In his article, “Israel’s treatment of African refugees reveals racism,” Jose Sanchez asks if black lives matter in Israel. As someone who has spent over two months in Israel total, I can answer his question in capital letters: YES, black lives do matter in Israel. Israel is a multiethnic, multi-religious democratic state where people of different religions and racial backgrounds hold important positions in the government, court system and military. Israel’s minorities may face disadvantages, but laws are meant to eradicate — not establish — these problems. Israel has a multiparty system, and elections that are open and unimpeded, which was unheard of in the Middle East until Israel’s creation.
Sanchez holds Israel against a double standard when referring to its border control policies. He creates an impression that Israel’s borders should not exist. When someone crosses the border of a country that is recognizably hostile — such as Sudan and Somalia — it is highly irresponsible for authorities to not check who is entering the country. Israel is obligated to protect its civilians from possible terrorists and criminals. Those who do not pose a threat to Israel are given permission to live and work in Israel. It hasn’t been easy for the refugees to integrate or find work, but Israeli charities, churches, synagogues, legal and medical aid organization and the Tel Aviv municipality has provided a lot of support.
Israel has been sharing with African countries their knowledge and technology in utilization of water management, solar power and medicine. Thousands of specialists from African countries have been trained in Israel. Since the conflict in Syria started, Israel treated thousands of Syrian refugees in their hospitals. Through these services, which first began with setting up field hospitals along the border of Syria, Israel was the first country to address the problem of Syrian refugees through humanitarian aid. IsraAID, an organization committed to providing life-saving disaster relief and long-term support, has saved thousands of lives in many countries including Nepal and South Sudan. IsraAID and other Israeli organizations have saved and treated thousands of Syrian refugees as they escape Syria through the Mediterranean, stopping their boats from capsizing, providing food, water, medical care and psychological counseling on site. The Israelis treating them were from both Israeli Jewish and Arab background, working together to save lives.
Sanchez’s total analysis of the Arab-Israeli conflict is riddled with inaccurate information. After Israel came out victorious against a deadly war aimed at ending the fragile country, Israel agreed to withdraw from most of the territory captured from Jordan in 1967 and Egypt, for peace. However, Palestinian terrorist attacks yet again broke a peace treaty, forcing Israeli forces to set up checkpoints so as to protect Israelis. Unlike with Sinai, which was demilitarized and guaranteed Israel security by Egyptian leaders, the leaders of the Palestinians in Ramallah and Gaza are responsible for continuing the conflict by sending rockets from Gaza onto Israeli homes since 2001 and inciting and endorsing their people to murder Israelis by all means possible, including using their cars, guns, knives and boulders, instilling terror in all of Israel.
Sanchez is trying his best to explain away the Palestinian’s terrorism. Any rational person sincerely concerned about human rights, peace and safety for all should find this deeply concerning.
Contributed by Rutgers University CAMERA fellow, Deborah Shamilov.
Originally published in The Daily Targum.