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Netanyahu, Lapid under fire for refugee stance

Opposition head Isaac Herzog hits back at Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, hours after Netanyahu indicated Israel would not be able to take in Syrian refugees.

“You’ve forgotten what it is to be Jewish. Refugees. Pursued. The prime minister of the Jewish state doesn’t close his heart nor his borders when people are escaping their pursuers, with their babies in their hands,” Herzog writes on Facebook.

He also calls on Netanyahu to emulate former prime minister Menachem Begin, who let 66 Vietnamese boat people escaping persecution settle in Israel in 1977.

The conversation about Israel letting refugees in was sparked by a statement by Herzog Saturday night saying the country should contribute to easing the crisis.

Yesh Atid head Yair Lapid, who criticized the idea, has also come under fire from radio presenter Gabi Gazit, who told the son of former minister Tommy Lapid to remember the history of his father escaping Budapest.

“Your father and my father asked themselves for years how and why the world was silent when Hitler tried to kill the Jewish people, and our fathers died before they were able to see the new refugees at the Budapest train station,” he writes. “Yes, the very same station where your father and my father tried 70 years to catch a train from to freedom, and only three years later there was the world war. Their train made it out of Budapest and took them to the Land of Israel.”

On the other side of the debate, Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked dismisses the idea of letting in Syrian refugees.

“Of course Israel cannot absorb huge numbers of refugees from Syria,” she says, according to Israel National News. “The country can provide humanitarian aid to any wounded person who comes, but absorbing refugees should be done in Turkey and Jordan and not Israel.”

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