The ongoing civil war in Syria has left 4 million people displaced and 300,000 slaughtered. News reports are filled with scenes of tens of thousands of Syrian refugees pouring over the borders into Europe in search of safe haven.

Now, as calls emerge within Israel to accept Syrian refugees, Prime Minister Netanyahu – citing security and demographic concerns – has announced that Israel would not do so.

On one hand, this is understandable. Syria has been perpetually at war against Israel, including three annihilation attempts in '48, '67 and '73. In the lead-up to the Six Day War, President Hafez Assad declared: "We shall never call for nor accept peace. We shall only accept war. We have resolved to drench this land with [Israel's] blood, to oust you as aggressor, to throw you into the sea."

Today, Syria continues to indoctrinate its people with anti-Semitic and anti-Israel messages. Syria's printing of the infamous Protocols of Elders of Zion – authorized by the Assad government – includes supplementary chapters promoting Jews as "champions in spreading corruption and moral decay," while describing "barbaric acts" of Jewish torture: "stomachs cut open... eyes blinded using a white-hot iron... bodies completely mutilated."

It is understandable why Israel would not wish to grant permanent residency and/or citizenship to an antagonistic element (or worse – a potential spy network) from a sworn enemy nation.

On the other hand, the Jewish State has an obligation to stand prominently for the ideals of compassion. This week's spate of headlines – proclaiming that Israel "rejects Syrian refugees" and "refuses to take in refugees" – shows that the world is clearly watching Israel's actions.

Inaction is not an option. So what should Israel do?

Life-saving Medical Treatment

In truth, Israel has long been at the forefront of humanitarian aid to Syrians. Over the past three years, 2,000 Syrian men, women and children have been brought to Israel for life-saving medical attention.

Many of these patients are combatants – often from ISIS or Hezbollah. With a huge investment of manpower and medical costs, Israel gives them first-class medical treatment and helps rebuild their lives.

Ironically, when these patients head back to Syria, politics come forcefully into play: Hebrew lettering is erased from prosthetic limbs, and medicines are removed from Hebrew packaging and placed in unmarked containers.

Perhaps this life-saving humanitarian program can be a solution to Israel's current moral quandary: Announce an extension and upgrade of medical aid to Syrians.

Israeli Tradition

Israel is especially sensitive to this issue, as it carries a national memory of the struggle by Jewish refugees to escape the Nazi regime.

This has spawned a long history of Israeli humanitarian aid – being first on the scene in Haiti and other disaster zones.

In 1977, Menachem Begin’s first act as Israeli prime minister was to offer asylum and resettlement for Vietnamese boat people escaping persecution. Begin cited the tragedy of the boat the St. Louis which left Germany carrying 900 Jews then traveled "from harbor to harbor, from country to country, crying out for refuge" – until being sent back to meet their fate in Germany.

Another ship, the SS Struma – abandoned without food, water and fuel – was torpedoed and sunk by a Soviet submarine, killing 768 men, women and children.

Israel understands the imperative of acting to save others in distress. In the case of Syrian refugees, the Jewish State can continue to serve as a moral beacon for creative and effective solutions.