Israeli envoy welcomes Berlin Jewish intake cut

7th January 2005, Comments 0 comments

7 January 2005, BERLIN - Israel's ambassador to Germany, Shimon Stein, on Friday welcomed plans by Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's government to cut Jewish immigration to Germany. Stein told the Freies Wort newspaper that moves by Berlin to limit Jewish migrants from the former Soviet Union conformed with Israel's view there could not be any true Jewish refugees because Israel was the homeland of all Jews. The German government is still seeking to hammer out a final deal on limiting Jewish immigration with

7 January 2005

BERLIN - Israel's ambassador to Germany, Shimon Stein, on Friday welcomed plans by Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's government to cut Jewish immigration to Germany.

Stein told the Freies Wort newspaper that moves by Berlin to limit Jewish migrants from the former Soviet Union conformed with Israel's view there could not be any true Jewish refugees because Israel was the homeland of all Jews.

The German government is still seeking to hammer out a final deal on limiting Jewish immigration with Germany's 16 federal states and the country's Central Council of Jews, which opposes restrictions.

"I see no reason for a new regulation and for limiting Jewish immigration," said the Central Council's President Paul Spiegel last month who also complained he had not been consulted over the plan.

Contrary to media reports this week saying new limits on Jewish immigration are already in place, the Federal Interior Ministry has underlined that the legislation is still being worked out.

This could take until next summer and in the meantime some 27,000 Jews who have already applied and received a green light to come to Germany will be admitted under the old regulations, officials say. Among criteria being considered to cut Jewish immigration are imposing German language tests and ratings for employability.

Israel has long been unhappy over the large number of Jews choosing to settle in Germany and Stein said the goal was to encourage Jewish immigrants to go to Israel.

The German government says about 190,000 Jews have come to Germany as immigrants from the former Soviet Union since 1991. Prior to this Germany's Jewish community numbered about 30,000.

Berlin opened its door to Jews under a deal in 1990 between then chancellor Helmut Kohl and German Jewish leaders in the run-up to German reunification.

The move was partly to aid Jews suffering from anti-Semitism in the former East Bloc and partly German realpolitik aimed at showing the country responsible for the Holocaust was so transformed that it had become attractive for Jewish immigrants.

DPA

Subject: German news

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