Youngstown Jewish Federation takes stance on travel ban

An Israeli holds a flag and wears a Star of David patch resembling the one Jews were forced to wear in Nazi Germany during a demonstration in Jerusalem. (Associated Press/Sebastian Scheiner) ** FILE **

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – The Youngstown-area Jewish Federation issued a statement Friday against President Donald Trump’s travel ban.

Alam Kretzer, president of the Youngstown-area Jewish Federation, said in a new release that the federation opposes Trump’s executive order to temporarily ban travel that restricts entry to the U.S. from seven predominantly Muslim countries and delays entry of refugees from war-torn Syria.

Trump signed an executive order last Friday to keep refugees from entering the country for 120 days and immigrants from seven predominantly Muslim nations out for three months. The countries affected are Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Yemen and Somalia.

The statement said that while the federation is respectful of the administration’s responsibility to protect the nation’s borders, it must be done without abandoning the “historic commitment shared by the Jewish community and all Americans to welcoming immigrants and treating refugees with compassion.

As Jews and minorities, we understand the very real consequences of fear, hate speech, hate crimes, bigotry, and the challenges faced by immigrants. Many of our relatives endured profound difficulties in trying to escape generations of religious and political persecution abroad. We are guided by religious based mandates to welcome the stranger and care for the weak, and we are motivated by the unified leadership of each of the national Jewish denominations – Orthodox, Conservative, Reform and Reconstructionist – who have expressed concern over action that defines policy for individuals based upon their religion. – Alan Kretzer

The Associated Press reported that Trump will order the Pentagon and State Department to come up with a plan to provide safe zones in Syria and the surrounding region for Syrians denied visas to enter the U.S.

Kretzer said in his statement that the world is seeing the largest refugee crisis of our time and the United Sates must “continue to be a beacon of freedom and safety for people fleeing religious persecution.”