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Old 09-06-2008, 12:23 PM
1,417 posts, read 852,550 times
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In Israel, era of mass immigration ends (http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/n/a/2008/09/06/international/i094356D01.DTL&hw=immigrant&sn=001&sc=1000 - broken link)

Melissa Schwab is no Zionist zealot. She's not an Orthodox Jew seeking to be nearer to God. She didn't flee anti-Semitism.

So why move nearly 9,000 miles from her home in Hawaii and settle in life-on-the-edge Israel? Because, she says, she likes a lifestyle that is "secular and normal" while offering something "a bit more meaningful."

The 26-year-old American student's decision to make "aliyah" — the Hebrew term for "going up" — makes her part of the Jewish state's vast immigration enterprise, the bedrock of its very existence. But the influx that brought together more than 3 million Jews from more than 100 countries following Israel's creation in 1948 has dwindled to a trickle.

The last great immigration wave — Ethiopian Christians of Jewish ancestry who convert back to Judaism for resettlement in Israel — has just ended, and with it an iconic chapter in Israeli history.

The persecuted and the poor of world Jewry are for the most part already here. So most future immigrants will be people like Schwab, making a private, individual choice.
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