I often wonder if the people who claim to be believers and represent God’s will on earth live with all the contradictions and even promote agenda that goes against thousands of years of Jewish tradition.
The Israeli right, from Likud, Shas, Yahadut Hatorah and other members of the current government have claimed ownership over Judaism in Israel.
The latest “Jewish” decision by the government is to send back a couple of thousands of refugees from South-Sudan, who fled through Egypt to Israel in past several years. South-Sudan had declared independence a year ago, but the fighting continues in the newly declared country. And so the current Israeli government wishes to send these people back, as these several thousands refugees endanger the 6 million Jews who live in Israel.
The stranger that dwelleth with you shall be unto you as one born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself (Leviticus 19:34)
Shas, Yahdut Hatorah, Likud and the rest of the gang choose to ignore the basis of their core beliefs, the Torah. Even now, during the holiday of which is essence is to tell the story of our hardships as strangers in Egypt. The “Ger”, the stranger is mentioned seven times in the Torah as a command to treat them as a part of Israel, as Israel were strangers in Egypt.
But forgetting commands that were written 2,500 years ago is reasonable, even though it is the core value system on which Shas & Yahdut Hatorah live their lives and choose their agenda.
How about 70 years? Is that to long of a period to remember? Well, Prime Minster Benjamin Netanyahu & Minister of Interior, Eli Ishai, don’t need to remember, they can read books, watch movies, even speak to Holocaust survivors who are still alive. Some of them were refugees, some of them had tried to flee, some of them were sent back to were they came from, even to camps, to their deaths. As a grandson to four holocaust survivors I cannot stand the thought that the government of my country, that my grandparents helped built, send people possibly to their deaths.
South-Sudan is not 1940’s Europe, but there is still a chance these people’s lives are in danger. Moreover, they might be in greater risk for finding refuge in Israel. Even if some of them came here only as working immigrants, is it Ok for a government of the Jewish state to take the risk and send them back? A definite no.
Saying that, I don’t think Israel should house anyone who crosses the boarder illegally. Israel should have a policy of accepting refugees for a limited period of time, let’s say five years, and then reconsider their status and if it is possible to send them back to their native countries. A few thousands of people will not undermine Israel’s Jewishness.
Another thing Israel should do is stop importing foreign workers to Israel. There are thousands of foreigners in Israel willing to work, which have become illegal do to policy promoted by contractors of foreign workers. These contractors have an interest in turning the status of current workers to illegal in order to bring as many people as possible, as often as possible because this means more money. The result is tens or hundreds of thousands of illegal workers in Israel. These are human beings, not products that can stay in storage or be sent back to the factory.
The government can stop the importing of new people (only for money) and give a legal working status for people who are already here. This will help the Jewishness of Israel more thanthe current policies promoted by the Netanyahu government.
I’ve had the privilege to help the refugees in the beginning when the issue started, in their first months in Israel a few years back. Families who were left in the streets of Beer-Sheva after crossing the border with nothing but the clothes on their backs. Many with no shoes, with children, with babies. People do not risk their lives crossing a border, fearing being shot, if their lives are good. We as Jews are the first that need to acknowledge that and do whatever we can to stop our government from sending these refugees and the 500 kids of foreign workers that were born in Israel back.
Now, during Passover, people should realize that this is not the Jewish way.
Exodus 23:9 Also thou shalt not oppress a stranger: for ye know the heart of a stranger, seeing ye were strangers in the land of Egypt.
Leviticus 9 And if a stranger sojourn with thee in your land, ye shall not vex him.