What Israeli character is Netanyahu talking about? No longer do Israelis toil in the fields to make the dry earth bloom. The Israeli in the fields is an antiquated mythos of bygone generations. Nowadays backbreaking fieldwork is performed overwhelmingly by migrant workers, legal and illegal, and cordoning them off in camps will not change that fact. What Netanyahu doesn't consider is that the jobs taken by migrant workers are those Israeli refuse to do: laborious, low paying positions in oftentimes difficult conditions. Sectioning them away, rather than legally inducting them into the workforce, will only hurt the Israeli economy by depriving the agricultural and service industries of desperately needed manpower.
Perhaps Netanyahu means the exclusively ethnically Jewish nature of the Jewish state, in which case he is again wrongly mistaken. That has never been a reality, nor was it ever a vision of Israel's founders. Theodor Herzl wrote of a Jewish state in Altneuland where "we do not ask to what race or religion a man belongs. If he is a man, that is enough for us." Is barricading these people off because they washed up on our shores, desperate and destitute, part of Herzl's vision or in Israel's character? Is it Jewish whatsoever to maltreat foreigners among us thus? Does it not say in Exodus 22:21 :
"וגר לא תונה ולא תלחצנו כי גרים הייתם בארץ מצרים"
"Do not mistreat or oppress a foreigner, for you were foreigners in Egypt"?How can either side of the religious/secular spectrum find this course of action appropriate or justifiable? The cabinet's decision to incarcerate refugees is universally morally reprehensible and unjustifiable.
Too many have already compared this new detention facility to that at Atlit, where some sixty-five years ago the British incarcerated illegal Jewish immigrants seeking a better life, so I shall refrain. The comparison is nonetheless apt. This decision is a PR fiasco in the making. Israel already stands accused of human rights violations that-- legitimate or otherwise-- murky its international standing . This decision merely adds more (in this case legitimate) fuel to the fire, furthering Israel's rap as a racially discriminatory ethnocracy. This development can only mar Israel's reputation further.