JERUSALEM (Jul. 19)
The expected mass aliyah of Jews from Argentina this year will not materialize, according to Knesset Speaker Dov Shilansky, who returned Tuesday from a visit to that country.
Shilansky, a Likud leader, admitted that Argentine Jews did not respond to the words of his mentor, the late Ze’ev Jabotinsky, who exhorted Jews to liquidate the Diaspora before it liquidates them.
Concern over the recent change of political leadership in Argentina, complicated by severe economic hardships created by four-digit inflation, raised hopes among Israeli officials that the largely middle-class Argentine Jews would pour into Israel.
However, Argentine Jews have become complacent since the election of Carlos Menem, Shilansky said. “They think that it won’t be as terrible as they thought.”
Shilansky, who attended Menem’s inauguration, predicted that 3,500 Argentine Jews will come to Israel this year, compared to 1,500 last year. Far greater numbers had been anticipated.