I have no problem with the idea that Israel should be a refuge for Jews in distress around the world. The Holocaust proved the validity of this. But I do have a problem with those who manipulate the idea of Israel as refuge in order to advance ideological, political or theological agendas–especially when they are the agenda of evangelical Christianity. So is Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein doing in placing a bounty of $10,000 on the head of every Iranian Jew who makes aliya.
Haaretz reports triumphally that 40 Iranian Jews recently touched down at Ben Gurion. Altogether 200 Iranians have come to Israel in 2007 (out of an estimated population of 25,000). When you consider that Israel threatened massive strikes against Iran this year to which the Iranian mullahs have responded with bellicose anti-Israel rhetoric, the fact that Eckstein could draw less than 1% of the population to Israel is truly pathetic. That’s probably why the Jewish Journal reports the program will be discontinued at year’s end.
It’s also important to examine the motive’s of Eckstein’s International Fellowship of Christians and Jews in financing the bounty. Evangelicals believe that Christ’s Second Coming can only happen after the Ingathering of the Exiles. In other words, every Jew must return to Israel after which there will be an Armageddon-like war between the forces of Good and Evil in which 2/3 of Jews will be killed.
Add this to the fact that Iranian Jews, while certainly not living under the freest conditions Jews live under in the world today, are under no imminent religious or physical threat. While Iranian Jews should be FREE to make aliya. There is no reason to treat them as if they are a Jewish vanishing species in need of immediate aid. That’s why this rhetoric from Eckstein is so propagandistic and irksome:
Rabbi Yehiel Eckstein, warned in a telephone interview from Chicago that the situation facing Iranian Jews is critical.
“Our feeling is that this is very similar to the situation of Jews in Germany in the 1930s,” Eckstein said. “All it needs is a U.S. or Israeli strike against Iran’s nuclear program for them to come down strong on the local Jewish population.”
This is right out of Bibi’s playbook: it’s 1938 and Iran is Nazi Germany. Who believes this shit? Apparently, the good rabbi doesn’t read his NIE Estimates or newspapers or he’d know there is no possibility of a U.S. strike against Iran and the possibility of an Israeli strike seems terribly remote as well.
But leave it to a Jewish Pied Piper to exploit willing Christian dupes to advance a quasi-Zionist, quasi-right wing agenda to bring Iran’s Jews to Israel to promote the Second Coming.