The Jewish communities of Europe should not be panicked by terrorism into fleeing their countries en masse, said Malcolm Hoenlein, executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.
Speaking at a press conference during the Conference’s annual gathering in Yerushalayim, where they met with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Hoenlein counseled against European Jews hastily packing up and coming to Israel.
In a conversation with Hamodia, Hoenlein said that these are not refugee populations as was the case with Syrian Jews or Ethiopian Jews, but they also present specific challenges such the recognition of professional degrees and adequate housing and infrastructure
Hoenlein has long said that in Europe more and more Jews and non Jews will be seeking to leave
Still, he said, “I do not believe we should panic or that we should tell people to flee.”
“What we should do is organize an orderly transition for those who want to leave, while ensuring the protection of those who remain. We need to keep demanding that European governments do what they are obliged to do,” Hoenlein said.
He said it was important that Israel be an “inviting” destination for potential immigrants, but did not rule out other possibilities. “Some will go to Australia, some will go to the United States,” he said. “I don’t think you can dictate to people where they should go.”
Hoenlein noted that the Jewish people in Europe were not the only ones at risk. Attention should also be paid to the Jews in Turkey, Argentina and Venezuela, who “face very severe dangers.”
Meanwhile, Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky expressed anxiety that Israel might lose out to other countries in the competition for French emigrants.
Sharansky welcomed a plan approved by the Cabinet on Sunday to help absorb thousands of potential immigrants, calling the development “very positive,” Arutz Sheva reported.
In view of a chronic acute housing shortage, the country will be challenged to absorb large-scale immigration. “Half of French Jews have decided that their future is not in France. … We should act now to ensure that emigrants can feel that Israel is their home [and] provide housing and employment incentives.”