Why The Rocket Attacks

January 4, 2009

Juan Cole explains his take on the rationale behind Hamas’s rocket attacks (what he calls “micro-wars”):

“…they targeted Israel’s Achilles heel, its demographic vulnerability. Jewish communities are economically thriving and well integrated in the industrial democracies, and there are significant pull factors encouraging Israeli emigration. Some Israeli demographers think that if one counts the second generation, there are 900,000 Israelis outside of Israel. There are as many as 200,000 Jews now in Germany, mostly from the former Soviet Union, who preferred to go there rather than to Israel. During the Second Intifada or Palestinian uprising, in some years Israel’s retention rate of new immigrants fell to unheard-of low levels. Some 50 percent of American immigrants to Israel have returned to the US,and Israel has lost nearly 10% of its one million Russian immigrants. All the violence is nervous-making. The micro-wars, the wars of the rockets, are intended to discourage in-migration to Israel by the Russians and other former East Bloc Jews, and to foster out-migration by Israeli Jews, which the Israeli leadership and Zionism generally view as a dire threat to the character of the Israeli state.”

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