Jewish Agency downplays report
JTA - The Jewish Agency for Israel denied reports that it is trying to settle whole communities in the West Bank. Chairman Sallai Meridor said in a statement that "the Zionist movement has no plan for bringing communities to settle specifically beyond the Green Line." Meridor was responding to a report in the Ma'ariv newspaper that the World Zionist Organization's settlement department was involved in efforts to help rabbis and dozens of families in their communities settle in the West Bank.
The paper referred to one project involving a community from Monsey, N.Y., that has chosen to live in Kochav Ya'acov, near Ramallah. Meridor said in the statement that while the majority of new immigrants come as individuals, there is also interest in community-wide immigration, which provides a support system that can help olim adjust to life in Israel. Meridor said some 20 heads of local municipalities have been involved in efforts to get whole communities to emigrate to Israel.
These include Conservative and Orthodox communities from Argentina and groups of French Jews that are looking into settling in Beit Shemesh and Ashdod. While the group from Monsey has chosen to settle in Kochav Ya'acov, Meridor stressed that in all cases of individual and communal aliyah, it is the immigrants who choose where to live.
This story was published in the DallasJewishWeek
on: Thursday, June 13, 2002