Two weeks ago, UTJ MK Rabbi Halpert said that the massive
immigration of non-Jews from the C.I.S. is a social and even
a security problem. His remarks touched off a political
The opponents were the usual group who look for any
opportunity to attack the chareidim, and they conveniently
ignored the menacing reality. The generosity of the Law of
Return that openly enables many non-Jewish relatives of Jews
to immigrate to Israel, coupled with the massive forgeries of
birth certificates and other certificates testifying to
Jewish origin, have resulted in a non-Jewish majority among
the immigrants from the C.I.S. This has been true for several
years, but this year even the declared non-Jewish relatives
of Jews constituted a majority of the immigrants from the
C.I.S. and this has drawn more reaction than usual.
The fictitious conversions in Israel only aggravate the
situation. Jewish-Russian immigrants testify to harsh and
shocking outbreaks of age-old antisemitism from among the non-
Jewish Russians who have become Israeli citizens. The Vaad
HaRabbonim Haolami LeInyonei Giyur headed by HaRav Chaim
Kreiswirth and the Shai organization of R' Yigal Yehudi are
in the forefront of those trying to stop the dangerous
Rabbi Halpert is only the most recent one to raise this sorry
issue. In essence, it was the outcry of the former Absorption
Minister, Rabbi Yitzchok Peretz, who warned about this trend
some nine years ago in the middle of the massive immigration.
In his time, he said that some 30% were not really Jewish,
although the official government statistics then were only 4
percent. Rabbi Peretz was, at the time, vilified in the press
for suggesting that many who came were not Jewish. Today the
numbers are even greater, even according to the official
statistics. They are startling.
A quarter of a million non-Jews have come, according to the
admission of the Absorption Minister. The fact that the
statistics are official means that the number includes only
those who declared they were not Jewish upon entering.
The Knesset raged in the wake of Rabbi Halpert's remarks
about the non-Jewish immigrants. The deliberation was held in
the Aliya and Absorption committee of the Knesset, in the
framework of a discussion initiated by Rabbi Halpert on the
issue of "The High Percentage of Non-Jews Among the
Immigrants." Nearly half of all of the immigrants, he said,
"are not Jews, and this constitutes a national security
problem of the highest degree and not a religious problem.
With our own hands, we are establishing a fifth column."
A huge storm erupted, and the members of the committee,
mainly those who are immigrants, demanded that he retract his
statement implying that they are not loyal citizens. But
Rabbi Halpert refused, and even continued: "Negative elements
have infiltrated among the immigrants. Don't you know how
many spies from the C.I.S have been apprehended? Don't you
know? Isn't that a fifth column? I won't retract my
Rabbi Halpert added that just on his way to the committee
meeting, he received a phone call in which he was told that
Shi'ite Moslems from Azerbaijan are immigrating to Israel
pretending to be Jews.
Absorption Minister Yuli Tamir said in response: "Rabbi
Halpert's immunity must be removed so that we can try him for
incitement." Knesset members from all of the parties
representing immigrants from the C.I.S met in the Knesset
with representatives of C.I.S immigrant organizations a few
days later, and took up Tamir's battle cry. They announced:
"We will do all in our power to remove the immunity of Rabbi
Halpert, so that he can be brought to justice for his
incitement." A group of Knesset members also proposed that he
be dismissed from his seat on the Knesset's Education and
But Rabbi Halpert spoke the statistical
truth. The use of the expression "fifth column" is what
aroused the ire. The truth, though, is that hundreds of
thousands of non- Jews are flooding the entire country, and
they are truly causing destruction and ruin in many places.
It is enough to mention the hundreds of stores for the
sale of pork in cities where Russian immigrants are
concentrated. Who, if not the non-Jewish immigrants, brought
this scourge to the country?
Reader's Digest published a study eight years ago that
claimed that the Soviet government purposely sent criminal
elements to Israel with forged Jewish identity papers in
order to rid themselves of these undesirables, and to
undermine the Israeli economy and society.
50% of the Immigrants are Non-Jewish
Confirmation of the remarks made about the non-Jewish
immigrants was presented by Interior Minister Natan
Sharansky, a former Soviet refusenik who is now the head of
the Yisrael Ba'Aliya party. He said that from 1990 to 1998,
208,000 immigrants who are halachically non-Jewish immigrated
to Israel from the C.I.S. This amount constitutes 24.7% of
the overall amount of immigrants from the C.I.S during that
In recent years, though, the percentage of non-Jews among the
immigrants has risen, and in 1999 it was more than 50%.
