Israel: Immigration minister blasts hypocritical’ neglect of Ethiopian refugees

Of note:

Immigration and Integration Minister Pnina Tamno-Shata and Diaspora Affairs Minister Nachman Shai got into a heated exchange at a government meeting on the Ukraine refugee crisis Monday.

At the meeting, government ministers spoke out against Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked’s newly announced framework that would see all Ukrainians with relatives in Israel allowed entry into the country.

Agriculture Minister Oded Forer said, “We need to stop with the self-flagellation. We are going above and beyond for a country that does not border Ukraine. Britain is only taking in 2,000 people.”

Shaked said, “The government and the ministers should boast and praise the integration operation. No other country is taking in [refugees] on such a scale.  They’ve taken in 5,000 people in exemplary order. Nachman is talking about the negative and not just the positive. We should be proud of what we are doing.”

Finance Minister Avigdor Lieberman noted, “When the State of Israel was under fire, we didn’t see anyone in Europe speak out for us. We are making a supreme effort.”

Science and Technology Minister Orit Farkash-Hacohen said the policy balanced “humanitarian needs with the significant challenge we face. The immigration wave is estimated at tens of thousands of people, which is estimated in billions [of dollars], and that is the important challenge.

We shouldn’t rule out settling the immigrants in lands we have a strategic interest in settling, of course, through investment in their needs and the provision of everything they need.”

Communications Minister Yoaz Handel said the immigrants should be settled in the Jordan Valley, the Golan Heights, the Negev [region], the Galilee, and in the country’s east.

When Handel told Shai, “I didn’t see anyone speak out when there were refugees from Africa,” Shai responded: “We are from Europe.”

Shai’s comment angered Tamno-Shata, who told him: “Take it back. That’s not funny.”

Lieberman attempted to ease tensions, telling Tamno-Shata it was just a joke.

But Tamno-Shata retorted: “It’s not a joke. It’s the truth. I work tirelessly for the benefit of the Law of Return from Ukraine …. We will immigrate them well, but I want the voice of Ethiopian Jews heard. What we have here is the hypocrisy of the white man.

“I demand the immediate extrication of those eligible for the Law of Return in Tigray and Ethiopia who have been at war for a year. None of those speaking up here spoke up for those eligible for the Law of Return from Ethiopia. This is simply hypocrisy of the white man,” she said.

Source: Immigration minister blasts hypocritical’ neglect of Ethiopian refugees

About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

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