Over the last few years, with the horrors in Darfur, many Sudanese have become refugees, principally in Chad. That is why there is now a crisis with the rampaging Muslim Janjaweed in that country as well.
However, several thousand refugees managed to make their way to Egypt.
Many of these, then crossed into Israel.
There are roughly 1500 Sudanese refugees in Israel.
In addition, there are about 2500 other African refugees in Israel, classified as “economic refugees”. These are people who have been determined ran away in hopes of better jobs, etc, much like the border issues between the US and Mexico.
This does not include the tens of thousands of what are known as the “Falosh Mora” or the Ethiopians who became identified as Jews and were persecuted and then airlifted into Israel over the last two decades.
900 of these Sudanese have been given asylum and are being integrated into Israeli society. Israel has a unique ability to help refugees, having dealt now with 2 separate and distinct large scale refugee arrivals.
First, the Soviet “refusniks” and then the Ethiopians. In both cases “absorption” centers were set up to help with language and cultural training.
The issues with the Ethiopians were much greater and are still being dealt with today (one of my charitable projects).
Of course, there was also the influx of Holocaust survivors in the late ’40’s and early ’50’s as well.
What is of great concern is that apparently Prime Minister Ohlmert, who is hanging on by a thread, with approval ratings in the SINGLE digits, has made a deal with President Mubarak of Egypt, to return the “economic” refugees to his country.
This has caused an almost universal outcry from the Israeli population who recognize the refugee nature of Israel and are demanding that Ohlmert rescind this agreement which was worked out last week.
Why Egypt wants these refugees back, I don’t know. What Ohlmert hopes to accomplish, I also don’t know.
Now, under international law, they should have been absorbed by Egypt, but now in Israel, they should be allowed to stay.
Ohlmert has once again proven his lack of political IQ, even worse because his own wife has been directly responsible for lobbying for them.
The sooner Israel is rid of Ohlmert, the better.
As an additional note: Several years ago there was a huge rally in Washington in support of Israel. Several hundred thousand people showed up.
I went down in a group of about 30 buses that parked at RFK stadium, about 2 miles from the capitol mall, where most of these types of events are held.
As we approached the mall, the din of the crowd could be heard. As we circled around to the back of the capitol building toward the mall, the first site I was greeted with was a group of Sudanese holding up signs saying “Residents of the Southern Sudan support Israel”.
I’ll never forget that site, and never forget them.
It is just right to fight for the millions in Darfur, and now Chad, that are being killed, raped and displaced, but that THEY got it, they recognized that there was one country fighting the type of Muslim atrocities that they were experiencing, makes it all the more important.