A report which appeared last week in Ha'aretz related
that according to the head of the Conversion Administration
of the Chief Rabbinate, Rabbi Yisrael Rosen, 9,000 people
have "converted" in the country since the establishment of
the Administration. Many of them, he says, are not immigrants
from the C.I.S, but rather Ethiopians, mainly from the Falash-
Mura who are suspected of being Christians. As a result of
the cloud that hangs over them, they are more willing than
other Ethiopians to accept the conversion conditions of the
Rabbinate, if only they will be recognized as Jews. Out of
2500 converts this year, 1300 are Ethiopians.
An additional, interesting statistic is that a decisive
majority (85%) of the non-Ethiopian converts are women.
Apparently , this is because women feel that it is important
to convert so that their children will be recognized as Jews
according to the halocho. It is also said that 455
adopted children were "converted" over the past four years,
and 3500 minors were "converted" during that period, most of
them, presumably, along with their parents(???).
But these aren't really the true statistics. Natan Sharansky
is trying to conceal the truth. Yated Ne'eman is
publishing them here.
This information is based on studies, information, reports
and extensive examinations conducted by the members of the
Vaad HaRabbonim Haolami LeInyonei Giyur. The numbers which
Sharansky cited are already quite startling to many, but they
are based on the official statements of the immigrants
themselves and do not take into consideration the forgeries
and the various means of deceit. It is well known that the
Russian government apparatus is barely functioning, and
people are willing to be bribed for small amounts.
The true information is even more worrisome:
The number of non-Jews who have arrived in Israel from 1990
up until the end of 1998 is really 350,000. This constitutes
a full 40% of the 875,000 immigrants who arrived during those
In practical terms it is even worse. The Vaad HaRabbonim
notes that the Jews who come tend to be older, and many of
them are past the age of setting up a family. Among those who
come here young enough to marry and raise a family, the
proportion of those who are not Jewish is even higher.
Therefore, even though the overall proportion of non-Jews in
the past ten years is about 40%, the percentage of non-Jews
among the immigrants of marriageable age in that period is a
full 75 percent!
Moreover, the percentage of non-Jews arriving each year, to
our great dismay, has been increasing from year to year and
now, in `99, over 80% of the immigrants from the C.I.S are
truly non-Jews. Much of this is accounted for by the fact
that the immigrants arriving now tend to be younger, and
among the younger immigrants, as we said, the proportion was
always around this figure.
According to a survey which the Vaad took three years ago in
conjunction with a senior professor in Bar Ilan University,
every year 3000 couples in which at least one spouse is non-
Jewish marry in the Rabbinate. According to the Vaad, the
number for 1999 is 5000 couples of that sort!
These statistics are based on an extensive study which the
Vaad conducted which includes official and nonofficial
information. One piece of important information the official
statistic of the Interior Ministry which states: Last year
(1998) 38,449 couples were married via "religious
institutions" and only 240 couples (less than 1% of the
entire amount) registered in the Interior Ministry as having
married within a purely civil framework (such as Paraguay
which allows marriage through the mail -- for a fee of
This piece of information, say the heads of the Vaad, clearly
shows the seriousness of the situation, in which thousands of
non-Jews in Israel have managed to register for religious
Jewish marriages by means of the official Israeli marriage
registrars. It must be understood that having been married by
the Israeli Chief Rabbinate, and having the marriage
certificate that shows this, is tantamount to having an
official certification by the Rabbinate of the Jewishness of
The Vaad HaRabbonim notes the inefficacy of the Chief
Rabbinate in handling this serious situation, which results
in a massive penetration of some 5000 mixed couples every
year into the Jewish Nation, right here in Israel. In the
past, the Rabbinate issued clear directives on the matter,
stating: "One may not conduct a marriage ceremony for a new
immigrant who arrived in Israel after 1990, without a
certificate testifying to his Jewish origin."
According to those directives, this certification can only be
given by a regional rabbinical court or by a special
committee whose purpose is to investigate such matters which
will be established by the Council of the Chief Rabbinate.
These directives also state that only a rabbi who was
authorized to conduct such investigations by the Council can
serve on this investigating committee. But since this
committee still hasn't been established, the only place where
one can receive certification attesting to one's Jewish
origins is from the Chief Rabbinate, by means of the local
beis din or two special botei din that were set
up to investigate people's Jewishness. The beis din of
HaRav Avrohom Dov Levin has been praised for its expertise in
the area of birur Yahadus.
