Yosef Israel Abramowitz has published a fascinating series on the JTA about Sudanese refugees in Israel —refugees who seek refuge in a country of new and ancient refugees. Yossi is the CEO of Family & Life and publisher of, whose political activism and creative projects have made a lasting and positive contribution to Jewish life in many continents. Yossi is also part of the jblogger community, launching recently his to provide a daily dose of Yossi.

Faced with genocidal threats from Iran and terrorist groups, a legacy of the Holocaust and even echoes of the Exodus 3,700 years ago, Israel is torn between its commitment to universal humanitarian concerns and its own security interests.

Instead of a red carpet for these refugees, they get a holding cell, arrested for violation of a 1954 law against illegal immigration. (I wonder how many Americans that violate their tourist visas get such treatment?) And the response from the Prime Minister’s Office?

“There isn’t a synagogue in the United States where Darfur is not an issue,” [Eran Lerman] told JTA. “You can’t imprison refugees from Darfur in the Jewish state and not expect American Jewry to be upset.”

Wow, its almost as if they are developing media savvy. Wait…well, no. This thing has been going on for a while, and is now in Israeli courts. Perhaps some intervention from a few of the50 MOST INFLUENTIAL RABBIS IN AMERICA might help secure a quick end to this humanitarian mishugas.

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Rabbi Yonah


  • I’ve met two men in Israel who escaped from Sudan, smuggled themselves into Israel and were promptly imprisoned. They were in jail for at least a year (if not two) before an organization (I can’t remember which) argued on their behalf and they were freed. At which point they joined a kibbutz because there was nothing else that they could do – at least this was the impression that they gave me.

    I wish I knew the name of the organization so that I could advertise the work they are doing and help find support for them. So .. the point of my comment was that there are organizations that have been and are still working on helping these people.

  • There was a man from Ethiopia (Christian) who was living on the kibbutz I volunteered for.

    He walked more than half the way to Israel!!!

    Quite an amazing story.

    He wasn’t put in jail at all…… he said the Israeli government was very helpful.

  • the organization is the hotline for migrant workers and the rest of the info is in the series, which you can read on
    tnx, yossi