As Europe struggles to stem a spring flood of migrants from Africa and the Middle East trying to cross a deadly Mediterranean Sea, Israel has begun to toughen its stance toward refugees, telling unwanted Africans here they must leave now or face an indefinite stay in prison.
Israeli authorities are sending letters to the first of 45,000 Eritrean and Sudanese refugees, informing them they have 30 days to accept Israel’s offer of $3,500 in cash and a one-way ticket home or to an unnamed third country in Africa, or face incarceration at Saharonim prison.
Israeli leaders have proclaimed that their tough approach — building a fence along the country’s border, denying work permits for illegal migrants, forcing them into a detention center in the desert — may ultimately save lives by dissuading migrants from attempting a perilous journey. Critics of the Israeli policy counter that a country built by refugees should be more accepting of those fleeing war, poverty and oppression.
Make that a country of “Jewish refugees fleeing institutionalized mass murder,” and you’re a little closer to the truth. If Israel gets swamped by Muslims and sub-Saharan Africans, it won’t be Israel any more. Which, of course, to the Left is exactly the point. Heck, even Muslim countries are turning away Muslim refugees.
Israel is a nation built by Jewish refugees, and those with Jewish ancestry are encouraged, even courted, to move here and provided wide-ranging assistance. A million Russian speakers came in the 1990s, and Jews from Ethiopia continue to arrive each month.
But fearful that a wave of impoverished Africans, mostly Muslims from Sudan and Christians from Eritrea, would overwhelm the Jewish nature of the state, Israel spent more than $350 million to build a 140-mile fence along its entire border with Egypt. Undocumented migrants to Israel are called “infiltrators” by the Israeli government.
The steel barrier, completed in 2013, stopped illegal entry cold: More than 10,000 Africans arrived in 2012; today almost no one attempts the trip. The fence also shut down human traffickers in the Sinai Peninsula who had become increasingly sadistic, with refugees describing how they were imprisoned in “torture camps” where the Bedouin smugglers raped women and burned captives with molten plastic to extort relatives to send more money to free them.
As they’ve watched Europe being hit by a wave of African refugees, Israeli leaders say their policies are fair.
Which they are. Neither Europe nor American is under any obligation to commit cultural suicide as they’re swamped by alien cultures who only wish the material advancement the West provides, but disdain its traditions and its moral ethos.
UPDATE: Meanwhile, have a look at the new Israeli justice minister:
She has been called the Michele Bachmann of Israeli politics, a nod to their shared far-right ideology and striking appearance. She was assigned a bodyguard after a social media post was made to show her wearing a Nazi uniform and accused her of promoting Palestinian genocide. She was belittled by a former minister as the most prominent politician “who could star in a calendar hanging in garages,” prompting even ardent critics to rush to her defense.
All that, in less than a week, garnered a this-too-shall-pass shrug from Ayelet Shaked, who was sworn in on Thursday as Israel’s justice minister — the most contentious appointment in a contentious new government.
For Ms. Shaked, a former computer engineer, the main thing is “to strengthen the Jewish identity” of Israel, “to have a democratic, Jewish, strong state.” That translates, in policy terms, into promoting Israeli annexation of most of the occupied West Bank and ousting African asylum-seekers. It means curtailing the power of the Supreme Court, giving politicians more sway over judicial appointments and prohibiting foreign funding of advocacy groups — which could put the main internal critics of Israeli actions out of business. And it entails a “nationality bill” that many see as disenfranchising Israel’s Arab minority, about 20 percent of the population.
Hanan Ashrawi, a Palestinian leader among the throngs who fulminated over Ms. Shaked’s new role, said it “is not only a threat to peace and security, but generates a culture of hate and lawlessness.”
As opposed to, say, the culture of the Palestinians.