Conference of Presidents Leaders Commend Arrangement to Resolve Refugee Crisis in Israel

New York, NY

Leaders of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations praised the historic arrangement announced by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu today between Israel and UN High Commissioner for Refugees (“UNHCR”) that provides a just and humane approach to resolving the refugee crisis in Israel.

Stephen M. Greenberg, Chairman, and Malcolm Hoenlein, Executive Vice Chairman/CEO, of the Conference of Presidents, said, “We welcome the announcement by Prime Minister Netanyahu of an historic arrangement resolving the longstanding crisis in Israel caused by the influx of migrants from African countries. 

Israel, like any other country, is entitled to establish and enforce policies to regulate the flow of migrants into the country and the rights they will be afforded. Overall, the understanding with UNHCR balances Israel’s security requirements with its social needs and humanitarian responsibilities.

The enormous numbers of migrants that came to Israel from African countries has strained Israel’s ability to manage the process of determining under Israeli and international law whether migrants were fleeing persecution or seeking economic opportunities in Israel that were unavailable to them in their home countries.  By joining with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees to find a solution to the crisis, Israel has engaged with the international agency best equipped and most experienced in dealing with these complex issues.

It is most appropriate that Prime Minister Netanyahu was able to announce the arrangement during the Passover holiday when Jews throughout the world recall the tyranny of enslavement and celebrate freedom. The solution announced today enables many migrants to remain in Israel and provides the others with alternatives to forcible deportation from Israel.”

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The Conference of Presidents is the central coordinating body representing 50 national Jewish organizations on issues of national and international concern

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