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Israeli migration

Israel was founded as a Jewish homeland and its immigration reflects this, starting with the first post-World War II refugees. Seventy years ago, on May 15, 1948, British forces withdrew from #Palestine and David Ben Gurion proclaimed Israel's independence. After the unimaginable horrors of the Holocaust and the Second World War, Israel was a refuge for those who survived the war and had lost all faith in their home countries. In the early years, many refugees came from Europe, having spent months in provisional camps. At the time, about 90 percent of the Jews were from Europe, mostly Eastern #Europe. Jews have been expressly welcome in Israel since its founding. That fact is codified in the Law of Return, which guarantees all Jews the right to immigrate. In the 1950s and 60s, many Jews from North Africa, Iraq, Egypt, and Iran immigrated to Israel. Some were motivated by the religious desire to move to the land of the Jews. Others feared that conflicts between Israel and its Arab neighbors could threaten their status or even their lives. The early 1990s brought a new "demographic revolution”. The Soviet Union had prohibited Jews from immigrating to Israel, but when it collapsed, one million Jews made their way to the Jewish state, altering it once again.

Israel has historically welcomed, indeed, continued to actively seek #Jewish immigrants from other countries. Yet, Israel shuns other refugees and immigrants. They set a clear limit: admission for Jews only. Above all, that applies to Palestinians, who have hoped to be able to return to their homeland for decades. But it applies to non-Jewish Africans hoping to find refuge in Israel as well. Many of those refugees are now coming from #Eritrea. While Israel has become more diverse over the decades, its doors remain closed to some.

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