Israelis Prepare to Emigrate and Palestinians to Return?

Hundreds of thousands prepare to emigrate as millions prepare to Return?

by Franklin Lamb


The number of Israelis thinking of leaving Palestine is climbing rapidly according to researchers, while many more, with actual millennial roots but victims of ethnic cleansing, prepare to exercise their right of Return

Perhaps historians or cultural anthropologists surveying the course of human events can identify for us a land, in addition to Palestine, where such a large percentage of a recently arrived colonial population prepared to exercise their right to depart, while many more, with actual millennial roots but victims of ethnic cleansing, prepared to exercise their right of Return. One of the many ironies inherent in the 19th century Zionist colonial enterprise in Palestine is the fact that this increasingly fraying project was billed for most of the 20th century as a haven in the Middle East for “returning” persecuted European Jews.  But today, in the 21st century, it is Europe that is increasingly being viewed by a large number of the illegal occupiers of Palestinian land as the much desired haven for returning Middle Eastern Jews.

To paraphrase Jewish journalist Gideon Levy:

“If our forefathers dreamt of an Israeli passport to escape from Europe, there are many among us who are now dreaming of a second passport to escape to Europe.”

Several studies in Israel and one conducted by AIPAC and another by the Jewish National  Fund in Germany show that perhaps as many as half of the Jews living in Israel  will consider leaving Palestine in the next few years if current political and social trends continue.  A 2008 survey by the Jerusalem-based Menachem Begin Heritage Center found that 59% of Israelis had approached or intended to approach a foreign embassy to inquire about or apply for citizenship and a passport. Today it is estimated that the figure is approaching 70%.

The number of Israelis thinking of leaving Palestine is climbing rapidly according to researchers at Bar-Ilan University who conducted a study published recently in Eretz Acheret, (“A Different Place”)   an Israeli NGO that claims to promote cultural dialogue.  What the Bar-Ilan study found is that more than 100,000 Israelis already hold a German passport, and this figure increases by more than 7,000 every year along an accelerating trajectory. According to German officials, more than 70,000 such passports have been granted since 2000.

In addition to Germany, there are more than one million Israelis with other foreign passports at the ready in case life in Israel deteriorates.  One of the most appealing countries for Israelis contemplating emigration, as well as perhaps the most welcoming, is the United States. Currently more than 500,000 Israelis hold US passports with close to a quarter million pending applications.

During the recent meetings in Washington DC between Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s delegation and Israel’s US agents, assurances were reportedly given by AIPAC officials that if and when it becomes necessary, the US government will expeditiously issue American passports to any and all Israeli Jews seeking them.
Israeli Arabs need not apply.

AIPAC also represented to their Israeli interrogators that the US Congress could be trusted to approve funding for arriving Israeli Jews “to be allocated substantial cash resettlement grants to ease transition into their new country.”

Apart from the Israeli Jews who may be thinking of getting an “insurance passport” for a Diaspora land, there is a similar percentage of Jews worldwide who aren’t going to make aliyah. According to Jonathan Rynhold, a Bar Ilan professor specializing on U.S.-Israel relations, Jews may be safer in Teheran than Ashkelon these days—until Israel or the USA starts bombing Iran.

Interviews with some of those who either helped conduct the above noted studies or have knowledge of them, identify several factors that explain the Israeli rush for foreign passports, some rather surprising, given the ultra-nationalist Israeli culture.

The common denominator is unease and anxiety, both personal and national, with the second passport considered a kind of insurance policy “for the rainy days visible on the horizon,” as one researcher from Eretz Acheret explained.


