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Seeking Asylum in Israel

The number of African asylum seekers in Israel has grown substantially in recent years, now standing at roughly 60,000, mostly from Eritrea and Sudan. Israel has agreed to refrain from deporting nationals from those countries due to the risk they would face, but is pursuing a string of restrictive measures to stem the tide of arrivals. In May of last year, a nighttime mob attack took place against African migrants and their properties in south Tel Aviv, fueled by the state’s anti-immigrant rhetoric. +972 has tracked the unfolding developments and challenges faced by a status-less community under increasing pressure. 

  • Sudanese asylum seeker returns to Israel following 'deportation'

    Sadiq al-Sadiq says he never agreed to return to his home country, where he fears persecution. Israeli authorities, however, say he signed a document agreeing to just that. Based on Avi Belcherman's Hebrew article on +972's sister site, "Local Call" Adapted by Michael Omer-Man A Darfurian asylum seeker who left the Israel last week under the assumption that he was going to a third country — but soon found himself being sent back to Sudan — was returned to Israel on Friday. Activists said that his return to Israel took place against his will, and that he was being held…

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  • Israel hasn't recognized one Sudanese refugee

    Worldwide, the refugee recognition rate for Sudanese is nearly 70 percent. Out of the 10,000 in Israel, not one has been granted refugee status. By Elizbaeth Tsurkov The State of Israel recognized just over 200 refugees ever since it signed the Refugee Convention in 1954, but none of them are Sudanese nationals. You read it right - Israel hasn't recognized even one of the survivors of the Darfur genocide or the ethnic cleansing in the Nuba Mountains or Blue Nile regions as refugees. The recognition rate of Sudanese nationals as refugees is one of the highest in the world: 68.2 percent…

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  • The other ‘1 percent’: On refugees and Passover

    When we look around us this Passover, we are not the ones in need of protection, and we are not the ones escaping slavery. Somehow Israel has missed this role-reversal. Text by Rebecca De Vries and Natasha Roth Photos by Karen Zack Freedom of movement and the right to liberty do not apply to anyone who is not a citizen or resident. So spoke the Knesset's legal representative at a High Court hearing on the Prevention of Infiltration Law at the beginning of this month. The statement adequately summarises the attitude of the Israeli government - and much of the…

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  • A Passover lesson: 'And then we were free'

    By Eli Valley Eli Valley is a writer and artist whose work has been published in New York Magazine, The Daily Beast, Gawker, Saveur, Haaretz and elsewhere. Eli is currently finishing his first novel. His website is www.EVComics.com and he tweets at @elivalley.

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  • PHOTOS: 24 hours outside Holot 'open' detention center

    African asylum seekers converge on the Holot 'open' detention center to demand the release of those held there, and call for a comprehensive solution for their community. Photos and text by: Yotam Ronen, Oren Ziv and Tali Mayer/Activestills.org African asylum seekers from different cities in Israel held a two-day protest outside Holot detention center in the Negev, on February 17-18, 2014. Around 500 African immigrants gathered outside the center to call on Israeli authorities for the release of all people imprisoned under the Prevention of Infiltration Law, and find a comprehensive solution for the asylum seeker community. The detainees of Holot joined the demonstration…

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  • PHOTOS: Right-wing activists disrupt Eritrean mourners

    Right-wing activists intentionally disrupt memorial ceremonies held in a public park by Eritrean immigrants. Police arrest two neighbors who attempt to intervene. [Comment added below] Every Saturday, African asylum seekers from the Eritrean community gather in a small park on De Modina Street in the Shapira neighborhood of south Tel Aviv. There, they hold memorial ceremonies for the loved ones who have died in Eritrea or in Sinai while on their way to Israel. For years, these ceremonies have taken place every week with no sound system or speeches - just people sitting and crying together. This week, right-wing activists from…

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  • Between Tel Aviv and Holot: Open jail splits refugee family

    Six years after he fled Eritrea for Israel, Aman has found himself living in Holot - an 'open detention center' built by the Israeli government for African asylum seekers. His wife and his daughter, on the other hand, were left behind in Tel Aviv and are not permitted to live with him. By Ayla Peggy Adler  When Aman, who has been sitting in Israeli prisons for over two years, was moved to the new Holot “open detention center,” he was told he was no longer a prisoner, but a resident.  That got him thinking. “If I’m a resident, then my…

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  • PHOTOS: African asylum seekers renew protests with sit-in

    Protest leaders vow to continue their struggle until a solution is found. Some 1,000 maintain sit-in at Levinsky Park. Photos by: Oren Ziv, Tali Mayer, Keren Manor, Yotam Ronen / Activestills.org   A renewed asylum seeker protest entered its fourth day on Wednesday as 1,000 African asylum seekers maintained a sit-in at south Tel Aviv’s Levinsky Park. “The struggle didn't stop,” Walla News cited Darfuri asylum seeker and protest leader Mutasim Ali as saying, “it will continue until there is a solution.” Things are only getting worse for asylum seekers since the protests began, he explained, citing the large number…

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+972 is an independent, blog-based web magazine. It was launched in August 2010, resulting from a merger of a number of popular English-language blogs dealing with life and politics in Israel and Palestine.

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