The media has missed the context of the Israel cabinet decision to restrict residence in some communities to Jews.
Israel is quietly and systematically clearing land to prepare for massive Jewish immigration from the world over.
Israel has recently upgraded its efforts to facilitate the immigration of Jews from France, now affected by an outbreak of wave of anti-semitism, and from Argentina, now affected by economic disaster, and from certain isolated parts of the former Soviet Union.
And there are other parts of the world where Jews are consideration emigration to Israel, in small numbers or en masse.
Israel expects that the current trickle of immigrants might become a tidal wave at any moment.
That is the purpose of Israel: To welcome Jews from the world over, even if these Jews arrive without a penny to their name.
Israel builds cities and towns from scratch, to accommodate Jews to the one Jewish state that is ready to absorb Jews, no matter how many, at any given time.
The July 2002 Israeli cabinet decision to designate communities for Jews followed the 1998 “Burg/Sharon plan” which was adopted by the Jewish Agency and the Israeli government, where the Israeli government designated that government owned lands in the Galilee and Negev regions would be allocated to the Jewish Agency for Jewish development. Throughout the years, Israel law has directed the Jewish Agency to raise funds from Jews around the world and then to lease land to the Jewish Agency for the specific purpose of settling Jews.
That plan was adopted when Avrum Burg, now speaker of the Knesset, was the chairman of the Jewish Agency and Ariel Sharon, now prime minister of Israel, was the Israel Minister of Infrastructure.
All this occurs as Israel’s Arab Bedouin population in the Negev also demands those same state-owned lands in the Negev that have been allocated for Jewish development.
According to Zvi Zammeret, the director of the Ben Zvi Institute In Jerusalem, the Arab Bedouin population in the Negev has quintupled in this generation, growing from 25,000 to 150,000 in less than 35 years. The Arab Bedouins have used the National Security Institute Child Allowance system that provided some funds for children under18 as a way to support large families in a bigamous society that encourages Arab men to have multiple wives and produce many children.
Israel must therefore find a way to develop new housing for its Arab Bedouin population, who have demonstrated loyalty to The state of Israel and who have served in the Israeli army since the genesis of the Jewish state.
Israel faces a tougher challenge in Galilee.
The “Association For Recognition of Forty Arab villages”, supported by local Israeli Arab groups, along with Saudi Arabia and the New Israel Fund, has spearheaded vocal opposition to the transfer of state-owned lands for Jewish development in the Galilee.
They claim the right to rebuild Arab villages that had been displaced there in 1948, whose residents fled to Lebanon and Syria during the 1948 war.
Arab refugees and their descendents from the Galilee have been languishing in “temporary” UN refugee camps ever since, inculcated with the idea of “Right of Return” to villages that no longer exist, rather than being resettled permanently in Lebanon and Syria.
Simply put, they claim that land registered under Arab ownership from before 1948 must be transferred back to Arab ownership.
All this occurs at a time when the million UN Arab refugee camp residents in Lebanon and Syria make plans to return en masse to the Galilee region.
If Israel were to recognize the “right of return”, that would set a precedent to all 531 Arab villages and neighborhoods that were abandoned in 1948, and pose a challenge to land ownership for the vast majority of Jews in Israel.
Besides which, the influx of one million hostile Arabs in the Galilee would pose a severe security challenge to Israel.
The “Right of Return” campaign will now gather momentum and use the slogans and tactics reminiscent of the civil rights movement in the US and the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa.
That campaign will claim that Israel’s designation of land for Jews and its refusal to recognize the “right of return” as a “human right” would transform Israel into a racist state.
In 1978, when I worked as the US representative of the Israel Association of Social Workers, encouraging immigration to Israel for Jewish social service professionals, I appeared on a panel with the Rev. Jesse Jackson at the international conference of the Council of Social Welfare, which that took place that year in Los Angeles.
Jackson characterized the Zionist endeavor to seek Jewish immigration as a “racist” endeavor.
I countered by couching Zionism as the “affirmative action policy of the Jewish people”, as a policy for Israel to create incentives for a people to go home after a difficult 1,900 year exile.