After some windings and detours, continuing to work through this story by reporter Gevorg Mirzayan. The topic: a change (for the worse) in Russo-Israeli relations. Partly sparked by fallback from the Ukraine war and a change in Israeli government; and partly by increasing Russian resistance to Zionist poaching of their citizenry. We’re talking about the Zionist project of “repatriation” of Jews back to Palestine, what they call the Aliyah, or “going up”, “ascent”, etc. Already before WWII Jews began to immigrate into Palestine. Initially these were mainly ideological people inspired by Zionism. Secular Jews preferred to remain where they were. Then Hitler came along and killed most of the Jews in Europe. Thus also inspiring further immigration of the survivors. By 1948 (the foundation of the Israeli state), the Zionists had gathered enough people able to fight and win their independence (from Great Britain).
And ever since then the Zionists continue to promote immigration; and they have their Agencies in just about every country in the world, including Russia. Where the Agency is called Sokhnut, the Russian pronunciation (and spelling) of the Hebrew word which means simply “Agency”. We discussed how the pronunciation (and spelling), just by coincidence, forms a perfectly valid Russian word, a verb form meaning “They will dry up/wither away.” Which I found sort of amusing, because I like bi-lingual puns! And this one has a sort of poignant double-meaning, if you get my drift.
Anyhow, we now get to the more serious discussion of Israeli fertility, and whether or not they can produce enough Israeli babies to man their army in decades to come. And it’s not just regular soldiers. To run a modern oppressive apartheid state one also needs police, border guards, the whole repressive apparatus…
The good news (for Israel) is that they have the highest fertility among all developed nations: Each Israeli woman on average pushes out 2.954 kids. Frankly I would not care to be born as that .954th of a child, probably missing some vital part like a liver; but still an impressive figure. The bad news: Fertility rates are subtly falling, just a little bit each year. The figures for 2018 -2021 were, respectively, 3.09, then 3.021, then 2.999, then 2.976. Secondly, one needs to exclude, even from these figures, children born to the Ultra-Orthodox. Those people can pump out babies like you wouldn’t believe: Each Ultra-Orthodox wife pushed out an average of 6.64 babies in the year 2020. Sadly, these babies don’t really count, because they don’t serve in the army; nor do they pay taxes. Therefore, they bring no added value to the state. In fact, they are a drain on state resources.
yalensis Entertainment sidebar: I actually know quite a lot about the lives of Orthodox Jews living in a drab neighborhood in Jerusalem. How do I know this? From watching a rather good series on Netflix called Shtisel, it’s an Israeli soap opera. The dialogue is in Hebrew (and some Yiddish), but one can turn on subtitles (which I much prefer to dubbing). The show is well written and the characters are interesting as they go about their lives; but mostly I watched it because I sort of “fell in love” with one of the actresses, a tiny waif named Shira Haas. I found this girl fascinating even though she’s not my usual “type” (usually I go for the big buxom blondes!) Actually, one might be accused of pedophilia because, even though Shira is a grown woman now, she still looks like a little child. Hence the urge would be not so much to kiss her passionately, as to pet her on the head and give her a candy bar to beef up her tiny body. Anyhow, she plays the elder daughter in a family swarming with boys, all of whom are preparing to become parasites at state expense by studying Talmud all day in a Yeshiva. What a waste of brains! This in a modern society which needs their children to study math and science, not some dusty old religious nonsense. As you watch her grow up, little Shira is primed to marry her own parasitical Yeshiva boy and start pumping out babies, though her body weight hardly seems adequate to the task. Oh, and by the way, the Orthodox girls, when they marry, are forced to shave their heads and start wearing a fancy wig. For some reason, this helps them fulfill their duties as “baby machines”.
Anyhow, having watched that series, I now consider myself to be an expert on the Ultra-Orthodox, and I see exactly what Mirzayan means, about them not contributing very much to Israeli society. They have a sweet gig: Some of them have jobs, but a lot of them just live on welfare, and the state is forced to support them provided they study Talmud and Torah all effing day long, while their wives push out babies who won’t grow up to join the army. Oh, and the kicker is, every time they hear the word “Israel”, these guys are supposed to spit on the sidewalk and utter, “Zionists, pffew!”
Okay, back to our regular story. In addition to the Ultra-Orthodox not being quite kosher enough to be of any help, we also have Arab families to deal with. In 2020, of all the children born in the state of Israel, a whopping 21.7% of them popped out of Arab women. And many Arab families do not feel any particular loyalty to the state of Israel. (Gee, I wonder why?)
The Instant Jew: Just Add Water!
Next take into account that the state has to invest considerable resources to raise and educate these children. In conclusion, it is not surprising that the state would prefer to just import ready-made Jews. Jews already grown-up, educated. trained, definitely not malingerers, and burning with a desire to serve the state of Israel!
As of the current day, “repatriates” comprise a whopping 15% of the population of Israel. Of which, around 900,000 are immigrants from Russia and other former Soviet countries. And this number rises every year, primarily at the expense of the Russian Federation. In 2021 a total of almost 7,000 citizens emigrated from Russia to Israel. In 2022 which is only half over, wait for this, you won’t believe it, the number is already 15,000! Seems like every day, in the Russian press, you read about some other celebrity who jumped ship, but I had no idea the number was that big. It’s easy enough to mutter “Good riddance!” but that doesn’t really help, does it? When a state loses people, it loses its most valuable commodity.
Next we return to where we started, the role of Sokhnut. These guys don’t just act like a travel agency, or provide a pre-paid ticket to get on an airplane. No, they agitate and stimulate for more emigration…
[to be continued]