Most Alevis Want to Leave Turkey

Erdogan has created a climate in Turkey whereby Alevis (who make up the vast majority of Turkey’s Median Jews) no longer feel welcome in the country. Yet, most Alevis still have nowhere to go as the gates of Median Aliyah (immigration to Israel) are yet to be opened and Median Jews for geopolitical reasons are not yet officially recognized in Israel. Will most Alevis want to leave for Israel when they realize that they are Jewish? No doubt so. However, there is no question that Alevi Aliyah in practice will  be gradual in accordance with Israel’s absorption capabilities considering that there are more Median Jews in Turkey than there are rabbinic Jews in Israel. Alevis come from a relatively developed country and will therefore not arrive as destitute refugees and will expect near immediate jobs and instant housing. There is a tremendous challenge therefore in building housing, schools, universities and hospitals and indeed creating jobs for millions of new arrivals. With the case of the Alevis is the challenge particularly difficult since no one knows how many they are (estimates vary from 8 million to 25 million) or how rapidly they will arrive in Israel. The fact is however that Erdogan’s policies have created a demand for emigration among Alevis in Turkey who would want nothing more than to leave the country. This could translate into mass Aliyah to Israel in the coming years.

Published by Daniella Bartfeld

Daniella Bartfeld is the founding director of the Aliyah Organization.

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