Jerusalem – Israeli law allows visitors to remain in Israel on a tourist visa for three months, subject to application for extension, with priority given to students who are learning in Israeli academic institutions.
If a visitor takes a job, he must apply for a work visa and may remain in Israel for five years, so long as the visitor has not taken a job from an Israeli citizen.
However, some Israeli institutions reach beyond the traditional approach of reaching out to Jewish people to assume Israeli citizenship.
Israel’s collective farms, known as “Kibbutzim,” are now doing their best to recruit unpaid day laborers, Jewish or not Jewish.
To that end, they have hired PR firms to conduct a high profile PR campaign and lobby in the Israeli Knesset to allow Sudanese citizens to live permanently on their Kibbutzim under a special act of “permanent residency.”
While the Sudanese would receive medical care, food and housing from the Kibbutzim, the question of their dignity, ethnicity and future is left up in the air.
Meanwhile, the U.N. provided funds to Egypt to feed and house Sudanese refugees from Darfur who leave the Egyptian camps after U.N. provisions that have somehow disappeared.
In the case of the Falashmora (Ethiopian Jews descended from forced converts to Judaism), Israel determined that 15,700 qualify for residency in Israel under the law of return. Former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon allowed a quota of 600 per month. Olmert reduced it to 300 per month after failing to achieve his desired number of 150 per month.
The health and sanitary conditions in the Falashmora transit camps are not good. The Falashmora cannot return to their villages, where they would be slaughtered. They are not being processed by the Israeli government, with no reason being given. No media outlet is making a fuss about it.
David Bedein can be reached at Media@actcom.co.il. His Web site is www.IsraelBehindTheNews.com
©The Bulletin 2007