Moving steadily forward with my manuscript on Islam and the Middle East for Latter-day Saints:
One of the most pathetic things about the Palestinian-Israeli dispute is the pervasive theme of homelessness. The Jews, an exiled and scattered people, found a renewed homeland in Palestine. But their return has helped to create a new population of refugees. Now, the Palestinians yearn to return to their lost land. But Jews, too, continue to come to Palestine. Despite the uncertainty and stress of life in Israel, more than two million Jews from around the world have emigrated to the country since its founding in 1948. Israeli law grants the right to settle in the country and to receive Israeli citizenship to any Jew from anywhere in the world—and not merely to any Jew, but to his wife and to any of his descendants for two generations and to any of their wives, whether or not those people are actually Jewish in religion or ethnicity. It can well be imagined that this policy, which grants automatic citizenship to people from Warsaw, Minsk, and Melbourne, is irritating to many Palestinian Arabs. They and their families may have been residents of Jerusalem for a score of generations or more, but, unlike the granddaughter-in-law of a Jew from Beverly Hills or Brooklyn, they cannot hope for the right to vote or to participate in government decisions. The rate of immigration, which had been falling, has surged again because of newly lenient Soviet and now Russian emigration policies, which have allowed many Jews to leave who had been harassed and forbidden to do so under earlier Communist rulers. (The pressure to find housing for these immigrants is one of the factors that led to the building of Israeli settlements on Arab land, which rapidly became one of the chief stumbling blocks to the peace process.)
 I choose the “granddaughter-in-law” illustration quite deliberately. Even if she is not of Jewish birth, Israeli law will consider her a Jew by reason of her marriage to the grandson of a Jew and will grant her the right of immigration and settlement.
Posted from Aswan, Egypt