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Friday, May 22, 2009

23% of Israelis won't live with a nuclear Iran

If you want to know why the Netanyahu government won't tolerate a nuclear Iran, here's one reason: Nearly one in four Israelis will consider leaving the country if Iran becomes a nuclear power.
Some 23 percent of Israelis would consider leaving the country if Iran obtains a nuclear weapon, according to a poll conducted on behalf of the Center for Iranian Studies at Tel Aviv University.

Some 85 percent of respondents said they feared the Islamic Republic would obtain an atomic bomb, 57 percent believed the new U.S. initiative to engage in dialogue with Tehran would fail and 41 percent believed Israel should strike Iran's nuclear installations without waiting to see whether or how the talks develop.

"The findings are worrying because they reflect an exaggerated and unnecessary fear," Prof. David Menashri, the head of the Center, said. "Iran's leadership is religiously extremist but calculated and it understands an unconventional attack on Israel is an act of madness that will destroy Iran. Sadly, the survey shows the Iranian threat works well even without a bomb and thousands of Israelis [already] live in fear and contemplate leaving the country."
And here's something that ought to give President Obama some pause:
Some 80 percent of left-wing voters and 67 percent of right-wing voters expressed deep concern over a nuclear Iran. Respondents describing themselves as centrists were the most fretful, with 88 percent saying they feared Iran would obtain the bomb.
The 'right-wing voters' are people like me who actually believe that Israel may attack Iran before it goes nuclear.

Sorry, but I disagree with Professor Menashri. There is no reason to believe that Ahmadinejad doesn't say what he means and mean what he says. That's foolish. Mutually assured destruction is not a deterrent to a Messianic regime like the one in Iran today. As Jay Nordlinger wrote in The Corner earlier this week:
After World War II, someone asked a survivor of Auschwitz what had been the most important lesson he had learned. He answered, “When someone says he’s going to kill you, believe him.” That applies to Israel today, where Tehran is concerned.
Exactly.

And for those wondering whether I would consider leaving Israel if Iran goes nuclear, I think Mrs. Carl and I would at least discuss it, although I think something more than Iran actually going nuclear would have to happen - God forbid - in order for us to leave. Unlike many other Israelis, we would have someplace else to go.

7 Comments:

At 9:17 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

I don't think you would go Carl and even Israelis who want to leave can't because the world would not take in Jews any more than it did in the 1930s. Those 23% of Israelis are not going to be allowed to move anywhere. Every Jew in Israel is under the same death sentence. That is what it would be like to live with a nuclear Iran. And which is why Israel cannot put up with it.

 
At 9:24 PM, Blogger LB said...

Unfortunately, I don't think that is reason enough. Israelis have been leaving in hordes. While unfortunately I am here temporarily for personal reasons - I was at a Yom HaZikaron ceremony held by the embassy - attended by hundreds. Families with children. There is an Israeli diaspora on top of a Jewish diaspora. Israel doesn't seem to really care, or at least act upon those feeling, that so many Israelis are leaving.

 
At 9:51 PM, Blogger Carl in Jerusalem said...

LB,

The Israeli government has made many attempts to bring home Israelis who are abroad. They offer handouts right and left. Unfortunately, they don't do the one thing that really could bring Israelis home: Change the confiscatory tax system.

On the other hand, Obama seems to be doing his best to encourage Israelis in the US to go home. The way things are going, taxes here will soon be as high as they are in Israel (latest Tax Freedom Day in the West year after year).

 
At 10:51 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

More Jews would go to Israel if the taxes were really low. It may be selfish of me to say but being closer to G-d is not going to motivate Jews in this day and age to make aliyah or to return to Israel. Israel must be the kind of country its attractive enough that Jews wouldn't want to live anywhere else. Netanyahu understands the imperative of reforming Israel's economy to permit this but I'm not sure that Israel's political and media elite do get it. More Jews make Israel both economically stronger and more secure.

 
At 11:17 PM, Blogger LB said...

Carl, you're right about bringing back people from abroad. However, not enough is done to prevent people from leaving in the first place.

Taxes are a big part of it, of course, but the brain drain is real. Here's an idea - make universities be more cost efficient, and use some of saved money to fund PhD and post-doc programs so that Israelis don't go study economics at Northwestern, engineering at any number of places -and even history (then again, plenty of those who go study history in Europe Israel could do without...).

 
At 1:49 AM, Blogger Mark said...

NormanF - More Jews would go to Israel if the taxes were really low. It may be selfish of me to say but being closer to G-d is not going to motivate Jews in this day and age to make aliyah or to return to Israel.[space]

It's not selfish, it's just a fact.

Israel must be the kind of country its attractive enough that Jews wouldn't want to live anywhere else. Netanyahu understands the imperative of reforming Israel's economy to permit this but I'm not sure that Israel's political and media elite do get it.[space]

Netanyahu almost definitely "gets it" however he seems to be more interested in (or perhaps feels forced) playing the political game.

More Jews make Israel both economically stronger and more secure.[space]

I hate to say this, but Israel definitely needs more Jews, but really needs more of a certain type of Jew - the kind that contributes to the economy, not the nebach kind that comes and sponges off the state. That isn't to say that the nebach's aren't welcome, all Jews are welcome with open arms, however the ratio of productive folks to nebachs ideally should be as high as possible.

Shabbat Shalom everyone!

Mark

 
At 8:24 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

Mark - if you're referring to haredi Jews, the stereotype they all study in yeshiva the rest of their lives and collect state welfare in Israel is becoming dated. In Jerusalem, they are entering the workforce in increasing numbers. As Carl would point out, the real problem is Israel's confiscatory tax system provides a disincentive to work. Change that and allow people to keep more of what they earn and more Jews in Israel will contribute to the economy. In particular, by removing political and economic obstacles to growth in the revanants and you'll see a real economic boom in Israel.

Let the Israeli government do its part and the people will do the rest.

 

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