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The African refugees living in Israel

Recently, there is talk of African refugees that have been infiltrating Israel, and are now, by some counts, 13% of the population of Tel Aviv. There is increased crime, and a lot of people think they should be deported to “not our problem” land.

My unpopular opinion about this matter (translated from Hebrew on Facebook):

1. I don’t consider breaking the law a moral problem. E.g. in a world without police or punishment, I would never obey the speed limit while driving.

2. The right to pursue happiness, ranging from wanting not to be butchered by gangs in Africa, through wanting a better life and education for you and your children, is universal. It does not belong only to “us”, for any given definition of us, be it Jews, Israeli, White People… but rather for all human beings.

3. The state of Israel must have solid borders, that would be very difficult – impossible to infiltrate (Today it’s rather easy to skip the border into Israel from Egypt).

4. The African refugees that are already in Israel … should get working permits, food, shelter, and education. For starters, let’s try giving each a third of the minimal money allowance given to poor Israeli citizens. It will improve their lives by hundreds of percents.

5. We have to catch and punish criminals. Theft, rape and violence are not acceptable. There is an organization that is supposed to deal with this, its name starts with P and ends with E.

6. Yes, I’m a “hippie leftist”, or whatever the term שמאלני יפה נפש is translated into. To all those suggesting we should just deport the refugees back to Africa, please remember the holocaust.

7. No, Israel can’t accept all the refugees in the world … this is obvious. However, shutting our hearts, drawing a very clear line between “our problem” and “their problem”, and always choosing the solution that is best for us, disregarding how much pain we inflict, is immoral, and it won’t work over time. The world is now global … deal with it.



  1. Lior Tal:

    #4 is especially nice. Where do you think this money allowance should come from exactly? Also, what justification is there for giving them this money exactly?

  2. Asaf:

    You say “refugees”, but a large part of those infiltrating Israel illegally cannot be considered refugees by any accepted definition.

    For example, this is what the Wikipedia article on refugees states: “A refugee is a person who is outside their country of origin or habitual residence because they have suffered persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or because they are a member of a persecuted ‘social group’. Such a person may be referred to as an ‘asylum seeker’ until recognized by the state where she makes her claim.” Even if you extend this definition to include those who have lost their shelter and livelihood to natural disaster, it still leaves out many of the aforementioned infiltrates.

    I’m all for giving appropriate shelter to refugees, but for all others, implementing a “just manage to get in and you are home free” policy simply does not make sense.

  3. ripper234:

    @Lior – the justification is about helping people that need our help. Also, as someone put it “they are going to eat one way or the other … let’s help them do it the right way”. We can start by just allowing them to work legally. I won’t go into budget discussions here, god knows the budget has loads of fat to trim.

    @Asaf – the big fear is that letting these people stay will encourage others. If we have proper borders, like we should have had years ago, then, this fear is largely irrelevant because “just getting into Israel” won’t be feasible.

  4. Eli:

    As you know I’m also a “hippie leftist” and all for human rights, but there’s a difficult “game theory” challenge here. Warmly accepting the refugees into our society will very much encourage other refugees to flock here in hordes. And as history teaches us, no borders and police can stop determined refugees seeking better life. USA has about half a million (by some counts) of illegal refugees coming in yearly, despite the billions pored into stopping it from happening.

    I’m not proposing a solution here, just noting that this is a hard problem with many aspects to consider.

  5. ripper234:

    @Eli – true enough. I’m hoping that the cost of getting into the country will be increased so much that it won’t be worth it.

    In any case, if you take one thing from this post, is that saying “just deport them all” is not a valid solution either, regardless all game theoretical calculations.