Thursday, 18 August 2016

Soldiers instructed by Defence Minister Lieberman not to play with refugee children

 Refugees Threaten Jewish Identity in the ‘Only Democracy in the Middle East’

African refugees hold up banner refuting  Miri Regev, Israel's 'Culture' Minister, who described them as equivalent to 'cancer'
Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman is, even by Israeli standards a fascist.  He has called for

the decapitation of Israeli Palestinians [Lieberman: Disloyal Israeli Arabs Should Be Beheaded] and has said that he would like to personally drown thousands of Palestinian prisoners in the Dead Sea.  [Lieberman Blasted for Suggesting Drowning Palestinian Prisoners]   

Lieberman has just instructed Israeli troops not to volunteer or have anything to do with the charity Elifelet, Citizens for Refugee Children who help refugee children.  His deputy, Rabbi Eli Dahan, from the Habayit Hayehudi (Jewish Home) religious settlers' party demonstrates all the wisdom and humanity one has come to expect of an Orthodox Rabbi.   He has also been active in stopping any contact between volunteer soldiers and African refugees.  His purported reasons are that ‘charity starts at home’ i.e. refugees aren’t at home.  There are enough poor Israeli Jews.  In fact African refugees are the poorest of the poor.  They are no longer entitled even to basic medical care.

Israel protesters in support of the asylum seekers - a small minority - note the allusion to the holocaust and 'fascist scum' - both crimes in the Labour Party!
Dahan is an overt racist who is in charge of the ‘Civil Administration’ in the West Bank.  The Palestinians over whom he rules are ‘beasts’ ‘not human’. New deputy defense minister called Palestinians ‘animals’.  He is also reported as saying that ‘ Homosexual Jews have "higher souls" than gentiles, gay or straight’ [Maariv. Gay Jews Have 'Higher Souls' Than Gentiles, Says Deputy Minister  [see Even Jewish homosexuals have higher souls than non-Jews.].

In what civilised country would the children of refugees be classified as untouchables, criminals in their own right by virtue of being ‘illegal’, unkosher?  Where else would a government issue a decree that those whom it controls are to have nothing to do with asylum seekers and refugees?  Even Cameron and Blair didn’t go so far as to say that people should not have anything to do with refugees, yet in Israel it is quite normal for the Defence Minister and his Deputy to issue instructions that refugee children are literally beyond the pale.  Israel once again demonstrates that it is the most racist state in the world.  Europe’s treatment of refugees leaves a lot to be desired, but it shines in comparison to Israel’s attitude to refugees.

African refugees watch a Purim festival

Hostility and hatred of refugees and asylum seekers in Israel is qualitatively different to that in Europe.  In the latter it is a consequence of scapegoatism and pressure on social and welfare facilities.  Nonetheless Europe has accepted hundreds of thousands of refugees. 

Israel however is not Britain or any normal Western society, despite pretensions to the contrary.  Refugees and asylum seekers are literally hated by the majority of people.  Israel’s policy is not to accept any refugees.  It hasn’t accepted one single refugee from Syria, not a solitary one. 

Former Brigadier-General Miri Regev, Israel's 'Culture Minister'

Up to 60,000 African refugees, mainly from Eritrea entered Israel ‘illegally’ in the past decade across the Sinai desert.  Thousands of them are incarcerated in a detention camp, the largest such in the world, Holot, in the Negev Desert.  They are termed ‘infiltrators’, a term used for Palestinian refugees who tried to reenter Israel after 1948 after they had been expelled.  ‘Infiltrators’ were shot on sight and were the subject of demonisation.  It is instructive that that is how Zionists in Israel see today’s refugees.

Hostility to refugees relates to the Zionist nature of the Israeli state.  Quite simply, Israeli society is overwhelmingly hostile to refugees because they are not Jewish.  They dilute the Jewish gene pool and threaten the Jewish demographic majority.  As Prime Minister Netanyahu said, non-Jewish immigrants threaten the ‘Jewish identity’ of the Israeli state.  Israel PM: illegal African immigrants threaten identity of Jewish state

Right-wing Israelis shout racist slogans at African asylum seekers
As part of their outreach programmes, conscripts into the Israeli Defence Force work with charities and similar organisations.  Some members of the IDF decided to work with an Israeli charity called Elifelet, Citizens for Refugee Children.  If this were to happen in most civilised countries, regardless of the controversies over refugees and asylum seekers, it would be accepted as perfectly normal.  When I was a trustee for Brighton Unemployed Workers Centre I started a series of outings for refugee children each year and helped fundraise for them.  Not once did we receive any adverse comments.

