Australia and Israel Compared
Edited by Andrew Markus and Moshe Semyonov
Na’ama Carmi and Susan Kneebone For those who’ve come across the seas We’ve boundless plains to share (McCormick 1878: 2nd verse) The State of Israel will be open for Jewish immigration and for the Ingathering of the Exiles. (Declaration of Independence 1948) One central way to look at the focus and effect of immigration laws and policy is in terms of inclusion and exclusion; that is, as determining whom we admit as ‘one of us’ and whom we reject and so cannot join us as a member. If we look at the Israeli immigration laws and practices from this perspective, the answer to the above question is clear: as the above statement recognizes, Jews and family members of Jews are welcome to join the Israeli collective, a policy embodied first and foremost in the Law of Return. Non-Jews are, generally speaking, ‘persona non grata’ in terms of joining the collective as full members, precluded by de facto practices even without an explicit immigration policy. As we will explain, Israel has shaped its laws, which are based on ethnicity, to fit contemporary patterns of international migration. In the case of Australia, although it may appear to be a ‘classical’ welcoming country of immigration, a colonial heritage as part of the British Empire and its geographical position in the Asia-Pacific region have shaped its laws and underlying policy. The welcoming words of Australia’s national anthem exaggerate the inclusiveness of Australia’s immigration policy and laws. From the pre-Federation period up to World War...
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