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October 9, 2015 / 26 Tishri, 5776
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Can Jews Set Up Detention Camps?

Can Jews Set Up Detention Camps?

Photo Credit: Tomer Neuberg/Flash90

Sudanese illegal migrants marching towards Jerusalem (they actually ended up in Beer Sheva) in protest of the new Holot (sands) detention camp, Monday, December 16.

The new anti-infiltration law that was passed in the Knesset a week ago permits residents of the camps—mostly Sudanese and Eritreans—to leave the site until 10 PM each day, provided that they show up for a head count three times a day.

It makes it tough for them to reach any urban center. So now some 250 illegals are refusing to return to the facility.

I don’t envy Israeli politicians and civil servants deposited with the task of managing the population of an estimated 50 to 80 thousand illegals, mostly from war torn East Africa. The connotations are obvious and disturbing. And yet, all these poor, neglected people have been dumped on Israel’s cities’ poorest neighborhoods, turning the lives of local residents into a living hell.

It’s a serious problem, it has to be resolved, and whatever Israel does to alleviate the problem will look and sound terrible. On account of the “camp” part in the term “detention camp.”

Photo credit: Tomer Neuberg/Flash90

Photo credit: Tomer Neuberg/Flash90

The marchers carried signs, no doubt prepared for them by Israeli NGO activists, with Biblical verses about our obligation to treat the foreigners well, because we, too, were foreigners in Egypt.

Of course, one of the conditions the Torah places on the foreigner is to observe the law. Illegal infiltration would probably disqualify them for the accepting treatment advised by the Torah.

About the Author: Yori Yanover has been a working journalist since age 17, before he enlisted and worked for Ba'Machane Nachal. Since then he has worked for Israel Shelanu, the US supplement of Yedioth, JCN18.com, USAJewish.com, Lubavitch News Service, Arutz 7 (as DJ on the high seas), and the Grand Street News. He has published Dancing and Crying, a colorful and intimate portrait of the last two years in the life of the late Lubavitch Rebbe, (in Hebrew), and two fun books in English: The Cabalist's Daughter: A Novel of Practical Messianic Redemption, and How Would God REALLY Vote.

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4 Responses to “Can Jews Set Up Detention Camps?”

  1. What do these Christians claim will happen to them in Sudan if they return? Are they Israelis? Are they being gassed or otherwise executed (as Christians did Jews in the Nazi camps)? So they should be very happy they are being kept alive in Israel, but there are other Christian countries that should absorb them if they won’t return to Southern Sudan.

  2. David Marks says:


    Do you really think that the Sudanese presently in Isreal are (or ought to be) aware of Jewish history in Europe, as it may or may not apply them in their present circumstances?

    And how many of them are actually aware of anything, beyond their immediate need of food and shelter, that would allow them to reflect upon how really fortunate they are not to be in Nazi Germany, which they have probably never even heard of.

    Things like poverty and displacement do tend to narrow one’s perspective, and to limit one’s ability to appreciate the broader picture.

  3. Yechiel Baum says:

    Jews have been exposed to detention camps and expulsion so lets expel our unwanted squatters and send them back to their countries on their national airlines.

  4. They have not been "dumped" here, they came here illegally of their own volition. If they don't like the conditions here, they are welcome to try their luck in another country. Why don't they get the Palestinians to take them in? We all know what great humanitarians THEY are.

    Organized crime, gambling rings, rape gangs and child prostitution seem to be their main trades. This is NOT what Israel stands for.

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