Australia and Israel Compared
Monash Studies in Global Movements series
Edited by Andrew Markus and Moshe Semyonov
Karin Amit, Allan Borowski and Sergio DellaPergola Demographic forces can have profound impacts on societies – social, economic, political and environmental. This chapter focuses on international migration, a demographic force which has played a major role in shaping the societies of both Australia and Israel – two major immigrant-receiving countries. While many countries experience population inflows of various types (for example, refugees and asylum seekers, tourists, seasonal workers, and so on), Australia and Israel are among only a handful of countries (others include, for example, the USA, Canada and New Zealand) which have long sought immigrants for permanent settlement. Their historic and contemporary imperatives for doing so, however, are quite different. These differences are reflected in the comparative analysis presented in this chapter. Australia emerged from World War II greatly concerned, following near-invasion by Japan during the war, about the capacity of her small population to secure such a large island-continent. ‘Populate or perish’ was the slogan of the times. Population growth was also seen as vital for economic development and immigration was to be a major driver. In Israel’s case, at the close of World War II the state was yet to be established. What existed in British Mandatory Palestine was a yishuv, a Jewish settlement, living among a larger Arab population. However, in order to ensure that any state established as the national Jewish home in parts of Palestine (as initially proposed by the 1917 Balfour Declaration, as provided for under the UK’s 1922 League of Nations Mandate over Palestine...
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