In Yediot Aharonot (Hebrew) 4 April 1991
That the minister of Absorption is totally engrossed in providing the new Jewish immigrants [from the USSR] with kosher matzos, mezzuzahs for their temporary homes, and invitations for the Passover Seder – all of which most of the immigrants certainly view as superstitious clerical relics from the Middle Ages – rather than in efforts to provide them with what they really need – namely, housing and employment – drives home the impression that the entire immigration and absorption scandal (and I am avoiding using the word "policy" because there is no evidence that it exists) is both frightening and absurd.
We all know that the overwhelming majority of those "new immigrants" are refugees, albeit not refugees from anti-Semitism. Though the antisemites exist in the USSR, we have learnt that of all the groups there it is the conservatives who want to halt the exodus of the Jews in order not to lose the intellectual and professional resources required for reconstructing the country. The Jewish new immigrants are actually refugees escaping from a country that is in the process of failing apart. If anti-semitism were the principal motive for immigrating [from the USSR], there would not be so many non-Jews trying to pass as Jews in order to get here.
We all know that Israeli and Zionist Organization emissaries have left no stone unturned in persuading the nations of the world to bar entrance to Jewish refugees, in order to force them to come to Israel, the one country which most of them would not otherwise chose as their destination. After all, it is clear to all of us that if the choice was theirs, 97 per cent of them would "drop out". So it was that the nations of the world, at Israel's request, deliberately instituted a discriminatory policy against Jewish refugees. It is truly an anti-semitic policy – which in any other context would no doubt provoke outrage. Now that the gates are locked, and they have nowhere else to go, we can celebrate the "immigration miracle:'
If the best interests of these Jews were taken into account, the [Israeli] government and the Jewish Agency would work to open all the doors in the world to all those who wish to leave the USSR, so that they could go wheresoever they choose. And if we had taken the trouble to prepare for their arrival – without all the fuss and hullabaloo which we make around the new immigrants – by preparing suitable housing and employment opportunities, they would also have come to Israel. As it is, they are climbing the walls in a desperate attempt to flee the country. After all, they have one argument which we cannot rebut: If you wanted us so badly, they ask, why didn't you prepare for our arrival?
But who cares about the good of these Jews? They interest Shamir and Sharon only insofar as they can be used to populate the settlements, or as a pretext for grabbing more land in the West Bank, and providing soldiers for the wars to come. But no one really cares about them. This is the great Zionist secret of the past few generations. For many years now, Zionism has not been at all interested in what is good for the Jews. The opposite is true, it is interested in seeing the Jews suffer so that they leave their homes and come to Israel. So it is that each spark of anti-semitism fills the hearts of Zionists with hope. Zionism needs Jews in order to bolster the Jewish population and the military strength of Jewish Israel – not for their own good. Rather than Israel serving the interests of the Jewish people – as the Zionist movement was supposed to do when it was founded – the Jewish people in the Diaspora now serves as raw material and a soft cushion for Israel. As human beings, they hold no interest for either the State of Israel or the Zionist Movement. And here, in Israel, the new immigrants are being cast into our dwindling job market, forced to compete with Oriental Jews and Arab workers for starvation wages.
There are those among us who are convinced that Israeli capitalism is behind it, with the connivance of its representative [in the government] the minister of Finance, Moda'i, The purpose is, supposedly, to establish a Third World wage system that serves the interests of an unchecked capitalist market. But perhaps this explanation allows the political and financial establishment in Israel too much sophistication and foresight. You don't have to look far to find out what is actually going on: on one hand there is the attempt to draw every Jew from any country to Israel, even if they resist with all their might. On the other hand we have a bureaucracy that doesn't know what to do with them. There is no coordination between the two efforts and neither has a clue about what the other is doing. Likewise, no one is trying to see the larger oicture, and what political and economic policies should be adopted if we really want a massive influx of immigrants. Everything is being done off the cuff, and no one is giving the matter too much thought. Also, those who think it is being done in order to provide Israel with a pool of cheap labour don't understand anything about the job market. Any employer who is not an idiot understands that hiring doctors and concert pianists to work on construction sites is like investing in shifting sands. Even if they learn the job, against their will and with embittered hearts, they will jump at the first opportunity to secure employment in their own or related fields, even if the pay is less. Israeli employers will continue to prefer the experienced and obedient Arab workers to do the job.
No. There are no Machiavellian machinations afoot. But there is a flurry of activity taking place, without any thought, purpose, or any attempt to understand or caculate what the end result will be. Meanwhile, people are being worn ragged, their spirits are being deflated – all in the name of cruel Zionism. (translated by Prof. Israel Shahak)