Israels political leaders are becoming increasingly alarmed over the rising tide of emigration from that country. The countrys Jews are trying hard to escape the violence of the Palestinian resistance and the steady worsening of the Israeli economy, according to the London Sunday Telegraph.
The newspaper said the Israeli government wants to have another million Jews in the country by 2010. But figures published by the ministry, which aids new immigrants, show an estimated 760,000 Israelis are living elsewhere, which is a substantial increase from 550,000 in 2000.
Only 23,000 people are expected to move to Israel this year, the smallest number since 1989, the paper said. Tzipi Livni, head of the Ministry of Immigrant Absorption, described Israeli immigration as being in a tailspin.
Christine Shalev, 36, and her 3-year-old daughter, decided to join the exodus when her best friend departed for Canada two months ago.
Israel is falling apart, and enough is enough, Shalev said. I feel trapped here, but I hope in Canada I can find my freedom.
Hard-liners in the Israeli government are eager to increase the Jewish population to justify claiming more land. Still, Interior Ministry figures show a quarter of American Jews who came to Israel since 1989 have left again.
In Jerusalem, Internet bulletin boards aimed at English speakers carry messages trying to sell off emigrants possessions before they leave the country.
Demographers have warned that at the present rate of attrition, Jews will be a minority in Israel and the occupied territories in a little less than 20 years.