Many refugees have settled in the south of Tel-Aviv where they have been subject to pogroms and violent demonstrations by racist Israelis.  This, you understand, in liberal, gay friendly, pink washing Tel-Aviv.  They are accused of having illegally entered Israel because it is illegal to claim asylum in Israel.  All refugees are, by definition, illegal.  Even worse though is the attitude towards them.  Culture Minister Miri Regev called them  a ‘cancer’ in Israeli society. [see 52% of Israeli Jews agree: African migrants are ‘a cancer’]  When criticised for this comment, she then apologised to cancer patients, for having compared them to asylum seekers.

anti-racist Israelis welcoming asylum seekers and telling racists to 'fuck off'

You might think that such a comment would result in Regev’s dismissal from the Israeli government.  However in Israel no Minister is ever dismissed for racism because racism is seen as entirely normal in Israeli society.  It is, after all, a Jewish supremacist state.

You might think that Israel, of all states, having taken in (and made a healthy profit from) thousands of Holocaust survivors, might have understood what being a refugee is.  If it hadn’t been for the fact that two-thirds of Germany’s half a million Jews were able to obtain refugee status before 1939, then another 300,000 Jews would have been murdered in Hitler’s gas chambers.  Refugees from Eritrea face torture, death and imprisonment if they are sent back.  Israel’s only lesson from the Holocaust is that Jews too are entitled to be racists.  The idea of offering shelter to a stranger or asylum to the persecuted is an alien one in Israel. 

Racist Israelis perpetuating the same slogans that used to be directed at Jews

Netanyahu recently visited Uganda with the express purpose of getting their dictator, Yoweri Museveni, to take in the African refugees that Israel wants to dispose of.  A similar agreement has been reached with Paul Kgame President of Rwanda.  Israel offers money to those who agree to voluntary deportation, the alternative can be indefinite detention.  Three of those who accepted, were murdered by ISIS when sent to Libya.

To the politicians and activists opposed to the refugees' presence, this was like giving aid and comfort to the enemy.

Ravit Hecht Aug 11, 2016 10:11 PM

Children wake up from a nap at the Unitaf day-care center in Tel Aviv's Hatikva neighborhood, April 2, 2015. Ariel David
One can only hope that the IDF’s Chief Education Officer, Brig. Gen. Avner Paz-Tzuk, will be on guard and cleanse the army from the moral and educational filth that has stuck to it.

We should thank Deputy Defense Minister Eli Ben Dahan for asking the chief of staff’s office to end this disgrace. We should praise the commander of Training Base 15, who has already ordered his soldiers to have nothing to do with this shameful pursuit.

This shameful pursuit is the soldiers’ occasional visits to the so-called “child warehouses” – unlicensed “babysitter” facilities for refugee children in south Tel Aviv. In the summer, 30 to 80 children up to age six inhabit each of these “warehouses,” crowded in cubbyholes of 50 to 60 square meters.

The soldiers play for two or three hours with a few dozen of the 3,000 children of asylum seekers living in the city. About 15 of these children have died in the last five years, and about half of them suffer some developmental disorder or disability due to the squalid conditions they are being raised in.

Undoubtedly, those children must be punished severely. They must be denied any assistance.

The story began some two months ago, with a parliamentary question submitted by MK Amir Ohana (Likud) in the Knesset. He asked, “Why is the IDF encouraging illegal infiltration into Israel?” following complaints by south Tel Aviv residents. At the same time the organization Students for South Tel Aviv gathered pictures of soldiers playing with children, posted them on Facebook and tagged a number of Knesset members, including Ohana.

Israeli Police harass refugees

About a month ago, Rabbi Yigal Levinstein, head of the pre-military academy in the West Bank settlement of Eli, raised a public furor with his appalling utterances about gay people, whom he called “perverts.” He denounced the initiative in which flight cadets volunteered to paint a gay community club in Tel Aviv. MK Ohana, a gay man and a father, apparently sees no connection between these matters.

