Israel plans to settle Jews from abroad in West Bank
The World Zionist Organization (WZO) will send Jewish communities from abroad led by their local rabbis to reinforce efforts to populate West Bank settlements, the Israeli daily Maariv said.
The project, entitled "Rise to Israel of the Rabbi and his Community", will commence in late June when 70 to 100 families will arrive from New York, led by their rabbi Mordechai Tendler. They will move into the Kohav settlement, north of Jerusalem.
A second group of around 50 families is scheduled in Israel shortly afterwards from the southern French city of Marseille, led by their community rabbi Abraham Maimon.
Since the outbreak of the Palestinian uprising, immigration to Israel has declined, and so has the number of people moving into settlements in the occupied territories, which are considered illegal under international law.
In 2001, some 45,000 people immigrated to Israel against 60,000 in 2000, according to WZO data. In 2001, only 2,500 people chose to live in settlements, while in the previous decade some 5,000 to 7,000 moved into them yearly.
The bulk of the immigrants still come from states of the former Soviet Union with 35,000 in 2001, some 34 percent less than in 2000.
At least 40 percent of these immigrants are not considered Jewish by Israel's official rabbinate, but they nevertheless benefit from the law of return and are granted citizenship. (Albawaba.com)
© 2002 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)