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Where are all the Israelis? Photo: Moti Kimchi
Where are all the Israelis? Photo: Moti Kimchi
 
 

Holocaust survivors protest against migrant deportation

Hundreds of Holocaust survivors gather in Tel Aviv, march against expulsion of asylum seekers. 'We can’t turn a blind eye to people in distress,' one survivor says

Gilad Morag
Published: 07.28.12, 23:04 / Israel News

Hundreds of Holocaust survivors and their families held a protest march on Saturday evening in Tel Aviv to protest Israel's policy on migrant deportation.

 

In an effort to join the struggle against the deportation of migrants from Israel, Holocaust survivors marched across Tel Aviv, demonstrating against the arrest and expulsion of asylum seekers.

 

Relates stories:

 

The protest is the initiative of Atta Buchman, 65, the daughter of Holocaust survivors, and Oren Rimon, a 15-year-old volunteer at a migrants' children kindergarten. The connection between the two was formed when, as part of a school project, Rimon visited the retirement home where Buchman is staying.

 

The two created a video in which Buchman invites the public to the protest march. Her own life story inspired many to join the campaign and attend the rally.

 

"I wasn't thinking about holding a protest before I met Atta, but having read about the current situation with the refugees I got angry and together we realized that a protest was in place as it was not done in this capacity before," Rimon said.

 

"We filmed the video and published it on Facebook, and all of a sudden hundreds of people and organizations decided to join us," Rimon added.

 

Buchman, who left Lithuania to make aliyah 20 years ago, has been under the care of Eritrean migrants at her retirement home ever since she underwent a stroke.

 

"They are the best caregivers we have," she said. "They have patience and a constant smile on their faces," she said. Buchman shared her anger at the treatment of refugees in Israel. "She said that as a daughter of Holocaust survivors she is ashamed of the way refugees are being treated in Israel," Rimon said.

 

In an attempt to clarify the idea behind the protest, Rimon said that "we're not comparing Israel's treatment of migrants to the Holocaust, but we're simply saying that a State which was founded by migrants should not treat other migrants this way."

 

Shimon Segali, an 80-year-old Holocaust survivor from Hungary, who attended the protest said: "Last winter I saw on television dozens of African migrants huddled together in Levinsky Park. The sight was horrible and I decided to help them by giving the migrants food and blankets.

 

"During the Holocaust, I had to learn to live with being ostracized and hungry, and when I look at the migrants in Israel, I can see what I fought for at age 11. We can't turn a blind eye while these people are in distress," he said, adding that the hundreds who came to protest today are just a drop in the bucket."

 

"Where are all the Israelis?" Segali asked. "Don't they care that these people have no hope? That if they're shipped back to their countries they could die?"

 

 

 

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