They are all foreigners, but some are of a better breed

DAN-CHYI CHUA
Aug 06, 2010
*Special to asia!

The Israeli government voted to deport hundreds of children born to migrant workers  here in the country. It is astonishing how what would have been the country of Anne Frank has become one that deports children.

Like any other country, Israel has its own economic limitations. It cannot be expected to absorb all the Jews in the world and then some more non-Jews. Sudanese refugees fleeing the war arrive at the border, trying to seek asylum in Israel, because they know that here, unlike in Egypt, they will not be shot on sight by the army. This is not an inhumane society, but there is a ceiling to how many  people it can support.

Let's not also forget that Israel is a place where 20 percent of the people (and one in three children) are living in poverty.

So yes, Israel does have its economic constraints, like any other country in the world. But here is my question: is it really going to cripple the Jewish state to let the 400 migrant children stay?

Ironically, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that this was a decision reached after “the humanitarian consideration and the Zionist consideration”; “humanitarian” because at the same it allowed 800 other children who were above the age of five to stay, and “Zionist” because it needs to preserve the Jewish nature of Israel.

Which makes me wonder: Are 400 non-Jewish children going to grow up and have so many kids it will turn the Jewish percentage of the Israeli population topsy-turvy?

This is a government that is happy to let the Filipinas come to Israel to take care of its old people. Just don't stay and have children here. This is is the Promised Land, but only for Jewish people.

This is is the Promised Land, but only for Jewish people.

If this does not stink of modern-day slavery, I do not know what does.

Granted, this is a worldwide phenomenon – of which my own country Singapore is more than guilty of as well - and it may seem unfair to single out Israel. But that is the argument of a child: just because every other country is doing it does not make it right.

And let's not forget the Zionist principles on which this country was created. It rose from the racism of the Holocaust, that killed a people because of their race.

The Balfour Declaration that led to the creation of Israel states clearly that the British government which ruled Palestine  as it was then known:

 

... the creation of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country. (emphasis mine)

 

What we are talking about for these 400 children of migrant workers are basic human rights. What would Israel do, if a third country was doing the same thing to a Jewish child? How loud would the cries of anti-semitism be?

It doesn't take a genius to solve this problem. If Israel is concerned about opening the floodgates to what Netanyahu imagines to be “hundreds of thousands of illegal migrant workers flooding the country”, implement stricter laws against the settlement of foreign children in Israel in the future. But don't punish these 400 children for a wrong they didn't commit.  Let them stay.  They may be different ethnically, but they have grown up Israeli.

Let what would have been the country of Anne Frank not be one that deports children.

Israel is in danger of becoming the country of right-wing extremists like Interior Minister Eli Yishai, who makes statements like these:

'If hundreds of thousands of migrant workers come here now, they will bring with them a profusion of diseases: hepatitis, measles, tuberculosis, AIDS and drug [addiction]' Eli Yishai, Israel's Interior Minister

 

"If hundreds of thousands of migrant workers come here now, they will bring with them a profusion of diseases: hepatitis, measles, tuberculosis, AIDS and drug [addiction]

and that allowing the children to stay "is liable to damage the state's Jewish identity, constitute a demographic threat and increase the danger of assimilation."

 

To this man who leads the religious Shas Party in Netanyahu's coalition, I say this : Since Jewishness is derived from the Bible, let me just quote something God decreed to the ancient Jews.

 

In the Book of Exodus, "Do not oppress an alien; you yourselves know how it feels to be aliens, because you were aliens in Egypt." ( Chapter 23, verse 9)

In the Book of Deuteronomy,

“For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality and accepts no bribes. He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the alien, giving him food and clothing. And you are to love those who are aliens, for you yourselves were aliens in Egypt.” ( Chapter 10, verses 17- 19)

“Do not deprive the alien or the fatherless of justice, or take the cloak of the widow as a pledge. Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and the LORD your God redeemed you from there.” ( Chapter 24, verses 17, 18)

 

dan-chyi chua

Dan-Chyi Chua was a broadcast journalist, before forsaking Goggle Box Glitz for the Open Road. A three-year foray led her through the Middle East, China, SE Asia, Latin America and Cuba, and she's now grounded herself as a writer for theasiamag.com, content with spending her days in Jerusalem.

Contact Dan-Chyi