Thursday, January 08, 2004

Another Middle Eastern refugee problem. 

"'The Israeli Government are to start moving more than 18,000 Ethiopian Jews to the Middle East,' says Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom. At the end of a two-day visit to Ethiopia, Mr Shalom said the emigration of the Falasha Mura community would start by the end of next week.

"The Falasha Mura are the last remaining Jewish community in Ethiopia and have long been persecuted for their beliefs."

Since 1948, the Israelis have taken more than 900,000 Jewish refugees from North Africa and the Arab world, and many more from Communist countries that persecuted them before the collapse of the Soviet Union. The number is actually fairly close to the 750,000 or so Palestinians who left Israel -- whether voluntarily, in fear of their lives, or under orders -- during or following the Arab-Israeli war of 1948. Of course, Jewish refugees -- even the Falasha Mura, who have not been welcomed as unreservedly as other Jews -- are not confined in camps for generations. They have been integrated into Israeli society, and in many cases become far more productive economically than they were in their country of origin. And, of course, Jews don't teach their children to strap on high explosives and detonate themselves in the midst of Muslim civilians.

If the Arabs handled their own refugees the way the Jews handle theirs, the world would not be such a dangerous place.


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