In every instance in which a couple which made aliya to
Israel after 1990 comes to register for marriage, the
marriage registrar is supposed to refer the immigrant partner
for certification to the authorized rabbinical court nearest
the place of registration.
Despite this guideline, no steps have been taken against the
marriage registrars throughout the country who continue to
ignore these directives, as they daily register new, non-
Jewish immigrants without knowing anything about their Jewish
origins. The offices of the Vaad HaRabbonim contain scores of
affidavits of various rabbis and registrars who have approved
the Jewish origin of those whose Jewishness is in doubt.
According to the Vaad's spokesman, the Chief Rabbinate is
doing nothing to enforce its guidelines and, as a result,
thousands of non-Jews marry Jews every year, with the
approval of the rabbinate.
Another very disconcerting fact is that no list of non-Jewish
immigrants exists. A computerized list of about 300,000 non-
Jews could easily be assembled and made available to assist
marriage registrars and the botei din. The Chief
Rabbinate informed the Vaad several years ago that such a
list was in preparation, but unfortunately to date it does
not yet exist. The Foreign Ministry and the Interior Ministry
have a list of over 200,000 names of non-Jewish immigrants
which can legally be made available to the Chief Rabbinate,
but as of last week, a top ranking official in the Foreign
Affairs Ministry told a representative of the Vaad that the
Rabbinate never asked the Interior Ministry or the Foreign
Affairs Ministry for a list of non-Jews living in Israel,
something which would greatly facilitate the preparation of a
list of non-Jews who are forbidden to marry regular Jews.
A Steep Rise in Conversions
How many non-Jews are converted in Israel every year?
The director of the rabbinical courts, Eli Ben Dahan,
recently said that 10,000 non-Jews "converted" over the past
four years, while this year alone a total of 3500 converted.
Most of these conversions were not valid according to
halacha. The majority of these so-called converts did
not obligate themselves to observe the mitzvos which, as is
well known, invalidates a conversion even
The Vaad HaRabbonim warns about new plans announced to
establish conversion courts within the rabbinical court
system and thereby to eliminate the Conversion
Administration. This plan will only result in a wholesale
conversion system in Israel. These "conversions" will be
conducted by the special conversion courts which will be
manned by rabbis willing to conduct wholesale conversion,
chosen for this willingness due to the fact that the
permanent rabbinical courts are not willing to do so.
The Vaad said that this plan, which entrusts the conversion
process to elements that do not abide by the halocho,
must be strongly opposed and conversions must be entrusted
only to the permanent and prominent rabbinical courts which
are manned by talmidei chachomim and yirei
Shomayim. Last week Minister Melchior, the chairman of
the Knesset Conversion Committee, announced that he hopes
that in the year 2000 he will be operating over 100
conversion ulpanim, and perform 20,000 "conversions."
How Many Came?
Let us return to the grim statistics regarding the numbers of
non-Jews from the immigrants. In the official data we have
been shown that in the first two months of this past year
there were 11,751 immigrants, 43% of whom were Jews, and 56%
of whom were non-Jews. In `98, 54 thousand immigrants came to
Israel, 57% of whom were Jews, and 42% non-Jews. In `97 there
were 65 thousand immigrants, 61% of whom were Jews, and 38%
non-Jews, and the numbers change from year to year.
In the 80's the percentage of non-Jews who immigrated to
Israel was 7%. Then beginning in 91, the numbers have risen
from year to year. Already in `91, the percentage of non-Jews
among the immigrants was 13%; in 92, 19%; in 93- 21%; in 94
and in 95, 28%; in `96 -- 32%; and so on, getting worse and
Who caused this? Who is to blame? Who lends his hand to so
serious a trend? Who will bear the responsibility on the day
the Russians demand that a "Russian autonomy" be established
in Israel (an idea already raised by a number of publicity
men in the Russian newspapers)?
It is no secret that the chairman of the Israel Ba'Aliya,
Natan Sharansky, who is currently the Interior Minister,
helped bring hundreds of thousands of non-Jews to Israel.
