While military intervention is highly unlikely, the cabinet will consider whether to bring Syrian children to Israel for medical treatment, including children injured in the attack currently languishing in Turkish refugee camps.
However, the matter has already aroused debate among officials in the security cabinet, with Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz (Likud) advocating directly to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman (Yisrael Beytenu) for the provision of medical treatment for children victims of the attack.
Nevertheless, the suggestion was met with opposition since such a move would require cooperation with the Turkish government—a sore point for the Israeli government given that despite the cooling of tensions between the two countries following the signing of a reconciliation deal last year, mistrust and suspicion continue to linger in the relationship.
Indeed, Lieberman justified opposing the humanitarian measure, citing the difficulties involved in coordinating with Turkey.
Katz however, stuck to his position, arguing that Israel had an obligation to offer succor to the children in their hour of need.
“I see it as our obligation as Jews and Israelis to provide assistance to those wounded in the gas attacks in Syria, among them many children,” he said on Saturday night.
“The question was never raised in any forum; not in the government, not in the cabinet and not in any internal forums in the Ministry of Defense.”
But the Syrian debacle is set to occupy a prominent place on the cabinet agenda for other reasons too, particularly given Interior Minister Rabbi Aryeh Deri’s (Shas) proposal that Israel absorb 100 Syrian orphans.
Notwithstanding the blessing vouchsafed by Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon (Kulanu), the idea has garnered neither the support of the prime minister nor the majority of ministers since the plan would entail providing residency to the refugees.
(Translated and edited by Alexander J. Apfel)