The situation in Darfur is so far away from Israel and our daily lives. We have school and children, work and family and daily pressures. It would be too easy to ignore the tragedy that has become reality in the province of Darfur, Sudan. It must be easy because much of the world seems able to do this.
But Darfur remains in our minds and actions – there have been many Israelis working to help the situation and most recently, dozens of Sudanese knew what most of the world denies – if they could get here, they would not be ignored, they would not be harrassed, they would not be alone. Israel is a country known to help others – as we did the boat people from Vietnam years ago…as we did after the tsunami in Asia and the earthquake in Turkey and so many other places.
And so, refugees battled the desert and the distance, bypassed the Egyptians, and came to little Israel – where they have been given shelter and dignity. This too is Israel. It is indeed part of our heritage and our promise – we were once refugees, we once had no place to go. We had no brothers in 22 lands to take us in and welcome us and so when we finally came home, we opened that home to others in need.
Read about Israel helping save the lives of more than 200 Darfur refugees:
Dozens of Sudanese refugees, have been accommodated in the southern Israeli city of Eilat. They have been given work in hotels and their children are scheduled to go to schools in the city. One of the refugees, 27-year-old Gatlan Genoa said: “I am happy. We now have a normal life after all the suffering we endured. We dreamed of living in dignity and our dream has come true.”
Genoa, who came to Israel via Egypt, added: “It was hard. The Egyptians wanted to kill us. I didn’t think I would live. When we crossed the border the soldiers didn’t do anything to us. We understood then that Israelis were good people. Everything they are doing for us here in Eilat is heart warming.” The children in the group spend their time at the children’s clubs at the hotels where they are taken care of while their parents are at work.