Should Israel help Arabs emigrate?

47% of Gazans, 23% of Arabs in Judea and Samaria would emigrate if possible, poll shows. Should Israel provide them with the means to do so?

Rafael Levy,

Arabs at Rafiah crossing
Arabs at Rafiah crossing
Flash 90

Following the recent release of a poll suggesting many Arabs in Judea, Samaria, and Gaza would be interested in leaving the country if they had the financial means, some pro-Israel activists have suggested that the Israeli government, in conjunction with Diaspora Jewish donors, step in to provide the money necessary to facilitate Arab emigration.

The poll, conducted by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research, surveyed 1,200 residents of Judea, Samaria, and the Gaza Strip from June 29th through July 1st.

According to the survey, published last Wednesday, 47% of Gaza Arabs would emigrate from the Strip if they had the means to do so, while 23% of PA residents in Judea and Samaria said they too would live elsewhere if they were furnished with the means.

Dr. Aryeh Bacharach, a representative of the Almagor terror victims organization and Land of Israel advocate, says the PCRSR poll is yet another sign Israel should step in to help those Arabs who would like to live abroad to make the move.

Bacharach suggested that the number of Arabs who would emigrate if they were able is likely significantly larger than indicated by the poll, but that most respondents feared reprisal if they expressed their true feelings.

“It is worthwhile to conduct a worldwide fundraising campaign among Diaspora Jews for those interested in paying to improve the lives of the Palestinians abroad. It would also be worthwhile for Israel to devote resources to help these Arabs living in Judea, Samaria, and Gaza fulfil their dream [of emigrating].”

Bacharach cited former Kach MK and founder of the Jewish Defense League, Rabbi Meir Kahane as an early advocate of “voluntary transfer” for the Arabs of Judea, Samaria, and Gaza.

“That seems like the most humanitarian solution available for the suffering of Arab refugees, the fourth and fifth and sixth generation. Finally, their lives will get onto a productive path which takes them out of their chronic misery. The vision of Rabbi Meir Kahane, may his name be a blessing, God avenge his blood, will finally come true. Rabbi Kahane always preached “voluntary transfer”, including compensation or a one-time ‘emigration [benefits] basket’.”

This, Bacharach claimed, would do far more to advance peace in the region than final status agreement talks between the Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority, which, he noted, have yet to bear fruit after a quarter of a century.

“There is no question, if you provide it [financial assistance], more Palestinians will want to emigrate and thus improve their quality of life and that of their families.”

“I’m certain that some listeners will accuse me of engaging in ‘Kahanism’ [a derogatory reference to Rabbi Kahane coined in the 1980s], or God-forbid racism, fascism, and all of that, but let us not forget that these same leftists who have preached for years about bribing the settlers to leave their homes and move to the State of Tel Aviv and its suburbs. That’s how the idea of voluntary transfer became acceptable among our brothers on the left – the question is just who it will be for; in other words, what is acceptable to do to the settlers you can’t do to the Arabs.”