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What's behind Israel's decision to welcome Syrian orphans?

Right-wing nongovernmental organizations in Israel have launched campaigns in favor of Syrian refugees, calling upon the government to show that Israelis care about their neighbors being massacred daily.
Israeli girls play near a sign at Mount Bental, an observation post in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights that overlooks the Syrian side of the Qunietra crossing August 21, 2015. Israel said it killed four Palestinian militants in an air strike on the Syrian Golan Heights on Friday, after cross-border rocket fire from Syria prompted the heaviest Israeli bombardment since the start of Syria's four-year-old civil war. REUTERS/Baz Ratner - RTX1P1OA

On Jan. 25, Interior Minister Aryeh Deir announced that he had approved the entry into Israel of some 100 Syrian children orphaned in their country's civil war. According to the plan prepared by the ministry, the children will be granted temporary residency, and after four years will be eligible for permanent resident status allowing them to remain in Israel. If first-degree relatives of the children are located at some point, the Interior Ministry will also consider granting them Israeli residency.

Deri came under pressure over the past year from various directions urging him to take some sort of humanitarian action, even if symbolic, proving that Israelis are not indifferent to events across its border. After all, Israel itself is a state of refugees who experienced the Holocaust, and it cannot sit around doing nothing when such horrific scenes are emerging from Syria. So far Israel has treated more than 2,500 wounded Syrians brought to Israeli hospitals, but none were granted residency and all were returned to Syria after their treatment and recovery.

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