Monday, May 22, 2006

A light unto the nations?

The Jewish State was built on the back of Yishayahu’s prophetic notion that we should be a "a light unto the nations"(Isaiah 42:6; 49:6).

So then what does our state do when people arrive in need? The government of Israel, the worlds only Jewish government, puts them in prison because they don’t have valid visas. Of all the wonderful examples Israel could learn from Australia, our successful migration intake, our welfare and education systems, why did Israel choose to copy our system of mandatory detention? This story from Haaretz today: Yad Vashem chairman urges PM to let Darfur refugees stay in Israel
The chairman of the Yad Vashem Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Authority, Avner Shalev, called Sunday on Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to allow refugees from the war-torn Darfur region of Sudan to remain Israel.
In a letter to Olmert, Shalev wrote that, "as members of the Jewish people, for whom the memory of the Holocaust burns, we cannot stand by as the refugees from the genocide in Darfur hammer on our doors. The memories of the past and Jewish values compel us to show solidarity with the persecuted."

Shalev pointed out that during the Holocaust, countries such as Australia, Canada and Britain cited security reasons when they sent Jews escaping the Nazis to detention camps.

In early May, Holocaust researcher Professor Yehuda Bauer, an academic advisor to Yad Vashem, added his name to a High Court petition brought by the Hotline for Migrant Workers against the Israel Defense Forces Head of Operations Directorate, Brigadier General Gadi Eisencott, who signed an order to expel 31 Sudanese refugees from the Darfur region without giving them the right to make their case. See here also.

This is an embarrassment. We can surely do better than this!

1 comment:

Greg said...

I, for one, certainly agree with you on this one! Israel should and can be a "light unto the nations." We should do our best to deal with immigrants--whether Jewish or not--on a personal, rather then ethnic bases.