Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked was the latest member of the Israeli political establishment to point out the folly of admitting large numbers of Syrian refugees into Israel. Although Israel was cognizant of the suffering of the refugees, the country just did not have the geographic and cultural depth to take them in, she explained Sunday.
Even taking in just a few, she told Army Radio in an interview, was a bad idea. “I believe that the calls being made by opposition figures to absorb refugees is irresponsible. You can't just take in a small group,” she said. “As soon as you admit some it will degenerate into tens of thousands, and then hundreds of thousands.”
Opposition leader Yitzhak Herzog slammed Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu for opposing the idea of absorbing Syrian refugees, accusing him of “forgetting what it means to be Jews. Refugees. Persecutedץ" Herzog charged on Facebook: "The prime minister of the Jewish people does not close his heart and the gate when people are fleeing for their lives from persecution, with their babies in their hands.”
Earlier, Netanyahu said that while not "indifferent' to the tragedy of the refugees, Israelis needed to realize that “Israel is a small country, a very small country, that lacks demographic and geographic depth; therefore, we must control our borders, against both illegal migrants and terrorism," Netanyahu told ministers at his weekly Cabinet meeting in Jerusalem.
Despite taking measures to prevent infiltrators from entering, the Prime Minister noted that Israel has "already devotedly cared for approximately 1,000 wounded people from the fighting in Syria and we have helped them to rehabilitate their lives." In addition, he said. "We are speaking with African heads of state, and with the Italian Prime Minister recently and with other European leaders, about multi-lateral aid packages for the countries of origin in Africa...in order to deal with the problem at its source.”
Shaked added that Syrian refugees were a worldwide problem, not an Israeli issue. “The bottom line is that there are millions of Syrian refugees who are living in Jordan, Turkey, and Europe. You see how they congregate in these countries in high numbers. There is no such thing as accepting just a few dozen or hundred refugees. That is demagoguery."