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Israel to Take in 100 Syrian Orphans

Israel on Wednesday decided to grant refugee status to 100 children orphaned during the Syrian civil war, granting them temporary residency with a path to staying in the country permanently, Israel’s Channel 10 reported.

The policy, which follows a decision made by Interior Minister Aryeh Deri, will allow the children to become permanent residents after four years, with the possibility of remaining in Israel for the rest of their lives. Immediate relatives of the orphans will also be in consideration for refugee status in Israel.

The orphans will reportedly be placed with Arab Israeli families.

The government is now set to liaise with the relevant international organizations to bring the children into the country.

Over 2,500 Syrians have been treated in Israeli hospitals since 2013, even though the two countries have been in a state of war since 1948. Israeli journalist Ron Ben-Yishai documented one of the risky missions the IDF undertook to rescue an injured Syrian fighter in 2015. Pregnant women sometimes travel to the border in order to deliver their babies in Israel, and Israeli doctors have treated young Syrian patients with cutting-edge procedures that allowed them to walk again.

An Israeli crowdfunding campaign raised nearly $350,000 for Syrian refugees last month.

Last year, Aboud Dandachi, a refugee from Syria now living in Turkey, expressed his gratitude to “true friends” of Syrians, especially Israel and Jewish organizations, in an article for Tablet Magazine. Dandachi also maintains a website called Thank You Am Israel, which was created “in appreciation of the assistance given to Syrian refugees by Israeli and Jewish organizations and individuals.”

An earlier version of this article claimed that the Syrian refugee children are to be granted a path to full citizenship after four years in Israel, rather than permanent residency. This has since been corrected.

[Photo: Beshr Abdulhadi / Flickr ]