August 29, 2012

AM I MY BROTHER'S KEEPER?:

In shunning African refugees, Israel ignores Exodus' call not to 'oppress the stranger' (Maya Paley / August 27, 2012

Israel was established as a haven for survivors of genocide. But it is now confronting a problem that puts that historical legacy to the test, and the results so far are dismaying.

Immigration authorities rounded up hundreds of refugees from South Sudan over the past few months and sent them back to their home country, where they could face death due to the ongoing conflict with Sudan, in the north. The last flight of returnees were sent back without any of their belongings, including the mosquito nets and medication kits humanitarian aid organizations had given them before the flight. [...]

This is policy born out of paranoia rather than reason. The crime rates among the African asylum seekers are much lower than that of the general Israeli population. While no crime is excusable, it is unacceptable to exaggerate and make erroneous claims about an entire population of people.

The African affair - and its shameful handling by the leadership - throws light on one of the central tensions of Israeli identity. It yearns to preserve its status as a primarily Jewish state, yet also wants to live by the compassionate and ethical heritage of Jewish teachings.

G-d imposes certain burdens upon us.
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Posted by at August 29, 2012 5:00 AM
  

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