July 15: An unwanted burden...

Israel is not equipped to deal with the Sudanese refugees, nor should it.

July 14, 2007 21:40
4 minute read.
letters March 2008

letters good 88. (photo credit: Courtesy)

An unwanted burden... Sir, - Nobody likes to see people suffer. Unfortunately, the Sudanese crisis has become this country's crisis. Israel is not equipped to deal with the Sudanese refugees, nor should it. My heart goes out to them, but they are neither Jewish, nor here legally. Unless Israel stops being their mailing address, they will erupt into a major ongoing problem. Shame on Larry Derfner for comparing Israel to Jordan and Syria, which have taken in various refugees, when our land mass isn't even in the same league as theirs. Why should Israel expect to get tons of international aid "from the UN, the US, the Red Cross and countless other sources"? How long should we be entitled to it? Israel first needs to take care of itself. We have an ongoing problem with our neighbors, and we can't even adequately help our own people in Sderot. Do we add the burden of refugees from other countries? ("Shame," July 12.) LESLIE BAKER Beersheba ...don't abandon them Sir, - They walked from a land of genocide for countless miles, and they are safely in Israel. I saw them today, played basketball, backgammon and checkers with them - and although we didn't have a hoop and never finished the games, it was the most complete day I can ever remember. Well over 1,000 refugees from Sudan are now in our country - we must help them, and we are; they want to stay in Israel - and they will. I saw 47 of them in Ibin, next to Sderot, a city barraged by rockets from Gaza, but these people are not afraid of rockets; they have already survived hell on earth. In all, 58 refugees moved into the absorption center in Ibin this week - and all 11 men have already found work in Hadera. Last night in Tel Aviv, I made a call to the absorption center, and in no time I had complete strangers coming to my apartment handing over four full duffle bags of baby food, diapers, clothes, etc. to give to these refugees. They didn't want any credit, none of us do - we just want these people to live a real life. The Israeli government should be trying to save more refugees instead of even considering sending any of them back to Egypt, or worse. The people of Denmark stared down the Nazis during the Holocaust, saving 10,000 Jews with the help of Sweden. We don't have to fight anybody to help these people. They are here in Israel, and we can't send them back. "Never again" applies to all people. TOM HOROWITZ Tel Aviv The non-Ashkenazi view Sir, - Ludmilla Oigenblick's "Orthodoxy is not a viable option for us" (July 12) does arouse the necessary sympathy for the plight of immigrants from the Former Soviet Union with halachic status problems. However, the writer takes only her community into account when suggesting solutions. The majority of Jews in Israel are non-Ashkenazi and have no history of non-Orthodox movements, which are purely Ashkenazi and largely American imports. The average Sephardi or Mizrahi Jew is traditional and favors retaining Orthodoxy as the normative form of Judaism. The non-Orthodox movements, for all their talk of inclusiveness, have no place for the non-Ashkenazi Jew. Many of the arguments in your paper for recognizing non-Orthodoxy in Israel will always be slanted toward the Ashkenazi and Western viewpoint, as it is the one of your dominant readership. Any real discussion of these issues, which affect all Israelis, has to take into account the vast swath of Jews who are unlikely or unable to read The Jerusalem Post. ASH PEREZ Gush Etzion Reject weakness Sir, - Re "Netanyahu lashes out at Ehud Barak" (July 11): Binyamin Netanyahu is right to point to Ehud Barak's retreat from Lebanon as what caused this past summer's conflagration. Yet to fight the jihadists competently Netanyahu must reject the whole package of current Israeli weakness, including not only retreat in the face of Arab murder but also negotiations with the hardened terrorists of Fatah and concessions to unrepentant killers. These Israeli errors have produced more dead Jews than retreats alone. JULIE SAGER Zionist Organization of America Los Angeles Antidote to harassment Sir, - How did the complaining "senior activist" come to find herself alone with MK Yitzhak Ziv in his apartment? ("62-year-old activist accuses 69-year-old Pensioners MK of sexually harassing her," July 12.) Has "Aleph" never heard of caller ID, a most effective way of stopping unwanted phone calls by leaving them unanswered? ("Despite Katsav's testimony of disinterest in 'Aleph,' phone records reveal that he called her 689 times," same date.) And how do we understand withholding a complaint of rape for fear of losing one's job? Was the female soldier who wrapped her body around MK Haim Ramon never taught that men don't always interpret these innocent hugs as platonic gestures or signs of political affinity? This is in no way meant to diminish the guilt of these "dirty old men." Only, it is also no coincidence that such stories have become commonplace. In over 20 years' work in hi-tech, often the only woman among many men, I have never encountered sexual harassment. If a man is given the unspoken message that his advances are not welcome, they will not be offered. The all-but-forgotten remedy for this unfortunate phenomenon can be found in a trait remembered as modesty. SHARON LINDENBAUM Rehovot

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