France, who went on to say “previously I would advise people who held unrecognised qualifications not to bother with emigration.” Hardly a pioneering remark from a man whose job is to encourage aliyah, even if in retrospect an honest one. The Diaspora Ministry, perhaps a little more politically attuned than Mr. Kandel backed him but refused to become a hostage to fortune by giving that backing on the record from a named spokesperson.
So an invasion from La Belle France is as unlikely now as it was a year ago. But wouldn’t it be great for Israel as a nation and for its place in the world if this forecast did come true. Think of all those chic clothes, the marvelous food and drink, the sexy accent, and the disdain only a Frenchman can put across with the curl of a lip to make you feel two feet tall even when you are in the right. C’est Tragic!
More important would be for the Diaspora department and Government both in Israel and abroad to concentrate on bringing back those 750,000 Israelis and their descendants who quit the Promised land for life in the West. That would increase the Jewish population by more than 10% at a heart beat , without relying on the French, Americans, or Brits to emigrate and save the day. If this task is too big to undertake, with second and third generation descendants of Israelis, as difficult to tempt as your average New York Jew, why not first aim for a lower target. Namely the 310,000 Jews born in the country who have packed up and left.
It is quite obvious that the constant state of war does nothing to help the situation either for potential returning Israelis or diaspora Jews alike but this is not the only problem all be it a major one. Integrity in political and business life count for a lot with people who just want to get on with ordinary rather than heroic lives.
They are tired of politicians out only for themselves who change political labels quicker than a coal miner changes his under pants. Of a bureaucracy which works only for the benefit of the bureaucrats and businesses where in typical Middle East fashion you have to know who to pay off to move forward.
Then there are the Orthodox religious parties whose deal cutting and sleaze are legend and make ordinary people of integrity in both Israel and the diaspora wince and mumble “count me out. If this is religion complete with bribes and curses I want no part of it.”
If nothing else its clear that the current coalition has made a start around the periphery. At least as far as the religious tail wagging the dog is concerned but the coalition is still racked with in fighting, and a general lack of respect between opponents who genuinely hold different views of the way society should be ordered. A further increase in the minimum percentage a party needs to gain admission to the Knesset is a bright sign and a good first step. So would a move to allow civil marriage and end the blackmail of the rabbinate. A lack of the right to perform civil marriages is unheard of in modern Western Democracies. A religion that can only hold sway through Government legislation and coercion is not worth supporting. Judaism is better than that.
The greatest problem faced by Israel is not the Arab armies but the threat of becoming just another third world state riddled with corruption in a Middle East where corruption is endemic. It can only be beaten if those in power, or who challenge for it, put the fight against corruption above their own ambitions.
If they do not dedicate themselves to this noble aim then the arrival of a few thousand French nationals won’t save them and as for the Martians…. they are from another planet.