Oznia, a blog of Israel things

~Sudanese Refugees In Israel- In or Out? by aji525
May 12, 2008, 6:02 pm
Filed under: opinion, politics | Tags: , ,

Many refugees from the Darfur region of Sudan have trekked across the African continent, through the Sinai Peninsula, and finally into Israel. These refugees are dying because of the violence that is occurring in Darfur and the disease, hunger, and drought in the refugee camps. Once these refugees reach Israel they have technically illegally crossed the border, but can Israel just turn them away?

Sudanese refugees rally in Israel

This is a very divisive issue in Israel for many reasons. The Jews were once turned away from lands, like the United States, when seeking refuge from persecution. Since the Jews went through a similar situation of being turned away can Israel now turn away Sudanese refugees? But, many people argue that Israel still has many internal issues, still has to protect themselves from the Arab nations around them, and that these people have illegally come into Israel. One problem many people see is the massive influx of refugees because there will be a shortage of money, housing, jobs, and other necessary items. The Israeli government and its citizens may not be able to support such a large number of refugees. But, as a start to solving this problem the Israeli government has started to work with the United Nations by setting a quota. Also, the refugees that are already in Israel are being given jobs and places to live, especially in Eilat.

Personally, I feel that Israel is a country based on great morals; that is something Israel prides itself on. I feel that the right thing to do is to provide these refugees with a safe haven, food, water, and shelter, all of which they were lacking back in Darfur. Even though this is a somewhat lofty expectation of Israel, she always rises to the challenge. I don’t see why this challenge should be any different than all of the others Israel has faced throughout its 60 years of existence.

Ynetnews, Haaretz, National Public Radio, and CNN all have interesting pieces on the Sudanese refugees in Israel.


8 Comments so far
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At this point, Israel has already taken in many Sudanese refugees. (About 500, I believe?) As a percentage of its population, this is a huge influx for Israel to take in, and she cannot be expected to take in any more. The best thing that Israel can do for herself, for the Sudanese refugees already in the country, and for Sudanese refugees who have yet to find a new home country, is to petition other nations to accept them.

Comment by Sarah

Even though Jews were once turned away from countries after the Holocaust, I do not believe Israel is the right place for Sudanese refugees. First of all, Israel has there own problem with the Palestinian refugees along. Second, Israel can not continue taking in every persecuted people. This would set a precedent that Israel must accept every nation that is being persecuted because of their past. That would over time undermine the Jewish State, because the percentage of Jews would be lowered. Third, the economy of the country is already not in the best shape, and bringing in lots of refugees would not help.

Instead of accepting them into Israel, the Israeli government should advocate for other countries to take in some. If necessary, Israel could take in some, but should be cautious about how many they take in, just because of problems that they already have.

Comment by Ron Shapiro

Just curious Ron, but what if Israel did not have the problems that you mentioned. Would you be in favor of turning away refugees simply to keep up Israel’s Jewish population?

Comment by Yehuda

I would not be totally apposed to bringing them in, considering that the center for Baha’i is in Israel because no other country accepts them. I would just make sure that there is a clear Jewish majority in the Jewish state.

Today, I think Israel is in a good situation. About 80% of citizens are Jewish, but there are many critical parts of the country that aren’t Jewish. For example, the Druze soldiers in Tzahal are considered some of the best soldiers.

Comment by Ron Shapiro

We are a nation of people who rose out of the ashes of the Holocaust, and we say “Never Again!” Well, unfortunately, it is happening again while the world sits around and watches. We must speak out against these atrocities and help out these refugees as much as we can. Although allied with Sudan, no other Arab countries will take them in, and quite like the results of the Evian Conference during WWII, the rest of the world is apathetic and refuses to recognize the situation at hand. I completely advocate for taking absorbing them in the time being.

Comment by Evan M. Gildenblatt

The people from Sudan are dying in numbers everyday, as did we during the Holocaust. It is our moral duty as Jews and human beings to lend them a hand. When we tried to come into the United States of all places, we were rejected, so it is hypocritical for us to blindly say no.
Having said that, I am open to more realistic perspectives, like those of Sarah (#1). While I think we should be the leaders in helping the Sudanese victims, that doesn’t mean unrestricted boarders for Israel.

Comment by Diamond

First of all, comparison to the Holocaust is erroneous; the genocide in Darfur is largely the result of what was a failed rebellion (very much unlike the Holocaust). While as Jews we certainly do have certain moral responsibilities, Israel cannot act in a way that is totally detrimental to her welfare on a “moral” basis alone (especially towards a constituency of which it has no relation). To suggest Israel do otherwise is parochial in scope (economically, politically, etc.).

Comment by duncan

In a perfect world, Israel would immediately provide the Sudanese refugees a safe haven. In a perfect world, Israel wouldn’t be in the political situation it’s in either. One issue that hasn’t yet been mentioned is that the Sudanese refugees aren’t the only ones trying to cross the border into Israel–it is very hard for the border patrol to distinguish who in fact is a Sudanese refugee, and who isn’t. Sudan isn’t the only African country with a major issue. Of course, I hope that Israel will do, and I know that it can do, a lot for the refugees. But there has to be a limit to what it can do, after all Israel can’t save all of Africa.

Comment by madeinisrael

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