Gideon Levy writes:
The numbers are climbing rapidly and the phenomenon is intriguing: Many Israelis are longing for a second passport. If Shimon Peres (now president ) once promised “a car for every worker,” a second passport is now becoming the object of desire. If our forefathers dreamt of an Israeli passport, there are those among us who are now dreaming of a foreign passport.
A Bar-Ilan University study published in the journal Eretz Acheret has found that roughly 100,000 Israelis already hold a German passport. Over the past decade, the trend has strengthened and some 7,000 more Israelis join them every year. To these should be added the thousands of Israelis who hold foreign passports, mostly European countries. The excuses are strange and diverse, but at the base of them all are unease and anxiety, both personal and national. The foreign passport has become an insurance policy against a rainy day. It turns out there are more and more Israelis who are thinking that day may eventually come.
In recent years the Israeli passport has become useful and effective. It opens the gates of most countries of the world, except for parts of the Arab and Muslim world. It is hard to believe that those applying for a second passport are doing so in order to vacation in Tehran, tour Benghazi or take in the sights of San’a. The alibi that a European passport makes entering the United States easier cannot fully explain the phenomenon, which has no equivalent in other developed countries.
It should not be condemned, though. It reflects a mood, a natural and understandable consequence of the real and imagined fears that have been sown here. When Avrum Burg boasted of his French passport several years ago, a public outcry arose, but in vain. Presumably some of those who cried out did so because they do not have the option, like he does, of obtaining an additional passport for themselves. The others may have since crowded onto the line at one embassy or another.