The way Ohana, and apparently most of the public, sees it, the gays’ market value in the human stock exchange is higher than that of black children. Presumably the very comparison will sound offensive to him.

Ben Dahan answered the question for the cabinet, saying the soldiers’ visit to asylum-seekers’ child centers was an isolated, one-time initiative and in general the IDF was not involved in activity in south Tel Aviv.

But alas, last week more incriminating pictures surfaced, showing Intelligence Corps cadets playing in a park with black children. After this, said one of the asylum seekers’ leading opponents, Ben Dahan promised her that “these scenes will not be repeated.” He even went to the chief of staff’s office and was told the army would examine the list of organizations for which soldiers would be allowed do volunteer work.

The poor of your city come first,” the deputy minister said, explaining his objection to the soldiers’ activities with the refugee children.

But what he said wasn’t accurate. The children of south Tel Aviv, who are offhandedly called “infiltrators,” are the poorest of the town’s poor. As far as Ben Dahan, Ohana and many others are concerned, they’re probably not even included in the definition of “human beings,” because they’re not Jewish, and worse – they’re black.

Is anyone stopping IDF soldiers from volunteering for NGOs that look after the poor of Ben Dahan’s town, i.e. the Jews, his own people? Are the black children robbing so many resources during the two or three hours during which a few dozen soldiers play ball with them, or push them on a swing in a park?

Ben Dahan is part of the cabinet. The same cabinet that demonizes anyone who isn’t flesh of its flesh – that is, Jewish, rightist, chauvinist. Thus the “liberal” Ohana holds hands with the religious Ben Dahan and together with Yariv Levin, Miri Regev, Ayelet Shaked and others, they are taking steps to cast out anyone outside their immediate circle – including asylum seekers, people who try to help asylum seekers, opponents of the occupation and liberals in general.

This demonic tactic has now reached the point of absurdity: Even playing with three-year-olds is a crime, a shocking spectacle that won’t be seen again

President Reuven Rivlin weighs in, saying 'it's not a sin for soldiers to aid the children of desperate refugees.'

Gili Cohen Aug 12, 2016 2:33 AM

Foreign migrant workers children watch an acrobat perform during the Purim festival in Tel Aviv, March 22, 2016.AP

The Israel Defense Forces is to issue a list of approved organizations in which soldiers may volunteer, after a prominent right-wing activist from south Tel Aviv complained that troops were playing with the children of African asylum seekers in the area as part of the army’s educational activities.

Last week the commander of the training base of the Intelligence Corps suspended volunteer activities by his soldiers with the charity Elifelet: Citizens for Refugee Children. The Israel Defense Forces Spokesman termed the move a “local decision” by the base commander. Military correspondent Carmela Menashe first reported this story on Israel Radio.

 Army units regularly volunteer with the children of asylum seekers through Elifelet. On Monday, soldiers from the Intelligence Corps came to the south Tel Aviv Shapira neighborhood for games and other activities at a playground.

 Sheffi Paz, a prominent activist in efforts to remove asylum seekers from south Tel Aviv, documented the visit. She later wrote on her Facebook page that she had contacted Deputy Defense Minister Eli Ben-Dahan, saying that he had promised her that “those scenes will not be repeated.”

After Ben-Dahan turned to the army chief of staff, the IDF replied that the list of organizations where soldiers are permitted to volunteer would be reviewed. According to Ben-Dahan, “The famous Jewish rule, ‘the poor of your own city first’ applies here.” On Wednesday President Reuven Rivlin addressed the issue, saying: “It is no sin for IDF soldiers to extend help to children of desperate refugees.”

 In a statement, the IDF Spokesman’s Unit said the army is committed to volunteer service and incorporates such activities into its education programs. “In order to be more specific about protocol, the chief education officer will soon define a list of organizations approved for volunteering, in accordance with policy and orders.”

'Unfortunately, we have to tell our patients, some of whom have chronic illnesses or need vital operations, that to get treatment in Israel, they have to hope they get worse.'

 Tel Aviv faces racism accusations as migrants’ children sent to segregated preschools

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