In a sign of growing opposition to the recently approved resolution, a group of Israeli Holocaust survivors has urged Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu not to “allow suffering and torture of people under [Israel’s] protection” and to toss out the country’s plan to expel tens of thousands of African asylum seekers.
In their letter sent Thursday, the 36 signatories wrote, “We—who know what it means to be a refugee, to be without a home or a country that would protect and defend us from violence and suffering—cannot understand how a Jewish government can expel refugees and asylum seekers to a journey of pain, suffering, and death.”
“Especially as Jews, who have had the world turn its back on us in our most dire hour, we have a special duty to stave off indifference and prevent the asylum seekers’ expulsion. The state must provide them with fair shelter and not send them to their deaths in a foreign land,” they wrote.
Netanyahu, for his part, has referred to the Africans as “not refugees, but infiltrators.”
Haaretz notes that their plea follows “airline pilots, writers, college professors, doctors, lawyers, university students, social workers, filmmakers, and rabbis attempting to prevent the planned deportation by the Israeli government of nearly 40,000 African asylum seekers over the next two years to either their home countries or other countries in Africa.”
In their letter sent last week to Netanyahu, cabinet members, and President Reuven Rivlin, for example, hundreds of Israeli academics said, “The history of our nation requires Israel to serve as a model for the treatment of children and adults who seek refuge from ethnic cleansing, persecution, and political violence, from human trafficking, from rape, and from torture.”
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