Sharansky: Iran war talk is harming immigration

Dozens of immigrants delaying their aliya until prospect of war with Iran passes.

August 19, 2012 12:49
1 minute read.
Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky [file]

Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky 311 (R). (photo credit: REUTERS/Jason Reed)


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Loose lips may have sunk ships in World War II, but according to Jewish Agency chairman Natan Sharansky, loose lips in the 21st century delay flights.

Sharansky told Israel Radio on Sunday that dozens of potential immigrants to Israel are delaying their arrival over fears of a war with Iran. The dozens of would-be immigrants have already finalized the details of their aliya, including where they will live upon arrival in Israel, Sharansky explained, but many recently informed the Jewish Agency they are delaying their big move.

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Three hundred fifty new immigrants from North America arrived last week, nearly 130 of whom plan to join the IDF. The vast majority of those interviewed by The Jerusalem Post, however, did not seem overly concerned by the specter of war with Iran.

“If [war breaks out], then I’ll be serving and I’ll do what I have to do,” said Itay Solomon, an 18-year-old American Israeli about to join the IDF.

Cookbook author Jamie Geller, who made aliya with her husband and five children, scoffed at the idea of deferring her move to Israel because hostilities might break out.

“Iran?” she asked. “Give me a break.”

Most calls to end public discussions of war plans have centered on the wisdom of revealing internal Israeli security discussions to the international community, and even to Iran.

Sharanksy’s criticism of the public discussion of war, however, was not limited to the realm of immigration.

The discussions “have crossed every red line,” he told Israel Radio, saying they are harming Israel’s deterrence power.

The international community views gravely the threat of a nuclear-armed Iran, Sharansky said, attributing this to the efforts of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who has left no doubt that “if the world doesn’t attack [Iran’s nuclear sites], Israel will attack.”

Gil Shefler contributed to this article.

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