Trends in Aliyah, the immigration of Jews to Israel, can sound the alarm about rising anti-Semitism — and this year we’ve seen the unnervingly obvious truth that Jews aren’t feeling comfortable living under the autocracies in Russia and Turkey.
In the first nine months of the year, more than double the number of Turkish Jews decided to move to Israel compared to the same period in 2016.
The Jewish Agency for Israel also reported that the influx of Russian Jews was up, even as immigration from France — where Jews have weathered often violent anti-Semitism — plunged 26%. Ukraine, economically pounded since Russia’s 2014 invasion, was also the source of thousands of immigrants under the Law of Return.
It’s incumbent upon the world to pay close attention to why they’re leaving.
Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan has largely left the public anti-Semitism up to his henchmen, with pro-regime media touting rumors that enemies of the president must have Jewish blood or breathlessly warning that an independent Kurdish state would welcome a flood of more than 200,000 Jews. Not that Erdogan has stayed out of the mud, considering the time he accused the Jewish State of “keeping Hitler’s spirit alive.”
But ever since the United States recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, with the caveat that it wasn’t a final status determination, Erdogan has let his inner anti-Semite rip, declaring recognition of Jerusalem a “red line” for Muslims, riling up “the entire Islamic world in motion” against the Jewish State and branding Israel a “terror state.” The henchmen have carried their water, too, with pro-government newspaper Yeni Safak running a column declaring that “Jews are intellectually the most dangerous human community” and “follow a racist, hegemonic and false theology” that “they must abandon … in order to transform into a non-dangerous people.”