The idea of sending Palestinians to Europe will not succeed as long as refugees continue to call for their right of return against the will of Israel.
The most extreme government Israel has ever known was installed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last month. There are two ultra-nationalists in it: Itamar Ben-Gvir of the Jewish Power party and Bezalel Smotrich of the Religious Zionism party, both of whom are regarded as pupils of the late Rabbi Meir Kahane, whose party was expelled from the Knesset in the 1980s and designated by the US as a terrorist organization.
Ben-Gvir is “the most irresponsible man in the Middle East,” according to former Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid, who made the remarks following the latter’s most provocative visit to the Al-Aqsa Mosque complex. Smotrich has also come under fire for allegedly harboring a fascist ideology. He was also accused of planning an attack on a busy highway during the 2005 Gaza disengagement, although he has refuted these accusations.
However, their ideology’s most explosive component involves pressuring Palestinians to emigrate. Smotrich stated in 2021 before the Knesset that David Ben-Gurion, the nation of Israel’s first prime minister, ought to have “finished the job” in 1948 by expelling all Arabs. He has also advocated for the expulsion of prominent Arab politicians and other Muslims who oppose Jewish rule from Israel. Ben-Gvir, meanwhile, stated that Israel should “encourage” Palestinians who “hate or do not believe in Israel” to leave their homeland in a televised interview.
According to the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics, Israel is home to approximately 9.7 million people, 74% of whom identify as Jews and 21% as Arabs. Since 2009, when it stood at 80%, the Jewish population share has been gradually declining, while the Arab percentage slightly increased.
The Economist reports that the Jewish majority in historic Palestine, which includes the Israeli-occupied West Bank and the besieged Gaza Strip, where it “falls to barely half,” for many right-leaning Israelis. This trend is especially concerning.
Long a central concern in Israeli politics, population parity. Given that a true democracy cannot exclude a group of people due to their race or ethnicity, some see it as posing a problem for the nation’s so-called democracy. Israel’s status as a “Jewish state” would be jeopardized if Palestinians were to gain the majority and the right to vote throughout historic Palestine.
The far-right politicians who have dominated Israeli politics in recent years reject the two-state solution, which has been suggested as the only way to resolve this conflict. Therefore, the idea of driving Palestinians out of their country has become more prevalent in the political discourse of the nation.
Such ideas do not only pertain to Palestinians. According to Ben-Gvir, he also wants to deport Jewish politicians to Europe who are “disloyal to the state of Israel.” The “grandchild clause” in Israel’s Law of Return, which permits third-generation Jews to immigrate to Israel, has also been supported by Smotrich. He recently stated that 70% of immigrants from former Soviet countries were not Jewish, describing this as a “Jewish time bomb that must be dealt with” and posing a serious threat to the country’s Jewish majority.