Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Sudanese in Israel

The New York Times reported yesterday that Sudanese in Israel Hope They Have Found a Home. This is a touching story about Sudanese from Darfur who have made their way from Egypt (to which they had fled) to Israel. They have been locked up in Israeli prisons because they came from an enemy country (Sudan) but some of them are finally being released to live on kibbutzim and moshavim.
Yosef Lapid, a former justice minister, noted the parallel with 'the historical curiosity' of German Jews who escaped Hitler, landing in England only to be put in detention camps because they, like today’s Sudanese refugees in Israel, were considered enemy nationals. “I don’t think that the Jewish people can look the other way when such a horrible genocide is being conducted. It is our obligation to be as of much help as we can,” said Mr. Lapid, a Holocaust survivor.

[A group of Sudanese recently were taken on a tour of the museum at Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust memorial. They stood silently, some wiping away tears as they looked at photographs of corpses and cases displaying children’s dolls and a mother’s final postcard. “It was very hard to see this, really shocking,” said a 24-year-old man who fled Darfur last year. “It reminded me of my own people. I hope one day we can have a museum like this in Darfur.”]

I remember that this was an issue last summer when I was visiting Israel, and human rights groups were already beginning to agitate for the release of the Sudanese. I hope this continues, and that Israel finds it possible to accept some more Sudanese refugees.

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