Tuesday, August 08, 2006

War Refugees

Yesterday as I was driving to Jerusalem, I was thinking about the Lebanese refugees. I have seen figures suggesting that there are even 800,000 civilians who have fled their home. Anyway, I was feeling bad about it.

And then it dawned upon me.

WE, here in Israel, have 1 million refugees! We have had families staying in Alon Shevut, in Efrat, in Midreshet Lindenbaum. We have the entire North in bomb shelters. 20% of our country are under attack! MOST of them have become refugees.

So why does no one mention the Israeli refugees? Because we take care of them, clothe them, house them. They are not living in the street, and not starving. So they are not visible. Not a picture of wretched suffering that can be broadcast worldwide.

And that reminds me of something.

In 1948 and the years following, there were 800,000 Arab refugees and 800,000 Jewish refugees. The Jews are now proud, stable, productive, happy citizens of Israel. Why? Because they were absorbed, housed , educated and given a positive purpose in life. And the Arab refugees became the Palestinians living in refugee camps; misreable, seething, bitter, homeless. Why? Because their own people, their Arab brethren who pride themselves in their ethic of hospitality, abandoned them!

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