Cumhuriyet Yıllarında Türkiye Yahudileri - Aliya: Bir Toplu Göçün Öyküsü

This work recounts the mass immigration of Turkish Jewry to the new State of Israel during the period of its establishment. Covering the period of 1946-1949, the book reveals the reactions of the Turkish regime, public opinion and the Jewish community's leaders themselves to the exodus, as well as documenting the difficulties faced by the Turkish immigrants in adapting to the harsh conditions of Israeli life in the years after its initial founding and the beginning of their process of becoming Israeli. The sudden and very rapid immigration of thousands of Turkish Jews to Israel spurred heated debates within Turkish society over the question of their remaining coreligionists' ‘citizenship' and ‘loyalty to Turkey'. On one hand they were criticized for having failed to fully assimilate into Turkish society, and accused of ingratitude toward the Turkish state and to the Turks themselves, while others issued claimed that they were in any case still foreigners, and that Turkey should be glad to see them go. Those Turkish Jews of the lower middle class, who had internalized this sense of foreignness within Turkish society and felt demoralized at the twin pressures of the regime's ‘Turkification' policies on one hand, and the persistent discrimination on the other, were swept up in the excitement surrounding the fulfillment of the age-old Jewish dream of return to Zion. But the road to the new state was a difficult one. A great many were forced to leave friends and family behind, while others soon perished, either on the journey to Israel or in its War of Independence. A good number became agriculturalists, despite their complete unfamiliarity with the land. Others, after serving their compulsory military service, went on to become career officers in the IDF and thereby adapted to their new homeland. Another, smaller portion, unable to adapt to the conditions in Israel, ultimately returned to Turkey. The successes, the failures, the hardships and adventures: all of these stories are told in this lively, moving and striking account of the early Turkish immigrants to Israel.