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Knesset Rejects Probe of ‘yerida’ Problem

A Knesset debate over “yerida”–Jewish emigration from Israel–bogged down in a bitter procedural wrangle late yesterday when the chamber rejected a Likud proposal for an official parliamentary investigation of the problem. The motion, by Menachem Beigin, was stricken from the agenda at the request of Labor Minister Moshe Baram who contended there was no reason for an inquiry commission.

Beigin, responding angrily, dragged territorial issues into the fray. He claimed that one of the causes of “yerida” was that love of Israel could not be taught if the teaching was accompanied by assertions that part of “Eretz Israel” belongs to another nation. Beigin conceded that economic considerations also played a part in decisions to leave Israel. He was opposed to legislating punitive measures against “yordim” which, he said, would be worthy only of a totalitarian regime. Baram reported that 6000 “yordim” living in New York had made inquiries recently about returning to Israel.

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