Thousands of Israelis turn German

German passport

Hundreds of thousands of Jews fled Germany during the rise of the Nazi regime, and many of these refugees ultimately ended up in Israel. But now the tide seems to be turning back in the other direction.

In the past year alone, more than 4,300 Israelis received German citizenship, according to Israel's Central Bureau of Statistics—an increase of 50 percent over the previous year. And fortunately for the many Israelis with German ancestry, they are not forced to revoke their Israeli citizenship thanks to Article 116 (2) of the German Constitution. They are simply having their citizenship "restored." This law has grown in popularity over the past few years as the security situation has deteriorated in Israel and discontent with the government has escalated.

Israelis with newly acquired German citizenship are enjoying the visa-free travel to Europe and the United States, along with the prospect of cheaper education in Germany and other parts of Europe. One new German citizen was also attracted by the irony:

Germany's soil is drenched with my family's blood, and in spite of it all, I got German citizenship. I see it as taking revenge on Hitler. Sweet revenge."

But other Israelis of German descent don't see it this way. "I would regard it as greatly disrespectful to my parents' memory to seek German citizenship," said a child of Holocaust survivors. But for the thousands more Israelis seeking German citizenship, the financial and security incentives are winning the argument.


How not to find a nuke in a box

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I must admit, I don't lose sleep worrying about what's inside the 11 million containers that arrive at U.S. ports every year. But with the new anti-terrorism bill being debated in the U.S. Congress, container security has become a (relatively) hot topic. Today, only the containers deemed high risk get separated and scanned, but Democrats are pushing to screen every piece of cargo in case there is a bomb packed somewhere among all those sneakers and DVD players.

According to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner, this 100-percent scanning plan will only disrupt the flow of commerce and raise transportation costs for U.S. importers. And it makes no sense for a terrorist to smuggle in an explosive this way, argue James Jay Carafano and Robert Quartel of the Heritage Foundation, since it would be much easier to assemble it once it arrives. They add:

If terrorists had a nuclear weapon, it's not at all clear why they would risk allowing it leave their control. After all the time and trouble required to build a bomb, would they really wave good-bye and hope it gets to the right place? 

Carafano dismisses the comprehensive-scanning proposal as just another form of "feel good security." That sounds about right to me.