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Natan Sharansky: Iran Fears are Slowing Aliyah

Fears of an attack on Iran are putting off people who might otherwise be inclined to move to Israel, says Natan Sharansky.
By Chana Ya'ar
First Publish: 8/19/2012, 1:40 PM

Natan Sharansky
Natan Sharansky
Flash 90

Fears of an attack on Iran are putting off people who might otherwise be inclined to move to Israel, says Natan Sharansky.

The Jewish Agency Chairman said in an interview with Voice of Israel government radio on Sunday that numerous aliyah immigrants have delayed their flights over fears of war with Iran.

Many would-be immigrants have already completed all of their paperwork, and even have found places to live in their dreamed-of homeland, Sharansky said. However, the Jewish Agency has received dozens of calls from the planned-for new olim (immigrants), cancelling the plans and saying their arrivals would be delayed until the threat of war has faded away.

Sharansky suggested that public discussion of the issue be toned down, adding that Israel's deterrence power is affected by the chatter; echoing a sentiment expressed by numerous figures in the defense arena.

Former Mossad head Danny Yatom said in an interview with IDF Army Radio earlier this month that he was “worried” at the many comments by senior Israeli officials about the possibility of attacking Iran.

Many of those making the comments have been former members of the security establishment, making the phenomenon even more worrying, he said.

“It is legitimate to discuss the question of whether or not to attack Iran's nuclear systems,” he said, “but discussing details will damage the security of the nation.”