Netanyahu:
Netanyahu hits Chief Rabbi for 'unacceptable' comments on non-Jewish immigrants

Netanyahu lauds immigration from ex-USSR, joins in criticism of Chief Rabbi's comments on 'anti-religious' non-Jewish immigrants.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Binyamin Netanyahu at cabinet meeting January 5th, 2020
Binyamin Netanyahu at cabinet meeting January 5th, 2020
REUTERS

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu responded Tuesday morning to comments by Sephardic Chief Rabbi of Israel, Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef, on non-Jewish immigration to Israel from Eastern Europe.

The Prime Minister criticized Rabbi Yosef for the remarks, which were made at a rabbinical conference in Jerusalem last week, and lauded the mass-immigration from Eastern Europe to Israel which began after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.

“It’s an unacceptable comment that was out of place,” said Netanyahu. “The immigrants from the former Soviet Union are a great blessing to the State of Israel and to the Jewish people.”

“My government will continue to work on behalf of the immigration of our brothers and sisters from the former Soviet Union to Israel, and their absorption.”

Earlier on Tuesday, Yediot Aharonot published a segment of a video recording it obtained which showed Rabbi Yosef speaking at a conference in Jerusalem last week.

In the video, Rabbi Yosef laments the mass immigration of non-Jews to Israel, accusing them of backing anti-religious political agendas and inciting hatred against religious Jews.

“Hundreds or tens of thousands of non-Jews came to Israel because of the law defining who is a Jew,” said Rabbi Yosef, referring to Israel’s amended Law of Return, which permits not only Jews, but non-Jewish spouses, children, and grandchildren of Jews, along with their spouses, to immigrate to Israel.

In the video, Rabbi Yosef laments the mass immigration of non-Jews to Israel, accusing them of backing anti-religious political agendas.

“Hundreds or tens of thousands of non-Jews came to Israel because of the law defining who is a Jew,” said Rabbi Yosef, referring to Israel’s amended Law of Return, which permits not only Jews, but non-Jewish spouses, children, and grandchildren of Jews, along with their spouses, to immigrate to Israel.

Nearly one-and-a-half million immigrants moved to Israel from the Soviet Union and other Warsaw Pact countries since the fall of the Berlin Wall.

While the vast majority of immigrants to Israel in the early 1990s were Jewish, by the year 2000, most new immigrants arriving in Israel from Eastern Europe were non-Jews entering Israel as relatives or Jews or their spouses.

According to Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics, more than 430,000 people living in Israel are neither Jewish nor Arab, with the vast majority being non-Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe who immigrated to Israel after 1989 under the Law of Return.



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