“Can Israel bring home its 1 million US Expats?” was the headline on an article in the Jerusalem Post 3 weeks ago; and it has gotten very little attention, though the article states bluntly that as many as 1 million Israelis are now living in the U.S.
“[B]etween 750,000 and 1 million Israelis live in the country,” says Israel’s US Embassy, though others put the figure as low as 200,000.
If you walk around the Upper West Side, you know something’s up, from the Hebrew you can hear on Broadway; but this is an important story for two reasons, demographic and spiritual.
First, Israel has long claimed to be a majority Jewish state (as if that justifies Jews’ higher status). Right now the numbers of Jews and Palestinians between the river and the sea are said to be equal, 6.5 million to 6.5 million. If 1 million Jews are living outside the country– and the Post article refers to the expats as “Jews” — that means it’s likely that there are more Palestinians than Jews in the lands over which Israel is exercising sovereignty.
That would mean a Jewish minority ruling a non-Jewish majority under the aegis of “the Jewish state”: which just seals the deal on the contested “apartheid” label.
The other reason this story is important is that it shows that for all the propaganda about Israel being the safest place in the world for Jews, and Israel being the Jewish “home,” and Jews in Israel “living the dream,” Jews themselves do not seem to be swayed by the argument. Israel has never traditionally been the top choice for emigrating Jews; and it’s not now, either.
“In recent years, Israel has lost more people to the United States than it has gained,” the article says– by 17,700 to 13,000 over three years.
That outflow apparently came in the latest year on record, 2015; 16,700 Israelis left while 8,500 came in, Haaretz reports. In talks, John Mearsheimer has called the trend “reverse aliyah.”
Back in 2011 Gideon Levy reported that 100,000 Israelis hold German passports; and he noted the irony that Israel is not a safe place for Jews (or non-Jews either):
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.
He also said the crisis was generated by the fact that Israel hadn’t figured out its constitutional structure:
If the Palestinian people already had one real passport, maybe the Israelis wouldn’t need two.
We have heard many anecdotal stories about Israelis leaving, because they do not see a future in living in a state increasingly isolated from the world. This article is more evidence of that trend. It deserves a lot more attention– a 60 Minutes report exposing the claim that Israel is the safest place for Jews, or some other investigative project on why these Israelis are leaving. Don’t hold your breath.
Thanks to Scott Roth.