In a rare rebuke of Israeli government policy, two major Jewish American organizations are publicly expressing their concern over a plan to deport thousands of African asylum seekers.
״As American Jews, one of our greatest concerns is the well-being and security of Israel; we want to see it prosper and overcome all of the challenges its precarious location imposes on it,” the groups state in a letter to Prime Minister Netanyahu. “We also care about our shared Jewish values and refugee heritage — a very human concern that reaches across borders and distances—and unifies us as a people.”
The Israeli government recently approved a plan to force African migrants, mainly from Eritrea and Sudan, to leave and resettle in third countries in Africa, or stay and face incarceration in an open detention center in the Negev desert. Human rights groups warned that asylum seekers who had agreed to leave in the past faced violence and dangers.
“We therefore strongly urge the Israeli government to refrain from implementing this plan,” ADL and HIAS conclude their letter to Netanyahu. “Addressing this issue in a humane and responsible manner remains no easy task, but it is the Jewish and ethical thing to do.”
Nathan Guttman, staff writer, was the Forward’s Washington bureau chief. He joined the staff in 2006 after serving for five years as Washington correspondent for the Israeli dailies Haaretz and The Jerusalem Post. In Israel, he was the features editor for Ha’aretz and chief editor of Channel 1 TV evening news. He was born in Canada and grew up in Israel. He is a graduate of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
Jewish Groups To Bibi: Don’t Deport African Migrants