Sudanese refugees fleeing to Israel present an interesting moral dillema, besides showing the holes in Israeli border security. The Biblical obligation of charity extends only to neighbors. Talmudic sages, however, discussed charity toward itinerants and resident aliens. The approach recalls the twentieth-century American discussion about fighting evil vs. searching for distant monsters. To decide on the appropriate object of charity, we need to dwell on the definition of neighbors. The Torah seems to define neighbors as all of “your brothers”—Jews by default, plus submissive resident aliens. Evangelist Luke in the proverb of the Good Samaritan, probably drawing on Jewish sources, defines a neighbor as one who is expected to do good to oneself; thus even the despised Samaritan was declared a good neighbor since he had helped the wayfarer. Luke’s definition catches the essence: Jewish criminals cease to be neighbors and deserve punishment rather than compassion, and well-wishing Gentiles fall into the category of neighbors.

Back to the Sudanese. Surely, the Sudanese at large wouldn’t help the Jews, neither in the UN, nor in a hypothetical case of Jewish refugees fleeing to Sudan. Fundamentally, Jews have no moral business in Sudan, and Jewish participation in the Save Darfur campaign is silly; go save Sderot. The few Sudanese who arrive in Israel, however, could be expected to be good citizens of our country and qualify as our neighbors. They are too few to change demographics, influence voting, or lobby. They lack education, skills, and work ethics, but there are plenty of jobs in Israel that are held by Arabs which are also suitable for the blacks. The Sudanese refugees have every reason to be loyal to the Jewish state, and they hate Arabs. While the Jews—or other people, for that matter—need not go around the world helping every afflicted tribe, victims knocking on our door deserve at least minimal help, and we should allow them residency in Israel.

One problem is that allowing a few Sudanese into Israel encourages thousands of others to flee in the same direction. That many blacks we don’t want; morality toward aliens is good only so long as it doesn’t affect our lifestyle. An immediate solution would be for Israel to press the Egyptians to stop the Sudanese from infiltrating Sinai. Strategically, a smarter move would be to welcome any number of Sudanese refugees and dump them into the Palestinian-held areas of Samaria. Given some goats and weapons to defend them, the blacks will habitually move to fight the Arabs.

As a general rule, Jews need not be ashamed to refuse charity to aliens who demand it.

reverse darfur