Letter Urging Israel to Halt Deportation of Asylum-Seekers | Reconstructing Judaism

Letter Urging Israel to Halt Deportation of Asylum-Seekers

Endorsement

 

Reconstructionist leaders were among the early signatories of this letter organized by the New Israel Fund, HIAS, T’ruah and Right Now. The full letter with signatories can be found here.

The letter reads:

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu:

We write as Jewish clergy from around the world to urge you to stop the deportations of asylum seekers from Sudan and Eritrea who have sought refuge in Israel.

As a country founded by refugees, and whose early leaders helped to craft the 1951 International Convention on the Status of Refugees, Israel must not deport those seeking asylum within its borders. We Jews know far too well what happens when the world closes its doors to those forced to flee their homes.

The asylum seekers who have come to Israel are escaping torture, enslavement, and war. We are angered by reports that many of those who have been deported to Africa have already suffered rape, robbery, torture, and human trafficking.

We urge your government to start living up to Israel’s international responsibilities as spelled out in the International Convention on the Status of Refugees. This includes providing asylum seekers a fair chance to file applications for refugee status, and refraining from deporting asylum seekers to countries that cannot guarantee their safety. This also entails that your government begin to examine these applications in an effective, fair, transparent, and impartial manner.

The Torah teaches, “The ger who resides with you shall be to you as one of your citizens; you shall love him as yourself, for you were gerim in the land of Egypt” (Leviticus 19:34). Our own experience of slavery and liberation, and our own experience as refugees, compel us to act with mercy and justice toward those seeking refuge among us. Please affirm these Jewish values, as well as Israel’s international commitments, by stopping the deportations.