|In Tel Aviv (image Haaretz)|
"What message does it send to all those people that have been to the Sydney Jewish Museum or the Jewish Holocaust Centre, seen the suffering of the Shoah and then read what Israel is doing to people who could also be sent to their death by an Israeli government's decision?
As Jews we must put pressure on the government by any means we know how, not only because it is humane to do so, but also for a selfish reason to ensure that this action does not lead to increased anti-Semitism." (Emphasis added)And in the same newspaper is an article on the same theme by the vice president of New Israel Fund Australia and a board member of the Asylum Seeker Centre of NSW, that also invokes the Shoah, specifically the voyage of the SS St Louis, and observes, inter alia:
"Here in Australia, the country with the highest number per capita of Holocaust survivors except Israel – people are insisting on being heard.
An emergency appeal launched by the New Israel Fund Australia raised $20,000 within just one week to help fund lawyers and case workers in Israel who are assisting asylum seekers facing deportation.
And, in just two days, 200 people signed a letter to PM Netanyahu protesting against his asylum seeker policies.
NIF plans to send the letter to Mark Sofer, Israel’s ambassador to Australia, next week.
... Please join us and call upon the Israeli government to treat its refugees with the compassion that Jewish people, our parents and our ancestors, have sought at times of grave danger for more than 2,000 years."Never mind that, as reported here,
'When asked whether Israel needs to deport illegal Eritrean and Sudanese infiltrators, 58% of those polled said yes, and 23% said no.
When asked whether the infiltrators from Sudan and Eritrea are seeking political asyum or migrants looking for jobs, 51% of responders said they believe the infiltrators are "job seekers," and only 37% said they are "asylum seekers."
In addition, 63% of Israelis support the decision to remove the infiltrators to a third country in Africa, and 20% opposed the decision. 59% of Israelis do not believe that Israel has a moral obligation towards the infiltrators, while 24% said they believe Israel does have a moral obligation towards them.
Israel's plan offers the nearly 40,000 male, unmarried infiltrators, who entered Israel illegally, the opportunity to leave voluntarily before the end of March and receive $3500 compensation. enough to live on for as long as a year in the countries which agreed to accept them and to which they are to be flown. Anyone still in the country after that date will be arrested and deported without compensation.
Families and bona fide refugees are not included in the plan.
Israeli residents of southern Tel Aviv - where most of the infiltrators live - have long complained of their presence, the increased crime rate endangering Israeli citizens, and the city and Supreme Court's preference for infiltrators over Israeli citizens. The government's current plan has been approved by the Supreme Court, after all its previous objections were complied with by the Justice Department.'As Liel Leibovitz sensibly states here:
"The Sudanese and Eritrean migrants struggling to stay in Israel aren’t Anne Frank, and the Israeli government isn’t the Gestapo. Thinking in these terms is morally unserious, intellectually dishonest, and politically unwise. And they prevent us from carefully and effectively addressing the real question: Should the migrants be allowed to stay?
Take the sound and the fury out of the picture, and you’ll find good and convincing arguments on both sides. It’s perfectly fine to argue that Israel, a Jewish state founded in the shadow of unprecedented persecution, should be sensitive to all who wish to make a better life for themselves, and therefore loosen its immigration policy to absorb as many newcomers as it can without making spurious arguments and claiming that they’re all in imminent mortal danger. That said, anyone making this argument should be prepared to explain precisely how Israel ought to welcome torrents of newcomers. The last decade was proof that, in the absence of clear guidelines, Israel’s free society and robust economy will attract an exponentially growing number of African migrants. Even if you believe the freedom to pick up and move anywhere you like to be a universal human right—a problematic proposition—you’d still have to explain just how Israel is supposed to take in so many newcomers without jeopardizing its ability to sustain its citizens first, losing its inherently Jewish nature, or both.
This, of course, is a more jagged version of the very same conversation Americans are having when they talk about immigration. Israelis, so frequently the canaries in the global coal mine, would do well to lead the way by rejecting the temptation of empty outrage and engaging instead in a difficult and complicated conversation, the kind adults have when faced with inconvenient truths and imperfect choices."