Holocaust survivors rage after being compared to infiltrators

Holocaust survivors angered after some survivors cite tragic history to urge government to refrain from deporting African infiltrators.

Tzvi Lev,

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A campaign by pro-amnesty advocates in Israel opposed to the deportation of African infiltrators from Israel has angered Holocaust survivors, who say the comparisons drawn between the Nazi genocide and the status of illegal immigrants in Israel is offensive and false.

Activists looking to prevent the deportation of illegal immigrants now living in Israel publicized an open letter last week written by a small group of Holocaust survivors, who lambasted the Israeli government's deportation program.

Israel has been subjected to an increasingly vocal campaign urging the government to scuttle its plan to deport illegal African infiltrators. Under the plan, some 40,000 infiltrators who entered Israel illegally, mainly Eritreans and Sudanese, will have until the end of March to leave voluntarily with compensation. Anyone still in the country after that date will be arrested and deported without compensation.

However, many left-wing public figures argued that the infiltrators should be allowed to stay on humanitarian grounds, arguing that Israel is effectively sending them to their deaths by transferring them to a third country. In an open letter last week, 36 Holocaust survivors called on the government to refrain from implementing the plan and likened the infiltrators to Jews who were refused asylum when attempting escape from the Nazis.

"We, who know precisely what it’s like to be refugees … homeless and bereft of a state that preserves and protects us from violence and suffering, cannot comprehend how a Jewish government can expel refugees and asylum seekers to a journey of suffering, torment and death," read the letter.

While the letter received high profile international media coverage, it also left other Holocuast survivors fuming, who say that their tragic history is being hijacked for far-left political aims. "Those who defend the infiltrators are anti-Israel. These are very small percentages of the population who are very vocal, so they think they are the majority of the population," said Zeev Berkowitz, whose family perished in the Auschwitz death camp.

Yossi Steiner told Yisrael Hayom that he is scandalized to see a "small fringe group" speaking on behalf of all those who survived the Nazi war machine. "I am a Holocaust survivor and no one asked me what I think about the issue. No one should speak in my name" he said. Steiner also said that he was horrified to see illegal infiltrators likened to what he experienced at Birkenau.

"There is no comparison," says Steiner, "You cannot compare the Sudanese in South Tel Aviv to what we went through. South Tel Aviv has been conquered by these Sudanese and this is something we need to fix.

"Israel is packed as it is - we cannot let everyone stay here," added Steiner.

Politicians have begun to push back after last week's media onslaught, citing the skyrocketing crime rate in South Tel Aviv, where the majority of infiltrators live."It would be immoral for us to flood Israel with job seekers. We are not an employment bureau [for Africa]. This is a responsible and reasonable policy," Bennett said.




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