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Former chief rabbi: Let Darfur refugees go

A former chief rabbi of Israel asked the Israeli government to consider releasing Sudanese from Darfur being detained in Israeli jails and giving them refugee status. In a letter to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert released to the media Tuesday, Rabbi Yisrael Lau, a Holocaust survivor, reminded the prime minister of the genocide being perpetuated in Darfur and the Jewish tradition of treating strangers with compassion. Lau recently visited Sudanese at an Israeli prison, where they are being held while their security backgrounds are checked. They were arrested as enemy aliens for crossing into Israel illegally from the Egyptian border.Sudan is considered an enemy state of Israel, spurring fears that some among the 300 Darfur migrants who have come to Israel in the past two years could represent security threats. To date, none of the Sudanese has been found to be a security problem; slowly some are being released to work on kibbutzim, moshavim and hotels around the country.

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