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 Thursday, August 13 2020 14:26
David Stepanyan

Israeli political scientist: Armenia faces watershed considering  immigration of Lebanese Armenians and the outflow of its own citizens

Israeli political scientist: Armenia faces watershed considering  immigration of Lebanese Armenians and the outflow of its own citizens

ArmInfo. Considering the situation faced by the Lebanese Armenians today, one can expect their mass migration to their historical homeland or to other countries.   About a hundred refugees from Lebanon have already arrived in Armenia  yesterday. A similar opinion was expressed to ArmInfo by Israeli  public figure, political scientist Avigdor Eskin.

"The Armenian community was severely affected by the explosion: 15  Armenians were killed, about 300 were injured, the scale of material  damage is colossal. Today, about 150 thousand Armenians still live in  Lebanon. In times of peace, they were considered a thriving community  of a prosperous Middle East country. However, for almost a year the  country has experienced the hardest economic and political crisis.   Armenians found themselves between Sunni Muslims, Shiite Muslims,  Maronite Christians and Druze.  After the explosion in the port of  Beirut, Lebanon turned out to be a single disaster zone - 80% of  goods were delivered to Lebanon through a port that does not exist  now. People are in danger of hunger, " Eskin outlined the situation.

Armenia, according to his estimates, is a vivid example of a national  state. One of the initial tasks of which was to gather all the  Armenians of the Diaspora in their newly independent country.  However, in the first 30 years of independence, the flow from the  Diaspora to their historical homeland was small. Meanwhile, the  number of those who left Armenia is from one third to half of its  citizens. In this context, the political scientist considers it  appropriate to recall Israel, which for 72 years of independence, has  multiplied the Jewish population twelve-fold.

The secret of Israel's success in repatriating Eskin is determined by  the far from idealistic aspirations of most of the Israeli  repatriates. The latter, as a rule, came to Israel in search of  refuge from adversity or simply a better life. And hardly a large  part of the same million repatriates who arrived over the past 30  years only from the former USSR countries did so at the 2000-year-old  call of Zion. The massive immigration to Israel from Europe and Arab  countries has also become a forced displacement rather than an act of  idealism.

Eskin explains the secret of Israel's success in repatriating by the  fact that aspirations of most of the Israeli repatriates were far  from being idealistic. The latter, as a rule, came to Israel in  search of refuge from adversity or simply a better life. And it is  unlikely that the large part of those million repatriates who arrived  over the past 30 years from the former USSR countries did that at  call of Zion. The massive immigration to Israel from Europe and Arab  countries has also become a forced displacement rather than an act of  idealism.

"What useful conclusions can Armenia draw from this? The most  important role in such cases is played by the country's readiness to  receive refugees from the Diaspora and the ability to use the crisis  situation for mass immigration. This should include an absorption  program for new arrivals. In Israel, repatriates were assisted in  purchasing housing, language learning, employment. Direct work with  compatriots who are in distress or crisis is also an important  factor. They should be provided with direct assistance on the spot  and their transfer to their historical homeland should be ensured,  "he said.

All this, according to Eskin, is extremely important, but secondary.  Since everything is decided not by numbers, but by a qualitative,  idealistic aspiration. And its consequence is an atmosphere of  encouragement to return to the Motherland. In this light, he noted  that 10 or 20 percent of the returnees were ardent Zionists. And they  were ready to live in tents for years, drain swamps and irrigate the  desert. And it was these people who created the atmosphere and  brought others along with them. The policy of all Israeli governments  to encourage Aliyah (return to the Land), according to the political  scientist, was the result of this very powerful ideological wave.

"In any crisis in the Diaspora, the leaders of Israel urged their  compatriots to return home. And their words were supported by the  deeds of our special international agency" Sokhnut. "It is this  ideological and idealistic surge and strengthening of national  consciousness that Armenia lacks today. As soon as the government  becomes the spokesman for the idea of return, any crisis will be its  catalyst. But the lack of idealism, coupled with a crisis of  governance, give rise to an outflow of the population from the  country to the Diaspora. Now Armenia is facing a difficult test. It  can facilitate the immigration of tens of thousands of Armenians from  Lebanon or remain a passive witness to the immigration of tens of  thousands of its own citizens due to economic crisis casued by  quarantine. This is a harsh reality with which only true ideals can  compete, "Eskin summed up.

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