Other factors include:

  • The fact that two or three generations in Israel has not proven enough to implant roots where few if any existed before. For this reason Israel has produced a significant percentage of “re-immigration” — a return of immigrants or their descendants to their country of origin which Zionist propaganda to the contrary notwithstanding, is not Palestine.
  • Fear that religious fanatics from among the more than 600,000 settlers in the West Bank will create civil war and essentially annex pre-1967 Israel and turn Israel more toward an ultra-fascist state.
  • Centrifugal pressures within Israeli society, especially among Russian immigrants who overwhelmingly reject Zionism. Since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, some one million Jews have come to Israel from the former Soviet Union, enlarging the country’s population by 25 percent and forming the largest concentration in the world of Russian Jews. But today, Russian Jews comprise the largest group emigrating from Israel and they have been returning in droves for reasons ranging from opposition to Zionism, discrimination, and broken promises regarding employment and “the good life” in Israel.

Approximately 200,000 or 22% of Russians coming to Israel since 1990 have so far returned to their country.  According to Rabbi Berel Larzar, who has been Russia’s chief Rabbi since 2000, “It’s absolutely extraordinary how many people are returning. When Jews left, there was no community, no Jewish life. People felt that being Jewish was an historical mistake that happened to their family. Now, they know they can live in Russia as part of a community and they don’t need Israel.”

  • No faith in or respect for Israeli leaders, most of whom are considered corrupt.
  • Feelings of anxiety and guilt that Zionism has hijacked Judaism and that traditional Jewish values are being corrupted.
  • The increasing difficulty of providing coherent answers to one’s children, as they become more educated and aware of their family history, and indeed honesty to oneself, on the question of why families from Europe and elsewhere are living on land and in homes stolen from others who obviously are local and did not come from some other place around the World.
  • The recent growing appreciation, for many Israelis, significantly abetted by the Internet and the continuing Palestinian resistance, of the compelling and challenging Palestinians’ narrative that totally undermines the Zionist clarion of the last century of “A Land without a People for a People without a Land.’
  • Fear mongering of the political leaders designed to keep citizens supporting the government’s policies ranging from the Iranian bomb, the countless ‘Terrorists” seemingly everywhere and planning another Holocaust, or various existential threats that keep families on edge and concluding that they don’t want to raise their children under such conditions.

Explaining that he was speaking as a private citizen and not as a member of Democrats Abroad Israel, New York native Hillel Schenker suggested that Jews who come to Israel “want to make sure that they have the possibility of an alternative to return whence they came.”  He added that the “insecurities involved in modern life, and an Israel not yet living at peace with any of its neighbors, have also produced a phenomenon of many Israelis seeking a European passport, based on their family roots, just in case.”

Gene Schulman, a former American-Jewish fellow at the Switzerland-based Overseas American Academy, put it even more drastically, emphasizing that all Jews are “scared to death of what is probably going to become of Israel even if the U.S. continues its support for it.”


According to Layal,  a Palestinian student from Shatila Camp, who is preparing for the June 5th “Naksa” march to the Blueline in South Lebanon: “What the Zionist occupiers of Palestine saw from Tahir Square in Cairo to Maroun al Ras in South Lebanon has convinced many Israelis that the Arab and Palestinian resistance, while still in its nascence, will develop into a massive and largely peaceful ground swell such that no amount of weapons or apartheid administration  can insure a Zionist future in Palestine. They are right to seek alternative places to raise their families.”

For more about Franklin Lamb

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28 Responses to "Israelis Prepare to Emigrate and Palestinians to Return?"

  1. Derek  June 5, 2011 at 9:18 am

    No you didnt give numbers for people emigrating out. Just that immigration rose 6%. That doesnt give the whole picture. Whats the net loss/gain?

  2. AR  June 5, 2011 at 7:52 am

    Read my first comment and ignore the second one.

  3. Derek  June 5, 2011 at 7:19 am

    Things can change over night. Do not despair or give up hope.

  4. Derek  June 5, 2011 at 7:17 am

    Au contraire. You are the one having a go. Feeling pressed are we? cannot disprove it can we. Brainwashed indoctrinated souls such as yourself never question. Folks without agendas do.

    PS Islamo fascist sounds retarded.

