Israel denies encouraging Jews to leave Germany

BERLIN Wed Dec 12, 2007 10:26pm IST

Related Topics

BERLIN (Reuters) - Israel is not trying to encourage Jews who left the Soviet Union for Germany to migrate to Israel, its ambassador to Berlin said on Wednesday.

German media had reported Nativ, an Israeli agency, was encouraging Jews in Germany to relocate but Yoram Ben-Zeev told a news conference it was aiming only to give them a sense of Israeli culture.

"Nativ is not there to get immigrants from the former Soviet Union," Been-Zeev told journalists after being confirmed as the new ambassador to Germany by President Horst Koehler.

"The main purpose of Nativ is to bring to those communities a sense of the Jewish culture, the Israeli culture and to help with education. The agenda is not to become movers of the communities to Israel."

However, Been-Zeev said Israel was the natural home for Jews and anyone wanting to move to Israel was "more than welcome".

Reports that Nativ emissaries would recruit settlers for Israel struck a nerve in Germany. It is proud it has the world's fastest growing Jewish community with 220,000 Jews arriving from the former Soviet Union since 1990.

Germany had a Jewish population of 670,000 before it was decimated by the Nazi regime and the Holocaust. There was a vestigial Jewish community of 29,000 in 1990 before the Jewish immigrants from the former Soviet Union began arriving.

Leaders of the Jewish community in Germany had expressed alarm over the reports that Nativ, formed in the 1950s as an intelligence agency to build contacts with Jewish activists in the Soviet Union, planned to persuade Jews to leave Germany.

"It should not be for me to comment on how communities are moving from one place to another," Ben-Zeev said.

"Certainly, Israel is the Jewish state, and it is the natural home. Those who want to come are more than welcome. This will always be their home."

FILED UNDER:
Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

GAZA CRISIS

WORLD SHOWCASE

U.S. defends Kerry

U.S. defends Kerry

U.S. officials defend Kerry from Israeli criticism.  Full Article 

Treaty Violated?

Treaty Violated?

U.S. says Russia violated nuclear treaty, urges immediate talks.  Full Article 

Gaining Ground

Gaining Ground

Ukraine claims more territory as fight intensifies with rebels.  Full Article 

Unifying CalL

Unifying Call

After Iraqi army crumbles, Maliki turns to state TV for help.  Full Article 

No Counter Action

No Counter Action

Lavrov says Russia will not respond in kind to Western sanctions.  Full Article 

Virus Outbreak

Virus Outbreak

Nigeria isolates Lagos hospital where Ebola victim died.  Full Article 

Ferry Disaster

Ferry Disaster

Associate of dead S.Korea ferry boss arrested, children due to give evidence.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage