A Jewish State Must Not Send Refugees to Death

Torah vs. the Present Government of Israel

One of the greatest betrayals the present Government of Israel is visiting upon the Jewish people is poisoning the bloodstream, the very birth-moment, of Torah and Jewish history.

How? By deporting to tyranny and death African refugees in Israel who have with great and painful effort made their way to israel and are seeking asylum from threats of death in several of their home countries.

The Jewish commitment to give refuge to those fleeing tyranny is rooted deep in Jewish history – at the very birthing of Jewish peoplehood. Three thousand years ago, according to our story of our origin, we ourselves were a band of runaway slaves. And so the Jewish people encoded its own “Refugee Convention” in Torah:

“You are not to hand over to his master a serf who has sought rescue by you from his master. Beside you let him dwell among you, in whatever place he chooses, within one of your gates that seems good to him. You are not to maltreat him!” (Deut 23: 16-17, modified transl. by Everett Fox, Five Books of Moses)

How could we NOT have affirmed this, insisted on it? Every year we gather at the Passover Seder to repeat that we were a band of runaway slaves. Without that, we are nothing.

Recent history makes clear once again that the expulsion of these refugees is a poisonous betrayal of ourselves. After World War II and the Holocaust, during which Jews were denied refuge in many countries and died as a result, the world insisted on adopting the Refugee Convention, with the State of Israel among its leading supporters.

So it is not surprising that already thousands of Israelis and hundreds of American rabbis have protested. Already pleas to Israeli pilots to refuse to fly these asylum-seekers to their deaths have brought some pilots to announce they would indeed refuse.

Facing the US government last week, hundreds of American Jews joined as a body in Resisting its actions to ruin the lives of the Dreamers, of immigrants, and of refugees.  Eighty-two were arrested. They were motivated by the same deep values as those protesting about the similar actions of the Israeli government. Thanks be to God!

Now we need more voices, many thousands of voices, to stop this betrayal of Jewish peoplehood and biblical teaching by the Government of Israel.  Americans —  Jews, Christians, and others moved by the best of biblical wisdom  --  can make a difference by joining with the Israelis who have already spoken out..

We invite you to join in this resistance by signing the Call at


We call for all Israelis to join those who already oppose these deportations of despairing refugees, and refuse to cooperate with the deportations.

We call upon the Government of Israel to reverse its plan and obey the Torah’s command to offer aid and asylum to the runaway serfs of our day.

 And we call upon all Americans to join in these demands.

We invite you to share this letter with your friends and colleagues, and ask them to join as well. You can do that by clicking here:


Let us be clear about what is already under way at the behest of the Government of Israel: 

As reported by Physicians for Human Rights in Israel, January 4, 2018:

The operation of deporting African asylum seekers from Israel has been officially launched. Yesterday, the Population and Immigration Authority (PIBA) announced that, from February 1st onward, it would no longer extend the temporary visas held by asylum seekers and demand that they leave to a third country. 

The official procedure does not exclude the chronically and severely ill, people with disabilities and victims of torture. All are now subject to the threat of deportation. The PIBA is already calling upon Eritrean and Sudanese citizens, urging them to leave Israel within three months. Asylum seekers who do not leave within that period will face indefinite detention and their employers will be fined. 

But that decree is not the end of the story, thanks to God and history and the survival in our kishkes of the values embedded in Torah and our lives.

We can stop the cruel plan, but in order to do so we need thousands more with us.

Please join in the Call for offering aid and asylum to the African refugees now under threat of deportation in  Israel by clicking here:


And please help The Shalom Center keep renewing the wellsprings of our spiritual wisdom and healing the deep wounds of our society, by making a contribution through the maroon "Contribute" button in the left-hand margin of this page.

With blessings for all who seek justice and pursue peace --  Arthur

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