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Children Without a Country

Israel’s Theocrats

by JOSHUA FRANK

Israel’s government is taking gigantic steps towards instituting a theocratic rule of control.

In the June 29 issue of Ha’aretz, Relly Sa’ar reported that Ariel Sharon’s government has decided to rule against providing citizenship to children who do not fall under the principle of the "Law of Return." In many of these cases, children of immigrants are not even allowed to live in Israel with their parents. Israel’s decades old "Law of Return" allows Jewish born peoples, and anyone who has a Jewish parent, grandparent or spouse, to become a citizen of the state of Israel.

In an effort to boost Israel’s Jewish population, the government opened immigration lines with the former Soviet Union’s Jewish community. However, over 60% of Jewish immigrants from the former USSR live in mixed marriages. As HaAretz notes, the non-Jewish partner in such marriages cannot bring his or her children to live with them in Israel if they do not come together – even if they do, the child cannot become an Israeli citizen. Such a child, like so many Palestinians living in Israel, has to live without any legal rights or status.

Writes Sa’ar: "Many of these children arrived in Israel with a tourist visa that has since expired, and are now here illegally. They are ineligible for adequate medical care or suitable education, and their future is essentially barred: They cannot join the army, attend university or find decent employment."

These actions are clearly more in line with a theocratic government than a democratic one, as Israel’s discrimination policies are based on religious orientation.

Israel’s new law also falls into the same old category as the one which prohibits entrance or citizenship to any Palestinian who marries an Israeli and wants to live in the country. Of course, the Israeli government claims this xenophobic decree was enacted in order to curb terrorist strikes. Sounds counterintuitive, as it’s hard to imagine anything that would infuriate someone more than being forced to separate from his or her family.

JOSHUA FRANK is the author of the brand new book, Left Out!: How Liberals Helped Reelect George W. Bush, which has just been published by Common Courage Press. You can order a copy at a discounted rate at www.brickburner.org. Joshua can be reached at Joshua@brickburner.org.