Just leafing through the headlines of the newspapers during
recent months, since Sharansky assumed his post, it is
possible to understand the immensity of his desire to bring
more and more non-Jews to Israel in order to strengthen his
power as the chairman of the immigrants' party. Who knows,
perhaps in a number of years, he'll also run for Prime
An example of this desire is the fact that the Interior
Minster decided that his office cannot expel immigrants, even
if it is clear that they came under false pretenses. The
authority for expulsion in such cases will henceforth be
transferred to an external committee or a judicial committee.
It is clear that the decision on this matter will not harm
the Russian immigration. The opposite is true, and the press
crowned Sharansky's step in the headlines: "That's Why They
Wanted Nash Control [Note: This was the way they referred to
their control over the Interior Ministry during the election
campaign]." Another serious decision made by Sharansky on the
issue of the non-Jewish immigrants is the facilitation of the
receipt of citizenship for whoever was married in Israel. In
addition, these potential citizens will receive medical
The opposition of various elements to granting legitimization
to immigrants who arrive in Israel by deceit, does not
frighten Sharansky. He attacks those opponents, and it helps
him with his constituency.
The Russian Press
The Russian press is divided on this issue. Some of the
journalists and newspapers are fervently in favor of the
continuation of non-Jewish immigration to Israel, while
others attack this. The Hebrew Israeli press, it must be
noted, deliberately ignores the situation, with very few
exceptions. Following is one example:
Asaf Tapiro is a reporter in a local newspaper in Beit
Shemesh. He recently published three articles about the
immigration of non-Jews from Russia under the heading:
"Madness: Israel Imports Antisemites and Nazis." The
inevitable outcome of this series was: threats on his life by
non-Jewish immigrants in Beit Shemesh, which even bordered on
violent behavior. The police did very little to protect the
brave journalist from those violent, non-Jewish Russian
In this series of articles, a Jew named Yochanan (a Russian
immigrant) was interviewed. Along with Yigal Yehudi, the
chairman of the Shai organization (for the preservation of
the Jewish identity of the state), he described the painful
situation. Yochanan reported, among other things, about a
family living in the Givat Sharet neighborhood in Beit
Shemesh, with an antisemitic neighbor. "He's a drunkard, and
when he drinks people are afraid of him, and they keep away
from him. The neighbors know about this, but are afraid to
complain to the police." Yochanan claims that this is only
one of many cases, and that in every neighborhood where there
are Russian immigrants, many cases like this may be found.
The largest Israeli Russian language paper Vesti,
recently published an article by Shlomo Gorman whom Yigal
Yehudi describes as, "A brave journalist who writes on a
regular basis about the problem of the importation of
non<196>Jews from the C.I.S." The title of the article is:
"Mixed Aliya," and under the title there is a large
photograph of graffiti scrawled on the wall in Ashkelon,
which read: "Smit Jidem" (Death to the Jews). Beside
it is a large swastika.
Shlomo Gorman writes: "This is a serious problem, delicate to
describe too explicitly due to the sensitivity of the affair.
This is the problem of the importation of antisemitism into
Israel. On a bus ride, or a walk in one of the immigrant
neighborhoods in the country's various cities, one frequently
hears negative slurs against the Jewish Nation. These slurs
are often loaded with rolling Russian curses (sometimes with
"Avowed Jew Haters"
"How do avowed Jew-haters arrive here? We would like to
believe that the majority of this type do not come from the
immigrant circles, but rather from workers and tourists who
have come here for a specific amount of time, and in the end
will return to the places where antisemitism will continue to
exist even after no more Jews remain there. However, a
certain amount of the antisemites in the country have Israeli
citizenship. It is quite possible too, that they are even
listed on their identity cards as Jews; acquiring affidavits
of Jewishness in the C.I.S depends on the aliya candidate's
resourcefulness and ability to pay. Others who are registered
as Russians or Christians arrived in Israel as a result of
the shortcomings and anachronisms of the Law of Return, which
enables both Jews and those who are not themselves children
of Jewish parents to bring a dozen people to the country."
These are harsh words. It is difficult to find such
courageous journalists in the Russian press.
Gorman adds: "The Jewish Agency shlichim place
announcements in the papers which include transparent hints
such as: `We remind you, that not only the children of Jews
are eligible for aliya, but also the grandchildren of Jews.'
This issue, it should be noted, was recently raised at a
discussion in the Absorption Committee. These ads were shown
to the representatives of the Jewish Agency who tried,
without much success, to deny that they are the ones who
circulate those notices throughout the C.I.S. One of the top
officials in the Jewish Agency even claimed that this was
provocation of chareidim, and that the Jewish Agency has no
connection to these announcements."
