The Schmooze

A Different Kind of 'Right of Return'

The Jewish people’s “right of return” is a cornerstone of Zionist philosophy, and was enshrined into law shortly after the creation of the State of Israel. According to this principle, any Jew from around the world can relocate to Israel and become a citizen.

Playwright Israel Horovitz’s “Lebensraum” — currently being revived in Los Angeles by the Harold Clurman Laboratory Theater Company — opens with an outrageous twist on this tenet. As the German Chancellor wakes from a dream, he decides to invite six million Jews to move to and live in Germany.

The “Fatherland,” indeed. The Chancellor’s offer sends shockwaves across contemporary Germany, as well as wherever dispersed Jewry dwells, from Europe to America to Australia to Israel and beyond. Jews begin to trickle in and then flock to avail themselves of the Chancellor’s seemingly generous proposal. But there are some, including members of a Jewish Defense League-type group from Israel, who smell a rat and suspect that the 1,000 year Reich is up to its old tricks. They believe the German invitation is really an insidious ruse to finish the Nazis’ “Final Solution.” Add to this combustible concoction unemployed Aryans who, amidst an economic downturn, must compete for limited jobs and resources with a formerly despised minority who are now being given preferential treatment — in what could be their millions.

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A Different Kind of 'Right of Return'

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