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June 09, 1989 - Image 7

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1989-06-09

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

OPINION

CONTENTS

American Undercurrent
In Soviet Emigration

BERL FALBAUM

T

here is an unpleasant
and disconcerting un-
dercurrent in the ef-
forts of American Jews to help
Soviet Jewry in the immigra-
tion process.
Sometimes implied, some-
times stated diplomatically
and at times stated with a
sense of belligerance, the
message from some American
Jews is that those seeking
their freedom from Russia
have an obligation to im-
migrate to Israel.
Whenever the subject comes
up, some Jews imply that

Some Jews imply
the emigres are
violating a moral
principle if they
choose the United
States.

Soviet Jews who win their
freedom, many of whom are
awaiting decisive action in
foreign refugee centers, are
somehow "violating" a moral
principle if they choose the
United States as their intend-
ed destination.
One Jewish official at a re-
cent meeting called the
"change of heart" — the deci-
sion to immigrate to the U.S.
instead of Israel — as "subter-
fuge."
Why Soviet Jews should be
bound by an "Israel or bust"
objective is not entirely clear.
Certainly, one can hope that
they choose Israel, just as one
would hope that more
Americans would opt for
aliyah. As David Ben-Gurion
observed many years ago,
Israel needs a growing
population to assure it long-
term stability and security.
Population has become even
more vital given Arab growth
rates couples with a decrease
in aliyah and an increase in
emigration from Israel.
But the implied require-
ment for Soviet Jews to
relocate in Israel is no greater
than that of Americans.
The argument might have
some merit if it came from
Americans who are making
aliyah. But that is not the
case. The insistence comes
from Americans who have no
intention of moving to Israel.

Berl Falbaum is a public
relations executive and an
officer of the Jewish
Community Council of
Metropolitan Detroit.

That suggests not only a
double-standard but a degree
of hypocrisy.
Indeed, it is American Jews
who have "abandoned" Israel
since the intifada by not even
traveling to Israel. Tourism to
Israel from other countries is
reported high — including
from non-Jews — but the big-
gest drop off in tourism has
been from the United States.
Apparently, the issue is one
of safety. Yet, these same
Americans who cannot bring
themselves to travel to Israel,
fearing the risks they
perceive, would hold Soviet
Jews to an obligation of mak-
ing their home in Israel.
Soviet Jews are not bound
by any moral, legal,
philosophical, religious or
political reason to choose
Israel as their home. Israel
should do all it can to promote
such immigration and make
absorption as easy as possible.
It needs to educate Soviet
Jews on Israel and, with the
help of the American Jewish
community, rebut anti-Israel
propaganda.
Israel needs more Jews, no
question about that. But the
country has not helped itself
given the bureaucratic red
tape and inefficiencies which
have frustrated not only
Soviet Jews but other im-
migrants as well.
The obligation in the im-
migration issue lies not with
Soviet Jews but with
American Jews. That obliga-
tion is to continue to work
tirelessly to assure freedom
for all those Jews who want to
leave Russia. But there can
be no quid pro quo demand on
Soviet Jews. Such pressure
leads to the very distasteful
implication that if Soviet
Jews do not make the choice
to move to Israel, they will
not receive assistance to
escape their oppression. And
that is morally indefensible.
Some Americans have
made what they consider an
important distinction, a
distinction which holds that
they will help Soviet Jews
achieve their freedom but not
with relocation unless it is to
Israel. These Americans
believe that the obligation
ends there if Soviet Jews
decide on a home other than
Israel.
That argument has some
merit assuming these
refugees have the financial
and other resources to permit
choices. If they do not, then
the argument collapses.
Throughout the years,
Continued on Page 10

CLOSE-UP

Money For College

22

ARLENE EHRLICH
There is no magic pot
at the end of high school.

LIFE IN ISRAEL

37

Home Stretch

DAVID HOLZEL
Detroit's Otzma volunteers
had an amazing year in Israel.

FITNESS

22

51

Mr. Platza!

STEVEN M. HARTZ
Hugh Sanders has become
the platza man of Southfield.

BUSINESS

55

Cutting Edge

KIMBERLY LIFTON
The Epilady has helped revive
Mepro Kibbutz Hagoshrim.

ENTERTAINMENT

65

Make-Up!

37

JOANNE ZUROFF
Jeffrey Bruce has progressed
from Detroit to the stars.

SINGLE LIFE

Living In Memory

89

MARLENE ADLER MARKS
Relationships, yahrzeits and
waiting for the jacaranda.

DEPARTMENTS

28
41
42
48
52
75

Inside Washington
Community
Synagogues
Education
Sports
Fine Arts

92
94
100
102
103
130

Teens
Engagements
Births
B'nai Mitzvah
Classified Ads
Obituaries

CANDLELIGHTING

65

June 9, 1989
8:50 p.m.
Sabbath ends June 10 9:57 p.m.

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

7

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