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Succ​or for Sudanese

August 16, 2007
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The breakdown of the nation of Sudan is a matter of record. Sudan's Darfur region has been the scene of a genocidal war against black Africans on the part of Arab militias while other parts of the country are in an economic state of collapse.

So where do some citizens of this failed state head for succor? To other African countries or to their co-religionists in the Arab world? No. Instead, a growing number of Sudanese refugees have wound up in, of all places, the State of Israel.

The reaction of Israelis to this startling development has been mixed. Those charged with defending the borders of the country that the Sudanese have crossed illegally have arrested them. The government, already burdened with the high cost of absorbing Jewish refugees, have pointed out with justice that Israel can hardly be expected to solve a problem whose cause is found in a Muslim country that's hostile to the Jewish state's existence.

But ordinary Israelis, as well as the Jewish Agency for Israel, whose efforts are funded by Diaspora Jews like those who give to the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia, have responded with generosity to the plight of the Sudanese.

It is unfair to expect Israel -- as opposed to a largely indifferent global community, including the many Arab and Muslim nations -- to shoulder the cost of housing the growing number of Sudanese refugees. But given the affinity of Jews for the plight of any refugee, there is no doubt that, in the end, Israel will do what it must to ensure the safety of these homeless Africans.

While neighboring Egypt (across whose borders the Sudanese have entered Israel) ought to take these people back, forcing them into certain misery or death in that poverty-stricken authoritarian nation is not the right thing to do. Israel cannot be the answer to this problem, but it's entirely appropriate that it do what it can to ease the pain for these unfortunate strangers. Though costly, such measures are one more reason to take pride in our homeland. 

 

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