Refugee Crisis: Israelis Invoke Holocaust as They Debate How to Respond

By Mitnick, Joshua | The Christian Science Monitor, September 11, 2015 | Go to article overview

Refugee Crisis: Israelis Invoke Holocaust as They Debate How to Respond


Mitnick, Joshua, The Christian Science Monitor


Even as scenes of Middle Eastern refugees streaming along European railways were stirring Israelis' collective memory of World War II, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu traveled this week to Israel's frontier with Jordan to inaugurate construction of a fence aimed at keeping potential migrants out.

The desert frontier marks the third border to be blocked by Israel since 2011 to stop illegal crossings, but it comes amid widespread soul-searching in this relatively prosperous nation about whether Israel should follow the lead of European countries and agree to allow Arab refugees to come in.

Opposition leader Isaac Herzog triggered debate when he declared last weekend that "our people experienced with their own flesh the silence of the world and can't remain indifferent to the murder and massacres in Syria."

But Mr. Netanyahu responded that Israel is simply too small to take in refugees, and pointed to a recently completed fence with Egypt as crucial to Israel's economic and physical security.

Mr. Herzog later accused the prime minister of "forgetting what it is to be Jewish: refugees, persecuted." Netanyahu's allies countered that precisely because of that history, Israel must ensure that its Jewish majority isn't diluted by a wave of non-Jewish migrants.

The exchange dredges up the emotional baggage associated with centuries of Jewish persecution, and how Israel was established by survivors of the Holocaust. Yet how Israel should apply the lessons from that trauma differs according to political leanings.

The current debate isn't happening in a vacuum: For six years, Netanyahu and his liberal opponents have been divided over what to do about tens of thousands of Eritrean and Sudanese migrants who crossed the Egyptian border illegally in search of political asylum (a status Israel has extended to very few Africans).

Echoing sentiment that Israeli blue collar neighborhoods could be flooded with African migrants, Netanyahu's allies have suggested this time that Herzog host any Syrian refugees.

"The question of how we feel about the asylum seekers goes to the heart of how do we feel about being a Jewish state; both sides invoke it,'' says Yossi Klein Halevi, a fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute. "On one hand, there are those that stress the need for preserving the Jewish state. That's a fair argument, if talking about hundreds of thousands of migrants. Proponents of a more generous approach argue that the Jewish state has a special responsibility."

Analysts say the real reason Israel won't allow in Syrians has nothing to do with demography or space: rather, Israeli security authorities are loathe to resettle large number of nationals from an enemy country.

Instead of focusing on Syrian migrants, some say Israel should figure out how to provide better social conditions for the Africans, who have been pressured to leave through third-country repatriation and the establishment of detention centers in the desert. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Refugee Crisis: Israelis Invoke Holocaust as They Debate How to Respond
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.