Get the hell out of Palestine
When Helen Thomas sniped that Israel’s Jews should “get the hell out of Palestine” and “go home” to Poland and Germany, she displayed more than just hostility for the Jewish state. She also revealed her ignorance of basic Israeli demography.
Contrary to the anti-Zionist stereotype, Israel is not primarily a nation of Europeans and their descendants: The largest share of Israel’s population is ethnically Middle Eastern and North African. Some Jewish survivors from “Poland and Germany” did find haven in Israel after the Holocaust, but a far greater number of Israeli Jews were refugees from the Arab world. “Jews In Grave Danger In All Moslem Lands,” reported the New York Times in May 1948, “Nine Hundred Thousand in Africa and Asia Face Wrath of Their Foes.” In the years that followed Israel’s creation, ancient Jewish communities in Egypt, Yemen, Libya, and elsewhere were decimated as their inhabitants fled from anti-Semitic violence and terror. Israel absorbed most of those refugees, and they and their descendants — the Jews indigenous to the region — became the core of the country’s population.
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