Oznia, a blog of Israel things


~The African Immigrant Situation in Israel by lsarris
March 13, 2008, 6:41 pm
Filed under: politics | Tags:

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Imagine that you have just encompassed an extensive, excruciating journey from the country of your birth; a country filled with disease, rape, starvation, and genocide. You approach your destination; a land that you have come to out of desperation, in hope that one day, the child at your side and the baby in your arms will come to live in a humane society such as this. Upon your arrival, you are burdened to find out that the land that you have journeyed to has turned against you. You are hunted down and herded off to a prison, where you will be detained for awhile and eventually sent back to your country.

Sadly, this is a typical situation many Africans seeking refuge in Israel face today. Yes, it is understandable that the problem of overpopulation and influxes of refugees is of great concern. Nonetheless, I still cannot bring myself to the realization that the Israeli government is cracking down on these refugees, when throughout history, Jews have felt the wrath of rejection from government to government, ultimately left with nowhere to go. Is deportation really necessary?

If Israel is concerned that taking in African refugees to live within its borders will be bad for the economy or the country in general, then why can’t Israel at least assist the refugees by helping them find a suitable living space elsewhere? Why doesn’t the Israeli government fund Hebrew classes and vocational programs for these immigrants so that they can have the ability to get jobs and be productive members of society? Deportation, especially of those who desperately seek refuge, does not sound like the voice of a westernized country that itself was created by immigrants.

Israel does not want to be a doormat for immigrants and refugees. Therefore, these refugees will likely be deported and returned to Africa. Sometimes, even walking a mile in someone else’s shoes just isn’t enough.

For more information on the current situation, check out: http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/957885.html

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Below is a quote from an August 2007 article in Ha’aretz that raises the question of whether we’re setting a higher standard for Israel than we are for the rest of the countries of the world (US included):
“It’s typical that too much of the response has been, ‘Here’s how I think Israel should have handled it, here’s how Israel shouldn’t handle it, here’s why Israel should be criticized,’ ” said Ruth Messinger, president of the American Jewish World Service, a member of the executive committee of the Save Darfur Coalition. “Darfur . . . is a world problem.”

Messinger said she and others would begin an advocacy campaign encouraging the United States to take in more Darfur refugees. Immigration records indicate that the United States accepted fewer than 2,000 refugees from all of Sudan last year.

For Israel’s part, she said, the country had an obligation to follow the law regarding refugees but needed more assistance from the U.N. refugee agency to do so.”

Comment by Nessa




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