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Am Echad weekly update for the week of June 19, 2022

Update summary: More refugees came to Israel from Ukraine than Olim, in addition to Russian immigrants who fled from the war. Former US ambassador says US State Department's handling of Israel has a core problem, and their envoys do not understand the country's needs and complexities. Belgium turns out as the worst European country for Jews to live in, while Italy and Hungary rank among the best. Meanwhile, German court rules that antisemitism is protected as free speech. Am Echad congratulates incoming CEO of Jewish Agency.


Diaspora Relations

· Ukraine war: Israel absorbed many more refugees than Olim

Four months into the war in Ukraine, it turns out that Israel absorbed many more refugees than Olim (immigrants) who will stay in the future, and that the war increased the Aliyah from Russia, but not in the prior anticipated rate. Herb Keinon revealed in the Jerusalem post that as of June 15, 32,958 Ukrainians have entered the country, of which 5,888 are new immigrants, and another 4,730 are in the process of aliyah, bringing the grand total of Ukrainian immigrants to 10,618.

In addition, another 22,340 Ukrainians who are not eligible for immigration, meaning they are not Jewish or don’t have at least one Jewish grandparent, have come to the country. Nearly 8,000 Ukrainian nationals have left. As of now, 25,000 still remain; twice as many refugees than those eligible for immigration under the Law of Return. In addition to them, another 20,000 Ukrainian workers here legally have been allowed to stay. Had the US taken in a similar amount of Ukrainians relative to its population, it would have admitted some 1.2 million Ukrainian refugees. In addition, according to the Jewish Agency data, 14,400 Olim arrived from Russia since the beginning of the war. (Jerusalem Post)

· Former US envoy blasts the State Department for their handling of Israel

Former US ambassador to Israel David Friedman said in in interview to Breitbart that many US envoys sent to Israel fail to understand the Jewish state's complexities and needs. "The State Department has historically not been hospitable to the state of Israel or its supporters," Friedman blasted, saying that most diplomats sent to Israel reflect the State Department's traditional Arabist mindset. He explained that many diplomats who serve in Syria or North African countries are later posted in Israel but being "Arabists" they "don't really take the time to understand or appreciate" the fact that the environment in Israel is different from what they are used to. Friedman further said that since Israel portfolio falls under the purview of the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, which handles foreign policy in the Middle East and North Africa region, Israel "finds itself in a bureau in a state department with other countries that historically have been anti-Israel." (Israel Hayom)


· Belgium is the European country least tolerant for Jews; France the least safe

Italy and Hungary are the best European countries for Jews to live in, Poland and Belgium are the worst. Hungary is on the second place on the list of countries Jews feel safe to live, with Denmark on top of the least and and Germany, Belgium and France are in the bottom. The data, revealed Monday in the annual conference for European Jewish leaders in Budapest, is part of a study conducted by the London-based Institute for Jewish Policy Research for the European Jewish Association in Brussels. Belgium is ranked in the bottom of another list, ranking the operations of European governments for their Jewish populations. Germany ranked first on that rank. (JTA, Ynet)


Antisemitism

· In a precedent, German court rules that antisemitism could be protected speech

Jewish leaders and anti-Semitic activists in Germany strongly condemn the decision of the Stuttgart Administrative Court, which states that calls for a boycott and sanctions against the Jewish state do not violate German laws against hate speech and are protected. Henryk M. Broder, an expert on German Jew hatred, wrote in a column in Die Welt that "It is probably the first time in the history of the Federal Republic that a court has expressly declared ‘anti-Semitic views’ to be a legally protected area of ‘​​freedom of opinion’." Many Jews have called on the Stuttgart municipality to appeal the decision, but legal experts believe that an appeal may be rejected. This comes after five months ago the German Federal Administrative Court ruled that it would be illegal to exclude BDS supporters from state-owned places in Germany. (JNS)


In The News:

· Am Echad sent congratulations to Doron Almog

Following the announcement of the nomination of major general (res.) and Israel Prize laureate Doron Almog to CEO of Jewish Agency, Am Echad congratulated him in a letter. Signed by Am Echad co-chairs Dr. Irving Lebovics and Sol Shlomo Werdiger, the letter reads: "In the name of Am Echad, who operated to strengthen the relationship between Israel and the Diaspora Jews, we would like to congratulate you on your nomination for CEO of the Jewish Agency. As someone who has worked hard to promote and strengthen the weakest in our society, your stepping into the position is great news for anyone who cares for the unity of our nation. We wish you the best of luck in advancing the goals set by the Jewish Agency, and we have no doubt that your experience and past success will assist you in this new position. We are certain that under your leadership the Jewish Agency will continue in promoting the connection between Israel and the Diaspora on the basis of our common Jewish identity."