Former Chief Rabbi Yisrael Lau appealed to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on the eve of Shavuot to release the Sudanese refugees held in Israeli jails.
In a letter, Rabbi Lau urged Olmert to grant the Sudanese refugee status, once they undergo the standard security checks.
"We, the members of the Jewish people, who suffered from persecutions and the world's indifference to our fate when we came to Israel as refugees, cannot allow ourselves to ignore the suffering and distress of other nations… the Torah orders us to love the foreigner," the rabbi wrote.
Last week, Kiryat Arab's rabbi Dov Lior said that Israel must not allow Darfur refugees into its territory or enable them to stay in the country.
"We are not currently in a state of peace. We are in a state of war, surrounded by enemies, and we don't know whether or not tomorrow they (the refugees) will join those who hate us," Rabbi Lior said. "Therefore, the State of Israel must not allow such a thing."