Refugees and Asylum Seekers in Israel: no to incitement, yes to solutions
Dear Ambassador Taub
We write to you as members of the British community who are concerned about recent events surrounding refugees and asylum seekers in Israel.
We write to express our shock about the instances of incitement and intimidation against refugees. And also to support those who, in the wake of these events, have condemned the incitement - and are working to reduce tension and fear.
We recognise that simple condemnations do not do justice to the complexity of the situation and that the challenges are far from simple.
We do however urge Israel to address these issues. We call on Israel’s leaders to establish a sensible immigration policy that respects the human rights treaties it has signed and balances the ideal of the Jewish homeland with the Jewish obligation to help the stranger.
It is the right of Israel to decide who will enter its territory. In doing so, Israel should consider how it best protects those who are unable to return to their home countries for fear of persecution.
These solutions also require attention to be given to those Israelis living in some of Israel's poorest neighbourhoods, where asylum seekers cluster. Those who have attempted to pit these two groups against each other should be stopped.
Israel is not alone in having to address refugee issues. The numbers of asylum seekers seeking refuge in Israel is not surprising given the persecution they are facing at home and the horrors many have experienced in their journey (e.g. in Sinai).
In writing to you we are driven by our support for Israel, itself founded by many refugees, and the biblical lesson ‘And you shall love the Stranger. For you were strangers in the land of Egypt’.