Law of Return in Israel Research Paper

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Law of Return in Israel

The Israeli Law of Return act has generated much controversy ever since the moment of its implementation, given that critics regard it as being racist and unreasonable toward non-Jewish individuals who want to settle in Israel and expect to be treated as equals. Surely, the matter is divisive, considering that seen from a Jewish perspective, it is merely a method of encouraging individuals to return and reside in a place where they can feel at home and where they are not persecuted because of their ethnicity. It is difficult to determine whether Jewish authorities have had reason to put into practice the Law of Return, but it is however obvious that this legislation comes against a series of values supported by the civilized society.Download full Download Microsoft Word File
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TOPIC: Research Paper on Law of Return in Israel Assignment

The Law of Return came as a response to the divergences between the Jewish people and the rest of the world regarding the right one had to inhabit the Middle Eastern territory. The nation believed that they were entitled to reside in what they perceived as being the ancient land of Israel without going through all the proceedings a non-Jewish individual was expected to in order to gain citizenship. This agenda enabled numerous Jewish people from around the world to claim their rights as citizens of Israel and put an end to the presumed terror they experienced abroad. However, the plan is not only flawed through the fact that it prevents non-Jewish individuals from being treated as equals but also because it does not provide a complex definition of the term "Jew," thus making it easier for lawbreakers to be awarded with citizenship because they falsely claim to be Jewish. Among the first waves of immigrants to come to Israel with the purpose of receiving citizenship were numerous non-Jewish individuals who merely took advantage of the situation. It is estimated that more than two thirds of the people who used the Law of Return during the first years of its implementation were not actually of Jewish ancestry. However, with the purpose of combating these unofficial data, Jewish authorities claimed that less than five percent of the people who used the Law of Return until 1991 were non-Jewish. This was most probably done in an attempt to promote the act and with the purpose of contesting the legislation's faulty character (Lustick).

Most Jewish individuals who supported the law motivated their approach by claiming "that while Israeli Jews may be divided over the future of the occupied territories, the relationship between religion and state, and the ties with the Jewish diaspora, all but the "lunatic fringe" were united over the need to maintain the Law of Return" (Hadar). The Jewish state typically opposed anyone who was unsupportive toward the act and immediately associated such persons with anti-Zionistic and even anti-Semite. Israel apparently feared those who did not support the legislation because it considered these people to be against the state's well-being and motivated by intentions related to ending the existence of Jewish people. Jewish people felt that rejecting values put across by the Law of Return would bring negative changes to the state of Israel, removing its character as a homeland for Jews (Hadar).

All things considered, the Law of Return brought a series of advantages to the Jewish population and to society in general consequent to the terrors it went through during the Second World War. Most of the people contemporary to the act's implementation could not contradict the set of rules it demanded from those who wanted Israelite citizenship. The general public perceived the legislation as a form of installing a safe haven for Holocaust survivors, a place where they could recover from the suffering they experienced during their stay in Nazi work camps. Everyone could agree that society owed at least this much. However, as matters progressed, people started to observe the corrupt character in the Law of Return and realized that they were wrong for supporting it in the first place. Considering that Jews had gone through a lot in the years preceding the law, it seemed right for them to be rewarded with the right of settling in their ancient homeland. This went against everything that civilization stood for, as society virtually supported a state that discriminated other nations in favor of people who apparently belonged to it. To a certain extent, the Law of Return was beneficial because it allowed people to escape unwelcoming conditions in their countries. Regardless of the fact that they were of Russian ancestry or of Ethiopian ancestry, individuals were presented with the chance of escaping communism and respectively poverty. Even with that, the law was not created for humanitarian purposes and this makes it less supportive toward underprivileged people (Hadar).

Jewish people were able to preserve their religion and cultural values even though they lived abroad, this being a major factor in deciding their union in the state of Israel. Jewish religion is one of the main elements influencing Jewish nationalism and patriotism was virtually restored through the unity found in these two concepts. The Law of Return makes it easier for a Jew to receive Israelite citizenship whereas it maintains a normal legislation for the people who are non-Jewish but still want to become citizens in the country. The international public was not unable to understand the requirements for a person to be considered Jewish, as the law can be subjective in some cases, even though it is meant to be impartial. For instance, someone could simply consider themselves a Jew and as a result the respective person could demand that he or she should be presented with citizenship. Such problems made matters difficult and Jewish authorities came to modify the legislation numerous times in an attempt to make it objective. Even with that, this was never achieved, given that it is impossible to refer to a legislation that discriminates as being objective (Zilbershats).

The Law of Return is contradicted by globalization, with the concept making it virtually impossible for a nationality to believe that it can actually unite in a particular state, as all states are characterized through the fact that they are diverse. While Jewish people like to believe that Israel will always be predominantly Jewish, it is absurd to claim that people in the country should be discriminated in accordance to their ethnic background. "Jews now living in the State of Israel are not part of a homogenous group. They belong to various groups of European, African, and Middle Eastern origin" (Zilbershats). The Law of Return is a result of a series of factors influencing Jews in trying to consolidate their power in the geographical region. Jewish people were always characterized through the fact that they were persecuted and threatened by stronger powers. They consequently felt that they could not allow this to happen for ever and realized that by implementing such a statute they would at least become more powerful in Israel (Zilbershats).

The nationality that fueled the Law of Return is essentially a desperate attempt to strengthen Israel's influence. Nationality is however based on convictions that are not ethical in character and that are more likely to be a result of feelings and opinions. Nationalism is particularly harmful for the civilized world because it leads to immoral acts related to xenophobia and racism. Judging from the numerous wars that took place because of race-concerned topics, one can observe how evoking legends related to a historical past can have terrible effect on a nation (Zilbershats).

Palestinians are one of the most influential minorities in contemporary Israel and even though its importance is ignored by most people who relate to the state, they have actually contributed greatly to the country's culture. Israel typically considers itself to be a democratic state and the only country governed by democracy from the Middle East. However, when taking into account the discriminatory nature it puts across through the Law of Return, one can be inclined to believe that the state is less democratic than it likes to believe. At the time when it was implemented, the Law of Return legislation highlighted the fact that only Jewish people could identify with the state of Israel, while the status of Palestinians was ignored. Thus, even though it lived in the territory for numerous years, the minority was not considered as truly being a part of Israel, despite the fact that most Palestinians living in Israel at the moment had citizenship. "Israel as a Jewish state and its claims to be democratic is suspended by denying Palestinians their status as a national minority" (Levy and Weiss 10). From the point-of-view of a Palestinian having Israelite citizenship, there is no difference between himself and a Jew, accordingly meaning that there should be no differences between a Palestinian that wants to obtain Israelite citizenship and a Jewish individual who wants the same thing (Levy and Weiss 10).

To a certain degree, it can be considered that Israel inspired its discriminatory theories from the Nazis, as Zionist nationalism… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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