Re "An Urgent, Misguided Call to Come 'Home,' " Opinion, Aug. 29: Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is misguiding France's Jews to come to Israel for political reasons. The birthrate of Jews in Israel is expected to fall in the future, with the Arab population overtaking it unless measures are taken. Over the last several years the Israeli government has encouraged Jews from abroad to emigrate. Approximately 1 million Jews have come from Russia alone since the early 1990s. Sharon's invitation to France's Jews and to Jews around the world shows his ambition to maintain a country with a Jewish majority.
Jo-Ann Mort is correct in her analysis of the reputation that Sharon is making for himself. He should not use the concept of anti-Semitism to lure a large group of people into emigration, but should outright state his real intentions.
Mort is trying to straddle a fence of her own making. She acknowledges the need of "a haven for persecuted Jews" but criticizes Sharon's urging of French Jews "to move to Israel."
That Jews in Europe should be experiencing virulent anti-Semitism only a little more than 50 years after the Holocaust must be a source of painful embarrassment to European governments and society.
One cannot blame the Jews of France for fleeing a victimization that mirrors the tactics of the worst persecution that Jews, or any people, have suffered in modern times. Mort's dismissal of the Jewish emigration from France as "paranoia" is historically insensitive. Her insistence that Israel remain a "moral" beacon to the world would be impossible if the Jewish state did not seize every opportunity to provide asylum to Jews subjected to street violence, the desecration of their cemeteries and the scorching of their houses of worship.