Jewish Ethics Regarding Refugees: Ideology and Realization

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This article addresses the Jewish ethical approach to refugees. According to Jewish ethics, help must be offered to refugees of a foreign people, and sometimes, for the sake of peace, even to those of an enemy state. Reviewing the Jewish sources, I conclude that from an ethical point of view, preference should be given to refugees who are near the border over those from farther away. Priority must be given to those in acute distress who lack the basic items of sustenance. Sometimes there is a special value in finding a way to assist even one's enemies in the hope that such help will break down the barriers of hatred. Similarly, it is ethically preferable to offer help to blameless children over adults, whose intentions might be suspect.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)153-166
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Law and Religion
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2 Jan 2022


  • Judaism
  • dignity
  • ethics
  • freedom
  • refugees


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