Freeing the twins
Currently, Britain seems to have an obsession with the threat of mass immigration from Eastern Europe. So it is refreshing to see the Jewish community coming together to buck the trend. Birmingham Progressive Synagogue and the Board of Deputies, in their efforts on behalf of two teenagers from Kyrgystan, have shown that the many asylum-seekers who populate bleak detention centres up and down the country are for the most part simply people who want to live free from fear. The twin sisters had lived peacefully in Britain for three years when they were grabbed from the streets, told that their asylum applications had failed, and incarcerated in Yarl’s Wood, an establishment with a grim reputation. The synagogue recognised the plight of Karina and Kamila Kaya, who had sought refuge here after their parents were killed by gunmen in their home country. They were not economic migrants. They were literally running for their lives. Yet despite the efforts of the Birmingham Progressive community, the Board and the Jewish Agency — which plans to offer the girls a home in Israel — it seemed until Wednesday that their fate would inevitably be deportation. The breakthrough came when the Home Office initially put off the deportation by seven weeks — and then released Karina and Kamila. Of course, their story is not over. The young women now have to decide whether to tie their future to Israel or fight an appeal to stay in the UK. What the community has done, to its credit, is to give them the opportunity to choose.