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April 14, 2015 2:51 pm

Illegal Immigrants in America and Israel

avatar by Moshe Phillips and Benyamin Korn


A community in the West Bank.

Here’s a question.

Why do so many American Jewish liberals sympathize with illegal immigrants to America, yet vilify those whom they consider “illegal” Israeli settlers in Judea and Samaria? If you stop and think about it, it makes no logical sense.

Foreign nationals who sneak across America’s borders are obviously breaking the law. They did not apply for permission to enter, in accordance with our country’s immigration laws. They did not wait their turn, as legal immigrants do.

Nonetheless, many Jewish liberals believe that America’s illegals should not be punished for that crime, but rather be allowed to remain in the United States and, sooner or later, granted citizenship. Advocates of legalizing the illegals say that is the humane, compassionate thing to do. After all, most of the illegals have come from underdeveloped countries, in search of a better life. They are hoping to leave behind the poverty and insecurity of their native lands. America is a land of plenty, and we should be willing to share with them, beyond already generous U.S. quotas for legal immigrants. Or so the argument goes.

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But when it comes to the Jewish residents of Judea, Samaria, and Jerusalem – regarded as “illegals” by much of the international community – where is their compassion? There can be no doubt that the Jewish “settlers” have a much stronger claim to enter the territories where they reside.

The Jews have moved into areas that are defined as the ancestral Jewish national homeland by the Bible, which is revered by hundreds of millions of American Christians.

From the viewpoint of history, Jerusalem has been capital of the Jewish people for more than 3,000 years. Judea and Samaria were the heartland of the Jewish kingdoms that thrived for more than 600 years in Biblical times.

From a religious viewpoint, too, the Jews have a unique and profound attachment to the areas they have re-settled in modern times. Judaism’s holiest site is the Temple Mount, located in the Old City section of Jerusalem. The second holiest site in Judaism is the Cave of the Patriarchs, in Hebron, burial site of the Biblical patriarchs and matriarchs. By contrast, there is nothing in America that makes it sacred to, say, a newcomer from Mexico or Guatemala.

Our point is that, logically, those who support letting illegals stay in the United States ought to be just as supportive of Jews living in Judea, Samaria, and Jerusalem – or even more so.

The reason many such people do not support the Jewish “settlers” is because of the violent opposition of the Palestinian Arabs. But aren’t Palestinian bigots who don’t want Jewishneighbors just as racist and repulsive as anti-immigrant extremists in America who don’t want Latino neighbors?

Jewish liberals who reject Ku Klux Klan-type attitudes in the Midwest should reject them in the Mideast as well. Why are “Jewish illegals” somehow less deserving of their sympathies?

Moshe Phillips is president and Benyamin Korn is chairman of the Religious Zionists of Philadelphia, and both are current candidates on the Religious Zionist slate ( in the World Zionist Congress elections.

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