Ori YehudaiSep 9, 2021
Jewish Emigration from Palestine and Israel after World War II
Cambridge University Press 2020
Ori Yehudai's erudite examination of Jewish emigration from Israel in the early years of the state presents a fascinating study of the lived experiences of Israeli refugees from Israel. This book makes a precious contribution to the migration history of Israel.
The story of Israel's foundation has often been told from the perspective of Jewish immigration to the Land of Israel. Leaving Zion: Jewish Emigration from Palestine and Israel after World War II (Cambridge UP, 2020) turns this historical narrative on its head, focusing on Jewish out-migration from Palestine and Israel between 1945 and the late 1950s. Based on previously unexamined primary sources collected from twenty-two archives in six countries, Ori Yehudai demonstrates that despite the dominant view that displaced Jews should settle in the Jewish homeland, many Jews instead saw the country as a site of displacement or a way-station to more desirable lands. Weaving together the perspectives of governments, aid organizations, Jewish communities and the personal stories of individual migrants, Yehudai brings to light the ideological, political and social tensions surrounding emigration. Covering events in the Middle East, Europe and the Americas, this study provides a fresh transnational perspective on the critical period surrounding the birth of Israel and the post-Holocaust reconstruction of the Jewish world.
Ari Barbalat holds a PhD in International Relations from the University of California in Los Angeles. He lives in Toronto with his family.