  5. Derek  June 5, 2011 at 2:08 am

    Whatever Paul, just please keep commenting. Its doing your artificial pariah a dis-service. Have a nice day now.

  6. Derek  June 5, 2011 at 2:06 am

    Why no numbers for emigration? Very deceptive.

    Also, it seems thats the link Franklin gave you.

  7. Bill  June 4, 2011 at 8:48 pm

    “uninvited” was meant..

  8. Paul  June 4, 2011 at 2:14 pm

    Everyone that differs with you is paid up. You certainly over estimate the reach of this website and the importance of your comments.

    I am not paid by anyone to write my comments.

    Grow some brains.

  9. Paul  June 4, 2011 at 2:11 pm

    You are so full of islamofascist rhetoric that every time you talk, you have to wipe.

    Look it up yourself and show you have a brain and the ability to actually think.

  10. Paul  June 4, 2011 at 2:08 pm

    Seems they are removing my comments now. So now you look even more clueless responding to no-one.

  11. AR  June 4, 2011 at 1:28 pm

    No problem. I should have written in the recent year and not “in recent years”

    There’s another source in hebrew which I provided in my previous comment that was deleted. I don’t feel like translating it again.

    Read my comment to Franklin about the number of settlers in the west bank.

  12. Derek  June 4, 2011 at 12:41 pm

    Au contraire. You are the one having a go. Feeling pressed are we? cannot disprove it can we. Brainwashed indoctrinated souls such as yourself never question. Folks without agendas do.

  13. AR  June 4, 2011 at 11:02 am

    My number is correct and you got confused.

    First of all read this: If you quoted Gideon Levy you must like Haaretz.

    Than read the source you provided and you will see that I’m right.

    I didn’t hear PM Netanyahu’s speech because I don’t like him but the number 650,000 probably deals with the entire population of Jerusalem (West Jerusalem+East Jerusalem), if that is indeed the case than this number is about right and I realize why you got confused.

    “…I was discussing the unusuallly high numbers of emigrants from occupied Palestine wanting to leave for reasons involving the de-legitimization of the Zionist project.”

    Is there a table showing this data? How in God’s name do you know why people choose to leave Israel? Do you have the ability to read people’s minds?

  14. frank  June 4, 2011 at 10:38 am

    Please do not let them come here

  15. AR  June 4, 2011 at 10:20 am

    No problem. Although I should have written in the recent year not “in recent years”.

    I would like to thank Franklin Lamb for this source. (just look at the first 2 pages)

    Furthermore this source explains it better:
    It’s in hebrew so here’s the gist: In 2009, 14,600 immigrants arrived to Israel. This is an increase of 6% compared to 2008. off course it’s a lot lower than the number of immigrants arriving to Israel in the 90’s.

    The number of settlers you mentioned is wrong. Read my comment to Franklin.

  16. Debbie Menon  June 4, 2011 at 9:27 am


    I truly love the best things America has stood for, but bad governments can do terrible things to good people.

    I guess I do not see a Palestinian resistance having any hope of success at all, soon or ever, so long as the US is locked into almost unlimited & unrestricted support of “Fortress Israel” and the rest of the world babbles about “Holocaust Denial” as a crime and refuses to confront Israel or, more directly, the US.

    And it is the US that needs to be confronted. Others may say “enough” to Israel, but as long as US continues to shovel weapons & money to Israel, and runs diplomatic interference for it at the UN and other international forums, the Israelis have absolutely no incentive to alter their behavior, which means that the Palestinians have less hope of liberation than the (Native American) Indians in the 19th century did, of halting the waves of European migration and their own relocation into (mostly appalling) reservations. And that isn’t a bad parallel at all: think of Palestine as a large, densely populated (at least in Gaza) “reservation” policed by a “native” constabulary with occasional incursions by the outside Army and with desirable land nibbled away by settlers protected by that Army — all of which happened in the US — and you have the Palestinian future, barring some radical surgery on the US umbilical cord to (or from?) Israel. Maybe someday we’ll see the Palestinian “Authority” overseeing a network of casinos, as so many Native American tribes (usually now called “bands,” more politically correct, apparently) do today in the US.

