Yad Vashem’s chairman, Avner Shalev, reportedly called on Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to let refugees from Darfur remain in Israel. Shalev wrote to Olmert on Sunday, stating 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,” Ha’aretz reported.
There are fewer than 100 refugees in Israel who fled Darfur, whereas hundreds of thousands of people have been killed by government-sponsored militias. Most of the refugees in Israel are being held in prisons or in army bases, because Sudan is considered an enemy country. Shalev, however, said that security reasons cannot be used as an excuse, noting that such countries as Australia, Canada and Britain cited security concerns when they sent Jewish refugees to detention camps during the Holocaust.