Jewish National Fund - We Only Have ONE ISRAEL

Yuli Edelstein, Israel's Minister of Aliyah and Absorption

by Gad Nahshon

Yuli Edelstein, Israel's Minister of Aliyah and Absorption, was a recent guest of the noted Sutton Place Synagogue in the east side of Manhattan. Many people attended this event and listened to the Israeli Minister's excellent and enriching account of Israel's urgent and burning national issues. Edelstein pointed out that only Aliyah, a massive one, will push the Arabs away from their dream to destroy Israel. The massive Aliyah from the former Soviet Union of 850,000 Olim was a factor in the P.L.O.'s decision to come to the dialogue compromise table.

The P.L.O. realized that they must negotiate some agreement rather than to use weapons. But Edelstein said that Israel is not looking for Olim who ran away from their countries to Israel after they declared bankruptcy. He is looking for Olim who are attracted to Israel by its appeal or 'pull motives.' He said that there are still many issues of absorption to be solved such as the under-employment of Russian engineers, for example, but he remarked, "People were afraid that Israel will have a problem of a homeless class of people and even starvation of Olim.

Thank God, it did not happen in Israel." Edelstein said that the economy in Israel is in good shape and that Israel is still leading in the hi-tech field. It's second to the U.S.A. Edelstein said, also that he supports the peace process, although, he voted against Netanyahu - Sharon's "WLI Agreement" as a bad one. He explained that the agreement gave the P.L.O. a chance to give to the agreement their own interpretation. For example, Israel agreed to free prisoners. The P.L.O. said, "We meant the political one's." Political? these prisoners are murderers of women and children in cold blood. So he refused to support it. But he wants to go on with the peace process. Edelstein, also, stated that he is a resident of Alon Shvut, in the west bank, himself a settler, is willing to compromise in order to achieve a final stable peace in the Middle-East.

Edelstein, also, pointed out that in reality Israel slowly solves its problems of conversions of Olim. There are always alternative ways of compromise and the Chief Rabbis have been cooperative in the past.

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