How To Treat Syrians?


Re: “Amid Terror, Refugee Advocates Seek Balance” (Sept. 23): In 1973, as a volunteer living on Kibbutz Mizrah, in the Yizrael Valley, I saw my kibbutz friends go off to fight in the Yom Kippur War on multiple fronts. We stayed behind and worked the kibbutz dairy.

When our soldiers returned, we heard stories of war, life on the front, of the battles in Sinai and the Golan Heights. When we discussed casualties or prisoners of war, there was consensus. The preference was to be captured by Egyptians because to be captured by the Syrians was to be exposed to atrocities. Israeli soldiers were found with bodies mutilated. Prisoners were tortured.

Today we are asked to assist refugees from Syria. Are some of these refugees the same men, 43 years later, who rejoiced at the mutilation of Jewish bodies?

Or are these Syrian refugees only victims of a hateful government?

I am thankful that we are not like them, that our traditions teach us respect for all humans, to respect the dead and ourselves, to help those in need and welcome the stranger as we were once strangers in Egypt.

So, how much do we assist? I imagine there are some Syrian veterans from that were among the refugees, hopefully remorseful and now decent human beings.  Perhaps a variation of the line from “Fiddler on the Roof” is appropriate: May the good Lord bless and keep the refugees far away from us.

Nashville, Tenn.