Israel not taking refugees is not a humanitarian crime

Posted by on September 10, 2015
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There are those who claim that the world is getting better as we are increasingly becoming more tolerant and accepting a multicultural/holistic approach to sharing our planet. I am not one of them. Don’t get me wrong, I believe in tolerance and multiculturalism (within reason and mostly within the home.) But let’s face it, the world is far from getting better. Wars and rumors of wars are on almost every continent. The Middle East sits on a powder keg with a very short fuse. Iran is very, very close to lighting the whole region ablaze. Afghanistan is still in turmoil. ISIS has infiltrated just about every country around Israel (reminiscent of an ancient biblical prophecy found in Psalm 83.) Russia is moving weapons to the region, and Syria is being destroyed by a civil war with no end in sight. This is far from what you would expect if the world was getting better. This world is in crisis mode on so many levels.

Another sign of global crisis is the recent influx of refugees from Syria, Afghanistan, Nigeria, Albania, Pakistan, Somalia, Sudan and Iraq into several countries of the European Union. Sweden and Germany have been on the receiving end more than any other European country because of the myriad of benefits they offer to refugees, and the fact that Germany announced that they weren’t putting a cap on how many could come. The result has been a demographic tsunami hitting multiple borders at once. Even Greece–a bankrupt country desperately trying to rise out of its own ashes– has received several thousands of refugees.

Most of the refugees come from Syria for reasons that no decent human being would disagree with. Syria has common borders with five countries: Turkey, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Israel (add Cyprus by sea.) The Russian military build-up in Syria is frightening. This refugee exodus creates a humanitarian dilemma all around Syria and far beyond but it also creates a security problem for the receiving countries. Israel of course is not exempt. Mr. Netanyahu just published a statement where he affirmed that Israel wasn’t in a position to take in any refugees. I don’t think that he meant solely Syrian refugees, but this will affect them [the Syrians] the most.

Mr. Netanyahu was unequivocally clear about the refugee situation: “Israel is not indifferent to the human tragedy of the refugees from Syria and Africa. We have already devotedly cared for approximately 1,000 wounded people from the fighting in Syria and we have helped them to rehabilitate their lives. We are speaking with African heads of state, and with the Italian Prime Minister recently and with other European leaders, about multi-lateral aid packages for the countries of origin in Africa – in agriculture, economics and security – in order to deal with the problem at its source. But, Israel is a small country, a very small country, that lacks demographic and geographic depth; therefore, we must control our borders, against both illegal migrants and terrorism. This is what we have done on our border with Sinai; we blocked illegal migration from there.”

Of course, it was not long before Mr. Netanyahu was scolded by his own Israeli opposition leader Yitzhak Herzog who believes that Israel should take in refugees. Israel has often been accused of committing crimes against humanity–the latest accusations coming from multiple foes regarding the 2014 Gaza War. The humanitarian crimes have become the leitmotiv of the Palestinian Authority and other enemies. So why is it that Israel decision to not take refugees doesn’t constitute a crime against humanity?

Obviously, there are many other countries and states that cannot and will not absorb any refugees for demographic and /or geographic reasons. Israel is already struggling with it own infrastructure to receive the tens of thousands of olim (new immigrants) who just made aliyah (30,000 so far this year.) This would probably require more settlements to be developed and a further reduction of the “Palestinian boundaries” that currently exist. Would so-called “Palestinian refugees” living in Israel’s “disputed territories” be willing to share some of their real-estate? Doubtful.

If I were to make a list of reasons why Israel is right about not taking in any refugees, safety would have to be on top of that list. Once we understand that Israel is the size of New Jersey, with a constant and increasing influx of Jews returning to the land, we also have to consider what opening the borders to more people could do. A flow of unidentified people would undoubtedly include shady characters that could bring more trouble as they come in. There is no doubt in my mind that ISIS is taking advantage of the world’s postmodern tolerance. This simplifies their goal of infiltrating as many countries as they can. Israel cannot afford to have terrorists infiltrate their borders when they are already dealing with terror inland on a daily basis.

European countries like Germany, Sweden and even France are opening their doors to more crime and terrorism–something that has also worried me greatly regarding our own borders with Mexico. I want to be clear about the fact that a border between two countries doesn’t mean that refugees moving away from one into the next are all from that bordering country. Europe is starting to realize that as they see a massive number of refugees coming in from various places as well as many without any papers. These are hoping to become “instant Syrian refugees” and are banking on the asylum-offering countries tolerance for war refugees. But not all are war stricken and destitute. Many just want a better life for their families and who can really blame them?

It is also an undeniable fact that most of the refugees are Muslims. We know how difficult it has been for the West to identify radical and/or apocalyptic Islam from the rest of Islam. This refugee crisis will only exacerbate the issue.

I believe that Israel is doing the right thing by not accepting refugees but before anyone accuses me or the Jewish people of committing humanitarian crimes, we must consider all that Israel has done and continues to do around the world. As a matter of fact, Israel is helping several European countries with this very crisis by sending help as I write this. Israel has long been one of the first responders in global disasters and wars. This is the way that the only democracy in the Middle East rolls when it comes to partnering within the global village; they give, give, and give.

So, Israel not taking refugees IS NOT a humanitarian crime because there is so much more you can do to help, and they are already doing that. In many cases, they are doing much more than the very countries pointing the finger at them.


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Olivier Melnick

Olivier Melnick

Olivier was born in Paris, France in 1959 to a Jewish family whose mother had escaped and survived the Holocaust. He has a background in Fine Arts and Graphic Design from Paris. He moved to the United States in 1985 after getting married and settled on the West coast with his wife where both of their children were born. He joined Chosen People Ministries in 1997 where he currently serves as the Northwest Regional Director as well as Vice-President of the “Berger d’Israël” association in France. Olivier is the author of They Have Conspired Against You, a book on the rebirth of worldwide anti-Semitism and how to fight it, as well as the novel The Rabbi’s Triad.