On June 4, 1988, Poland held its first free elections since before World War II, and Solidarity, the anti-Communist party, won 99 percent of the vote. To Sever Plocker, the date marks the beginning of the end of Communism and therefore of the cold war in Europe. He takes the recent anniversary of the election to reflect on the implications for the Jewish state:
Israel gained a great deal from the collapse of the Soviet empire. Post-Communist governments initiated full diplomatic relations with the Jewish state, followed by economic and strategic ties. The arms race to keep up with Soviet armaments, [which flowed freely into the hands of Israel’s enemies], also ended.
In a casual conversation in 1988, the Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev told the American Jewish oil tycoon Armand Hammer that he would “allow all Jews who want to emigrate to Israel to do so,” and the report [of the conversation] was published as a scoop in [the Israeli paper] Yediot Aḥronot. The more than one million immigrants who have arrived in Israel since then have enabled, among other things, the flourishing of Israeli high-tech, which brought the country at least $450 billion in revenue. Were it not for the sweeping victory of the anti-Communist revolution of 1989, Israel would not be what it is today. It is worth remembering this.
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