|Syrian refugee children (Reuters via the Jerusalem Post)|
Can anyone imagine Israel taking in Syrian refugees? If one realizes that Syria is an Arab country bordering Israel’s north; and a country with which it is technically at war; and a country that is perhaps one of Israel’s most bitter enemies... that question might seem absurd. And yet the fact is that the government of Benjamin Netanyahu has done exactly that. 100 Syrian children fleeing that war ravaged country are being approved for asylum in Israel. From YWN:
The Interior Ministry backed by the Prime Minister have given the necessary approval to permit Israeli Arab families to foster Syrian orphans in Israel, speaking of 100 children. Israel views the ongoing bloodshed in Syria as a humanitarian mission and is planning increased medical assistance as well.
One may ask, what about the parents of these children? Shouldn’t Israel accept them too as a completion of this humanitarian gesture? The argument against that is that young children are not going to terrorize anyone but their adult parents very well may.
Just because they are running from the bloodshed in Syria doesn’t mean they don’t still have it in for Israel. If the entire Muslim population of the Middle East has been indoctrinated to ‘Hate the Jews’ and sees every Israeli as the embodiment of evil, how can any Syrian adult be allowed in. There is also the possibility that some of those ‘running away from the bloodshed’ are actually terrorist infiltrating the greatest enemy of the Arab world with the intent to do us harm?
For me that is a compelling argument. But so too is the humanitarian side of keeping desperate families whole.
Which makes the following quite a revealing statement about Israel’s heart:
According to the plan approved by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Interior Minister Aryeh Deri, 100 Syrian orphans will be housed in the Israeli Arab sector and it is likely close members of their family will be permitted to join them at a later date.
I assume that these family members will be thoroughly vetted to assure the safety of Israel’s citizens. And then they will be allowed to join their children.
I know it’s only 100 young people. But parents will apparently be allowed to join them later. that is 200 additional adults. And perhaps more relatives like aunts and uncles too.
That still may be a small number. But for a nation plagued with terror and the threat of annihilation consonantly being proposed by the religious leaders of Israel’s enemies, this is quite a remarkable gesture of good will.
Unfortunately I doubt there will be too many accolades coming out of Palestinians or Israel’s Arab neighbors.
Which is too bad. Gestures like these ought to tell the many Arabs indoctrinated to believe that the Jews are out to dominate the world (as the widely watched Egyptian miniseries based on the book ‘Protocols of the Elders of Zion’ suggested) – that they are nothing like that. That instead they just want to be good neighbors living side by side in peace and friendship. And that at heart the of seed of Abraham is a kind giving a people.
The Sages tell us the Jewish people have inherited the attribute of Chesed – loving kindness - from this Patriarch. Arabs with whom we share the same patriarch are known to have this trait among their own as well. This shared trait could be one upon which a positive relationship could be built. If only the haters of the world would allow it – instead of constantly trying to blow us up.