Darfur refugees in Israel need help


Yesterday’s Ynet had a piece about female Sudanese refugees from Darfur who have found their way to Israel and the private shelter that has offered them a refuge:

Eleven young women and 18 of their children are living in a shelter in a community in the Carmel region. The only difference between them and the rest of the residents is their origin: They have all escaped from the terror of genocide in Darfur, they have all somehow infiltrated into Israel and left behind families that they will never see again.

These women are not only haunted by the atrocities they have endured and by the family they have left behind – probably never to see again – but they face extreme hardships in Israel. Most crossed the border illegally from Egypt after enduring many hardships in their journeys, and their husbands are in prison. They are young women struggling to raise babies alone without any means of support besides the donations that keep the shelter running. They are in a land and culture that couldn’t be more different from their own. And the Israeli government, despite being openly sympathetic to their plight on a world stage, is not offering much help:

“The state claims that the refugees are a security threat because they are citizens of an enemy country, and I want to mention that during the Holocaust Jewish refugees were turned away from numerous countries with the excuse that they were German citizens. We cannot forget that we are talking about human beings, even if their religion and skin color is different. We have to give them the opportunity to continue on with their lives and overcome what they have lived through”.

I don’t mean to pick on the Israeli government here; obviously, Israel needs to balance its security concerns against its humanitarian ones. And the whole world should be doing more, Canada included.

Still, these women are eager to try to rebuild their lives in any way they can:

“The most important thing for them is education. They want to send their children to kindergarten and to school and to learn Hebrew. They all willingly learn about Judaism and the traditions of the Jewish people, and every Friday we have a Shabbat party.

“They also want to go to work, and are always asking me to try to arrange work for them. Every visitor is inundated with questions, maybe he has news from their husbands in prison, or knows when they will be allowed to go to work.”

The shelter needs help, and I encourage everyone to consider making a donation:

The shelter subsists solely on donations and needs all possible supplies: baby supplies such as blankets, sheets, clothing, cribs and carriages; a dryer; toys; and books in Arabic and English ,and Hebrew and English school books. To donate email sigal@hotline.org.il

Let’s spread the word.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 jmrSudbury 01.16.07 at 2:52 PM

It is nice to see private citizens performing philantropy and charity instead of relying on their government to do so. This is a wonderful mission.

John M Reynolds


2 thebookmistress 01.17.07 at 9:17 PM

Thanks for sharing. This is a wonderful initiative.


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