We Need a DREAM Act in Israel

posted Aug 28, 2013, 9:12 AM by Professor Katz   [ updated Jun 12, 2016, 2:53 AM ]
In Israel, citizenship is automatically acquired if you can convince the Ministry of the Interior that your mother was/is Jewish.  Without that qualification, citizenship or even permanent residency is very difficult to obtain.  Israel is a First World country that you can walk to from Africa, and many people have done so, crossing the border, often bringing with them small children.  Other families come to Israel legally but overstay their tourist visas. Their children are entitled to go to school, even if the parents risk deportation, but when they reach the age of eighteen they are often forced to leave.

Many of these children study at the (K-12) Bialik-Rogozin School, in south Tel Aviv
, the subject of a film called "Strangers No More", which won an Academy Award for best documentary in 2011.  Watch the trailer about this school, where children from nearly fifty countries study in Hebrew and learn to become Israelis, to take part in a future that will probably not be theirs.

Or better yet, watch the whole film: it's in English, despite the Spanish subtitles:

Because of the way citizenship is determined in Israel, the chance of a DREAM Act being enacted here is very small.  The just thing to do would be to enable these children to serve in the army when they finish high school, at the end of which service they would be granted permanent residency.  This is probably not going to happen.

If you know Hebrew, close your eyes and LISTEN to these children sing in perfect, unaccented Hebrew ... and ask yourself if they are really different from other Israelis in anything that matters.

If you want to help, write to me at dskatz@post.tau.ac.il and I can put you in touch with the school.