May 30: Readers react to the issue of African migrants

By JERUSALEM POST READERS
May 29, 2012 23:22

Writing as a proud Zionist, the recent violence directed at African migrants has made me more ashamed of the State of Israel.




Sir, – Writing as a proud Zionist, the recent violence directed at African migrants has made me more ashamed of the State of Israel than I have been since the disengagement from Gaza in 2005.

Whatever problems the infiltration across the southern border causes, there is no excuse for such actions or for the rhetoric that incited these people. Israel prides itself on having what it deems “the most moral army” in the world, both on the battlefield and in its many heroic humanitarian endeavors, but the violence in south Tel Aviv does not speak well for the “Light unto the nations.”

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GARY WILLIG
Safed

Sir, – Your front page headline “South Tel Aviv simmers as racial tensions linger” (May 28) is misleading.

The tensions are not caused by the race of the illegal migrants; it is due to the crimes they commit and the terror these crimes have instilled in local Israelis.

Israelis happen to be open-minded, mostly due to the fact that we are the “in-gathering of the exiles.” We come from all over the world, look different from one another and speak different languages. Ethiopian Jews are black, and people are not afraid of them because of this.

The Jerusalem Post should know better than to stoop to such low statements that make Israelis seem racist.

BARBARA BROWN
Beit Shemesh

Sir, – I read Liat Collins’s “The migrants’ tragedy” (My Word, May 28) with interest because I worked at an immigrant/refugeeserving NGO in Vancouver, Canada.

On a trip to Israel I made a point of contacting an agency in Tel Aviv that serves the growing migrant population near that city’s central bus station. The area was not frightening to me.

Rather, it was similar to what I saw every day at work back in Vancouver. The difference, of course, was that Vancouver was the final destination, arranged by the Canadian government, often in partnership with the United Nations.

Our refugees and immigrants received government assistance in many ways – housing, schooling, medical – all upon arrival.

Even refugee claimants, a more difficult category, received assistance.

I have long been dismayed that the UN has not seen fit to assist the Africans once they arrive in Israel. They would have stopped their flight had any other country offered them, as Collins wrote so well in her final paragraph, “conditions...

[that] are vastly better than those they left ‘at home.’” Those who are fleeing don’t want to live permanently in Israel; they want to be home, but in a home where war, whether internal or external, as well as climate change and natural disasters can be dealt with and where food, water, healthcare and education are readily available.

Collins should keep writing and let the world know how we can encourage the right solutions.

My money is with global assistance and understanding.

HELEN AQUA
New York

Sir, – Like many NGOs, Shallya Scher-Ehrlich, author of “The ‘infiltrator’ threat” (Observations, May 25), has gotten carried away in her defense of the African migrants who are flooding the country. To compare Israel’s acceptance of Holocaust survivors, as well as Jewish refugees from Arab countries, Russia and Ethiopia, to the over 80,000 illegal Africans is way off base.

First, who has determined that these illegal aliens are facing lifethreatening conditions in their home countries? Is it not obvious that they keep flooding the tiny state of Israel simply because they can get away with it? Why aren’t there other locations in Africa and Europe for them? Is it really Israel’s responsibility to give everyone who reaches its borders a job, a place to live, medical care and more? Who is to fund all these programs? While many on the Left suggest that Israel disengage from the Palestinians in order to protect the demographics of the Jewish state and all it stands for, they are willing to accept an endless flow of people who in the long run harm the Jewish character of the state.

One solution for those who are so concerned for the migrants is to adopt an African family, have its members live with them, provide them with food and shelter, and take care of their everyday needs. That way the poor people in south Tel Aviv or in cities like Arad and Eilat won’t have their rights as citizens trampled upon.

JONATHAN SURASKY
Ra’anana

Sir, – Unlike MK Danny Danon, any person with the slightest knowledge of Jewish values and history must realize we cannot dismiss the African refugee problem with a curt “Deportation Now!” (Observations, May 25).

How can we, the perennial refugees, forget how we were pursued from country to country for thousands of years – uprooted, purged and abused, though innocent of blame? We were lucky to escape with our lives and the world showed no pity wherever we begged for asylum.

How can we turn our backs on these unfortunates and not at least make an attempt to enlist the aid of the United Nations or other bodies that might support such a righteous cause? For the most part the refugees cannot be returned to their countries, where war and starvation are raging.

Where are the bleeding hearts who came to our shores by the flotilla-load to offer unneeded aid to the Gazans – whose quality of life the African refugees can only envy and dream of? Where is the UN High Commissioner for Refugees and UNWRA, which have been dishing out millions of dollars in aid for over 64 years to the oldest non-refugees in the world, the Palestinians? Unlike the Palestinians, the Africans have not turned to violence or terrorism in their home countries – they just want to get away from danger.

IDA PLAUT Netanya

Sir, – I take deep offense to the use of the term “concentration camps” by Susan Hattis Rolef (“The African refugee problem in perspective,” Comment & Features, May 29) in order to describe a government proposal to host African infiltrators in a hostel along the southern border until a clear decision is made about their future.

We all know what the term means – it was used by the Nazis to cover up their war against the Jews. Israel is not at war with the African people. As a point of fact, its conduct in trying to resolve the issue of territorial infiltration is no different than that of enlightened Europe and America.

LILY POLLIACK
Jerusalem

Sir, – I’ll be honest – I don’t care if African migrants are afraid to walk the streets. Many of our Jewish residents have been afraid to walk the streets for some time now in their newly “Africanized” neighborhoods.

The migrants tell us on the news, “Israel sababa (Israel wonderful)!” That’s why the whole of Africa is on its way. Soon we will be a minority, and then we will be an apartheid state! What’s absurd is that the Left built this state from scratch with its blood, and now the new Left and its NGOs are trying to destroy it from within, all in the name of “humanity.”

LAURIE BENTNER
Tel Aviv

Sir, – What’s with these migrants? Don’t they read the African newspapers? Don’t they know that Israel is an apartheid country? A country that is racist and colonialist, one that occupies foreign lands? Don’t they realize that migrants here become slaves and are forced to work night and day, that when sick they have organs removed and sold to Jews, and, of course, that their blood is used for the baking of matza? Perhaps the migrants are smarter than our detractors. They can differentiate between propaganda and fact – they know when they are on to a good thing!

JOE FRANKL
Savyon


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