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There are few basic tenants regarding Jews and the holy land one of them is the land of Israel is a gift from God to the Jewish People ALL the Jewish people. The Rabbis tell us that one day there will be an in gathering of Jews from the four points of the earth to the holy land. That in gathering will include those who were lost to Judaism through exile (the Ten Lost Tribes) and even those lost through forced conversion such as those whose families converted during the Spanish Inquisition.

Recently there have been reports of a Jewish reawakening among the descendants of the Spanish “conversos” and amongst decedents of those lost tribes–unfortunately Israeli Interior Minister Meir Sheetrit doesn’t want to let them into Israel:

Mocking Asian Jews, Gov’t Minister Favors Selective Aliyah

by Ezra HaLevi

( Interior Minister Meir Sheetrit (Kadima) struck a blow to one of the central pillars of Zionism Tuesday, calling for an end to automatic citizenship for Jews who make aliyah (immigrate to Israel).

Addressing the governing board of the Jewish Agency, Sheetrit said that funds should be directed to helping immigrants already living in Israel instead of absorbing “lost tribes” from Africa and Asia. “Don’t go finding me any lost tribes, because I won’t let them in any more,” he declared. “We have enough problems in Israel. Let them go to America.”
Jewish Graduates from India at the MaTan-Herzog Hospital Nurse’s Assistant Program in Israel

……As it stands, the Law of Return, passed in 1950, mirrors the classifications of “Jewish descent” outlined in the Nazi Nuremberg Laws, with the intention that anyone who would have been persecuted as Jewish by the Nazis be granted refuge in the Jewish State.

…The Interior Minister is, however, calling to make aliyah harder for all Jews. The ministry proposes to change the Law of Return to reflect absorption policies of other Western countries. “I want to see that he is not a criminal, that he is learning Hebrew and that he is here for five years before receiving citizenship,” Sheetrit said.

….Michael Freund, who heads the Shavei Israel organization, which assists groups of Jewish descent in converting and moving to Israel called Sheetrit’s remarks “post-Zionism in its ugliest form.”

“Essentially, Mr. Sheetrit has lost sight of what Zionism and Israel are all about. The country was founded on immigration and meant to serve as a refuge for the entire Jewish people,” Freund said. Freund pointed out that Sheetrit’s own family, immigrants from Morocco, would themselves bear the brunt of his callousness had he been Interior Minister at the time of their aliyah. “It is as if he has forgotten everything that he and his family and millions of other immigrants went through.”

….Freund went one step further: “Mr. Sheetrit has no place serving in the government of a Zionist Jewish state There is a strong element of racism and ignorance that runs through Mr. Sheetrit’s thinking on this issue. A person’s country of origin or the color of their skin has nothing whatsoever to do with their Jewish identity – nor should it. The return to Zion is a Divine process that is greater than any one man or institution. And no one, not even a minister in the cabinet, can stand in its way. The return of the Bnei Menashe to Israel can and will continue.”

Israel’s Chief Rabbinate recognized the Bnei Menashe as “Descendants of Israel” in March, 2005 and sent a a beit din (rabbinical court) on its behalf to the region to formally convert them to Judaism.

Sheetrit’s desire for limits on Jewish immigration is dangerous for Israel. Once you remove the “Homeland for all Jews” element from Israel, you weaken if not irreparably damage Israel’s legitimacy for the land. Heck, once you remove the land of Israel tie to ALL of the Jewish people, then the Iranian President Idea of moving Israel to Alaska becomes less far-fetched.

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