  17. Debbie Menon  June 4, 2011 at 8:50 am

    Sadly, like a plague, anywhere they go they bring rot, a curse to the cultures they invade. America is a prime example.

  18. Franklin Lamb  June 4, 2011 at 8:45 am

    Well, PM Netanyahu used the figure of 650,000 (including al Quds) which it appears he inflated a bit for Congress. Your 300,000 number is low.

    You miss my point. Palestinians want and have every right to recover their homes and land. I was discussing the unusuallly high numbers of emigrants from occupied Palestine wanting to leave for reasons involving the de-legitimization of the Zionist project. Above and beyond the normal migration. Have a look at Israeli government figures:

    Best wishes,


  19. Derek  June 4, 2011 at 8:11 am

    “The Jewish population in Israel is growing each year partially because of a moderate rise, in recent years, in Jewish migration into Israel.”

    Care to reveal a source? Theres one show you hasbara trolls proclaim and put on to Westerners on sites like these – which is never the realistic one.

  20. Derek  June 4, 2011 at 8:08 am

    No theres over half a million Jewish ashkenaz Khazar squatters in the West bank. You asked about Palestinian dual citizenship holders. Palestinian meaning they are indigenous to the region whereas you came from Europe. See the difference? oh why waste my time on irrational paid up pressed agents.

  21. Derek  June 4, 2011 at 8:05 am

    Complete? Could you even disprove one of his points instead of the anti-semite nazi rhetoric.

  22. AR  June 4, 2011 at 7:21 am

    Franklin Lamb is one of the biggest liars working for the Palestinian Propaganda. I don’t even know where to start.

    There aren’t more than 600,000 settlers in the West Bank, there are a little more than 300,000. The Jewish population in Israel is growing each year partially because of a moderate rise, in recent years, in Jewish migration into Israel.

    there are Israelis who are thinking of leaving Israel and many of them have a foreign passport, big deal. Do Israelis actually migrate in the tens/hundreds of thousands out of Israel each year? of course not. It’s all wishful thinking and that’s it. They are no different from people all over the world wanting the same thing -better jobs, better money, better education for their children.

    How many Palestinians have a dual citizenship and wish to migrate in order to find themselves and their children a better life Mr. Lamb? How about conducting a poll among the Palestinians in the west bank and Gaza asking how many of them would like to live in the US or in Europe? I guarantee You won’t like the result.

    “…while many more, with actual millennial roots but victims of ethnic cleansing, prepare to exercise their right of Return.” How exactly are they planning on doing that? They prepare to exercise their right of Return for 63 years now. What a joke.

    FYI the June 5th “Naksa” march to the Blueline in South Lebanon was cancelled.

  23.  June 3, 2011 at 10:48 pm

    The only BS i see is your calling of this situation and article. As usual you are the pot calling the kettle black.

  24. Bill  June 3, 2011 at 9:29 pm

    What’s not a fallacy Paul is that any country created through a relatively recent ininvited invasion, terrorism, massacres and ethnic cleansing deserves ALL the enemies it has and deserves to be abandoned by any and all decent Jews who would rather be good citizens in their own respective countries than go to Palestine and be another lieing, thieving, murdering Zionist…

  25. Paul  June 3, 2011 at 4:49 pm

    What complete BS.
    Franklin –

    The demographic time-bomb described by fear-mongering leftist, neo-nazis, Arabs and all other anti-semites is a complete and utter fallacy.

  26. Derek  June 3, 2011 at 12:30 pm

    That is good news. Lets hope its true.

    Egypt, Syria, Morocco, Tunisia, Iraq and Iran have offered to give Jews who fled their homeland compensation for what they lost or for them to return if they so wish, provided they let go of their Israeli citizenship (this request was asked so that they no longer claim ownership to stolen lands and properties in Palestine).

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