In a letter to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the North American Jewish community's most prominent leaders urged the Israeli leader to backtrack on his plans to deport tens of thousands of African migrants.
The letter reads, in part:
"The government of Israel recently announced its plans to imprison or potentially deport tens of thousands of Sudanese and Eritrean asylum seekers unless they leave voluntarily before April.
"The ultimatum follows a mounting campaign of escalation on the part of the Israeli government to pressure the roughly 38,000 African asylum seekers remaining in Israel to self-deport. While Israeli authorities contend that the population in question – most of whom entered Israel between 2007 and 2012 – are economic migrants, HIAS and other rights groups argue that they are asylum seekers and refugees deserving of protection."
The letter suggested that American Jewry could assist Israel in finding a more compassionate solution to the situation, but did not go into details.
But the situation is a bit more tricky for Israel than those living abroad may realize.
Israel finds itself in a conundrum–how can it turn away or deport those in need considering the Jews' own history? At the same time, how can the tiny nation of Israel absorb such numbers without taking a serious hit to its economy?
And time's running out to find a solution.
According to Oved Hugi, a social activist from southern Tel Aviv, the "infiltrators' birthrate stands at 10,000 per year. That means 50,000 children in five years, and that should cause the Prime Minister to lose sleep. South Tel Aviv is a ticking time bomb."