Noted Italian writer appeals for Israel

ROME (JTA) – Noted Italian writer Alain Elkann issued a forceful appeal in support of Israel, urging all Jews worldwide to become citizens of the Jewish state, even if they don’t live there.

Should all Jews "leave their homes in the Diaspora and establish themselves in Israel? Maybe not for their entire lives, but certainly for a bit of time," wrote Elkann, who was born in New York to a French Jewish father and Italian Jewish mother.

His lengthy appeal was published June 10 on the French website laregledujeu.org and in Turin’s La Stampa newspaper.

"Most Jews might not want to leave aside the status they have acquired in the Diaspora and abandon their work, but they have to understand that there is no other choice anymore," Elkann wrote. "They have their own country, and if they so desire, they can have dual citizenship. If a Jew really wants to be a genuine Jew, he or she must become an Israeli. I do not believe that this transformation should take place immediately, but it is a necessary step in order to discourage the detractors and enemies of the Jews."

Elkann was formerly married to the daughter of the late Gianni Agnelli, who headed the Fiat Corp., and his son John Elkann now chairs Fiat.

"It is difficult for me to write this as I myself am a walking contradiction," he wrote. "I live between Italy and France, and spend much time in the USA and other countries. I have both a French and an Italian passport, I act as the advisor to some prominent Italian politicians. As a journalist, I interview people for an Italian television, and as a novelist I write books in Italian. So where do I have the moral authority to incite Jews to become Israelis, if I myself do not renounce all my jobs and advantages in the Diaspora?"

Perhaps by writing his appeal, he said, "I am beginning the process of committing myself to go to Israel, to change my life and to accept a Jewish life."

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