Antisemitism at its Best
The antisemitism of the non-Jewish Russian immigrants doesn't
stop. Arnold Bodinksi, a Jewish Russian immigrant, relates;
"In '94 I registered in an Ulpan. 80% of the participants in
the course were not Jewish. I joined a group that had already
been in session for a month. One day during recess, I saw a
young Jewish woman crying. I asked her what was wrong, and
she said: `I came to the group today, and I came yesterday. I
entered the classroom and heard: `Here's a another
Zhidovchek.' I fled Russia because of that. And now
it's happening all over again."
Antisemitism is not only continuing, but is also increasing.
An Israeli Russian language newspaper, Ruski
Izraelitianin, which serves as a permanent platform for
the most militant kinds of attacks against Judaism, recently
published an article about the problem of the water. It says:
"The rise in the cost of water is liable to lead to drastic
changes in the odors in the buses, in various institutions
and public places. Putting it simply, the Jewish nation will
smell far worse than it does today."
A Rise in Crime
The socioeconomic profile of the non-Jewish immigrants is
different -- and lower -- than that of the Jewish immigrants
and the general Jewish population.
First, the general statistics. Since separate figures are not
kept for Jewish and non-Jewish immigrants, we must first
consider the overall figures.
20% of the immigrant youth are not registered in schools or
other learning institutions, as opposed to 11% of all Israeli
youths between the ages of 13-18. In '94, 7.3% of the youth
among the immigrants from the C.I.S used drugs regularly, in
`95, the amount reached 13.6%, and in `96, it was 22.8%. This
means that every year there has been an 80% increase in this
An additional statistic points to the seriousness of the
situation: 24% of the youngsters who are in closed
institutions for juvenile delinquents are Russian immigrants.
58% of those who turn to the Elem consultation center in Tel
Aviv, which deals with problematic youth, are Russian.
Already in '95, 29% of the youngsters from the C.I.S were
unemployed and not studying. "In `99, the situation hasn't
improved," says Mrs. Paulina Slenik, the coordinator of Elem.
"This community is degenerating. Not only are the numbers
terrifying, but so is the fact that those with influence in
these circles deny the truth."
And now to the main question: Who are the imported juvenile
delinquents? It is clear that they are non-Jews in
disproportionate numbers. According to the findings cited
earlier, of the Vaad, that the proportion of non-Jews among
the younger immigrants is much higher than in the overall
population, that would certainly apply to these figures, if
the proportions among the problematic youth is the same as
for the overall population. The data of the Israeli Central
Office for Statistics concerning the age groups and the
origin of the immigrants based on the official numbers, along
with the tremendous amount of forgeries of Jewish identity
certificates, indicates that the non-Jews constitute the
overall majority in these age groups in general. It seems
clear that they provide the terrifying statistics, and the
anecdotal impression of those in the area is that they are
the overwhelming majority of those troubled.
A Free Hand
Shai notes that in the 70s, when the arrivals were almost all
Jewish, 200 thousand immigrants from the Soviet Union also
suffered absorption crises. But there was no rise in juvenile
delinquency from that wave of immigration. "Now many gentiles
arrive, while the influential circles -- the Russian
political parties -- are just interested in bringing in as
many ethnic Russians as possible to increase their
constituency, in order to have more political power. The
heads of the political system who are interested in the
support of those parties and many who like the fact that the
Russian immigrants support the secularization of Israel (non-
Jews are an unlikely support for retaining the Jewish
character of Israel) also encourage the importation of non-
Jews. Meanwhile, society is sinking in the abyss of crime,"
Yigal Yehudi says.
A substantial amount of the non-Jewish immigrants are open
and observant Christians. The number of Christians among the
immigrants is very high. "90% of my customers were new
immigrants," the owner of a stand in Haifa who sells items
for the Christian new year, told Ma'ariv a number of
"Many new immigrants who come here attend church and
celebrate the Christian holidays, though some do so in
secret," the owner of the stall related. This is aside from
the hundreds of pork stores in the immigrant centers in the
country, and the many churches which are cropping up in
neighborhoods all over the country, most of them in private
apartments. Some of the non-Jewish Russian youngsters
vandalize shuls and attack religious Jews and
everything which is related to Judaism, in ways that anti-
religious Jews never did.
The madness, as the members of the Shai organization call it,
is very serious. This is a time bomb which is about to
explode. It must be dismantled as soon as possible.