Gary Rosenblatt’s column on the illegal immigrant situation in Israel was misleading (“‘Make Those People Go’: Bibi’s Plan For Africans,” Jan. 19). According to the Jerusalem Post, Arutz 7 and other sources, it is estimated that approximately 60,000 … Sudanese and Eritrean [are living illegally in] … south Tel Aviv. Since these … [people] are undocumented, their numbers remain uncertain. These … [people] do not belong in Israel. Here’s why:
Several weeks ago, while driving grandchildren home from a visit to the Safari Park in Ramat Gan, Waze took us by way of south Tel Aviv, but we may just as well have been in the south Bronx of the Sixties. The streets were filled with … [migrants] loitering, drinking, openly doing drugs and nodding off. We were terrified.
The Jerusalem Post reports that crime rates in south Tel Aviv have increased at least 40 percent since the arrival of the … [migrants]. These are violent crimes; armed robbery, rape and murder. The local population, once Sephardi and now primarily Russian, are frightened to leave their homes after dark.
Israel is the national Jewish homeland of the Jewish people, the only Jewish country in the world. The illegal immigrants are either Christian or Muslim. There are 193 other non-Jewish United Nations members who could welcome these people. To admit such a large, non-Jewish, problematic immigrant population is to endanger the Jewish character of the State of Israel and drain limited financial and manpower resources. Besides, how can Israel say no to Palestinian refugees and yes to the refugees of Eritrea and Sudan?
Yet, we Jews are a compassionate people. We ought to give these … immigrants temporary shelter, up to three months and then help them relocate. This is not about color or race, this is about ensuring the continuity of the Jewish character of our state in accordance with our declaration of independence.
Comparisons of these … immigrants [who entered Israel illegally] to Jews seeking refuge during WWII are erroneous and offensive. Jews did not pose a physical danger or religious challenge to any of the countries in which they sought refuge.
Finally, the Sudanese and Eritreans require a great deal of financial support and social services. With almost 40 percent of the Israeli population living below the poverty line, resources and financial aid are very limited. The Sudanese and the Eritreans need refuge in a country that can well afford to absorb them or care for them until such time as they may return to their countries of origin.