28. Israel not really a democracy

Lawrence Newman, in his letter of April 30 [27], is right when he says that "virtually no democracy accepts everyone who applies" for citizenship; but he is wrong when he says that "everyone of every religion cannot automatically be a citizen of Israel" because every Jew can automatically be a citizen of Israel according to its Citizenship Law of 1952.

Newman is also right when he says that "every legal alien can only enter this country under a restricted quota system," that is why this country is a democracy; but he is wrong if he thinks that Israel has a quota system for Jews. It doesn't. All Jews and only Jews are granted the right to immigrate to Israel according to the Law of Return of 1950. That is why Israel cannot be considered a democracy in the Western sense. Not only can such practices be qualified as discrimination but also as racism based on religion. What would Mr. Newman's reaction be if this country had similar laws that favor WASPs?

The only exception to the Law of Return that I know of is when Jonathan Pollard, after his spying activities for Israel had been discovered by the FBI, drove with his wife into the Israeli Embassy compound in Washington expecting to be routinely granted asylum under the Law of Return. Realpolitik was favored here over the Law of Return.

May 14, 1991

For a reply see [31] and [32]