WUJS, representing Jewish students worldwide, is unanimously calling on Israeli government to stop expulsion of African migrants—who will face danger if deported—and formulate clear policy regarding illegal immigration according to international norms; 'We condemn the Israeli government's scandalous policy towards asylum seekers,' says president of organization's European chapter.
The World Union of Jewish Students (WUJS) which represents some 600,000 Jewish students in 38 countries, has decided to officially oppose the Israeli government policy to expel
Sudanese and Eritrean asylum seekers to Rwanda.
"We condemn the Israeli government's scandalous policy towards asylum seekers," Alina Bricman, President of the European chapter of the Union, told Ynet on Thursday.
Bricman added that the "Asylum seekers came to Israel with hopes that democracy would offer them safety. However, their dignity is taken from them daily and now their physical safety is in danger. We will not support this; we want a State of Israel that we can be proud of."
The WUJS represents official Jewish student unions on six continents and its past leadership included Albert Einstein, Chaim Nachman Bialik, Sigmund Freud, Chaim Weizmann, David Ben Gurion and A.B. Yehoshua. None of the Union's chapters opposed the decision.
The resolution adopted by the union stated: "The administration of the WUJS believes that the expulsion will place thousands of people in danger of death, rape, torture, slavery and extreme poverty. Israel has a moral obligation to safeguard its Jewish principles and protect asylum seekers in its territory.
"Israel must consider the asylum requests according to international standards in order to determine which migrants are deserving of refugee status."
They went on to say that Israel "Should formulate a clear policy regarding illegal immigration and take into consideration its social, economic and demographic needs; but also with empathy towards the difficulties that brought the migrants to Israel."
With regards to the difficult situation in south Tel Aviv, they wrote: "It is problematic, but Israel is capable of finding alternative solutions to the situation without deporting thousands of people."
The union is calling on the government to immediately halt the expulsion plan and adopt a policy of asylum in accordance with international and Jewish ideals. They also called on the Israeli public and its allies to assist and work with Israel in humanely handling the challenges presented by the international refugee crisis.
President of WUJS Avigayil Benstein explained the union's decision to Ynet, saying: "We have a moral obligation as a nation of refugees. There is not a Jew in the world that is not a descendent of refugees. We are an activist organization that, during the 1970s and 1980s, worked to get Jews out of the Soviet Union and, in the nineties, to bring Ethiopian Jews to Israel.
"This is an organization with deep roots of social justice and Jewish values and we want to help. We have a moral obligation to ensure asylum seekers are okay and we want to support Israel."
The American chapter of the union also expressed support for the resolution, as its President Misha Vilenchuk reiterated the moral and Jewish obligation to migrants and he quoted bible passages about showing kindness to slaves and strangers.
"Europe has been dealing with the refugee crisis for four years now and while some governments present themselves as victims in this regard, the European chapter of WUJS and other social organizations make their voices heard in support of the tens of thousands who have fled murderous regimes," added Bricman.