Israel’s national lore tends to prefer the image of an economic miracle, where Jewish spunk and pluck made the desert bloom and gave rise to an unbeatable hi-tech industry. The reality, however, reveals a far different picture. A tiny exclusive Tel Aviv chef restaurant posted a warm message of support on Facebook for its beloved Eritrean cook, who is on strike this week. Another trendy Tel Aviv eatery posted a sign asking its customers to understand why it is serving food on disposable plates. According to Israel's state-run Channel 1 news, on the third day of strikes and protests by African…Read More... | 20 Comments
Seeking Asylum in Israel - Page 2
In an editorial published Tuesday, 'The Jerusalem Post' accused left-wing NGOs of bringing African asylum seekers to Israel in order to undermine the state's Jewish majority. By accusing the Left of such Machiavellian tactics, the Post's editorial board is, quite simply, inciting against those whose political views it disagrees with. By Natasha Roth The Jerusalem Post saw fit to publish what is ostensibly a critical editorial about the recent protests by African asylum seekers in Israel on Tuesday, but which amounts to little more than a poison-pen letter to the country's left-wing NGOs. Using the familiar trojan horse of the demographic…Read More... | 10 Comments
African asylum seekers held a press conference Tuesday in south Tel Aviv, where they announced that they will continue their "Strike For Freedom" until further notice. Representatives of the community from Sudan, Eritrea and Central African Republic spoke in both Hebrew and English about why they have been on strike and holding protests, and outlined their demands. The speakers at the press conference all repeated several messages: that the African refugee community is made up of human beings fleeing slavery, danger and war; they are not scary, as the government likes to portray them; the protests are non-violent; there are…Read More... | 17 Comments
The Jerusalem Post, which has a history of unbelievable editorials, has done it again. "The world's leading Jewish paper" claims that the arrival of African refugees is part of a conspiracy by left-wing NGOs, meant to undermine the Jewish majority in Israel. Don't look for proof for those claims; even JPost admits that there is none. Here's the money quote: Many of these NGOs are striving to undermine the character of Israel as a Jewish state by fighting to keep as many African migrants as possible in Israel and by encouraging more to come. But they rarely declare their true…Read More... | 11 Comments
Photos & reports: Keren Manor, Yotam Ronen, Tali Mayer, Shiraz Grinbaum, Oren Ziv / Activestills.org Thousands of African asylum seekers and their supporters marched from Levinksy Park in Tel Aviv's south on Monday to protest outside of eight foreign embassies, calling on the international community to support their struggle against Israel's asylum policies. Marching to the American, British, Swedish, Italian, Canadian, Ethiopian, French and German embassies, the asylum seekers called on the foreign governments exert pressure on Israel to examine their asylum claims and stop arresting and detaining members of the refugee community. The asylum seekers also marched to the United Nations Refugee Agency,…Read More... | 1 Comment
African asylum seekers are holding their second of a three-day national protest. On Monday, thousands of asylum seekers, most of whom are employed by hotels and restaurants, went on strike and held large rallies in front of Western and African embassies. The protesters are calling on the international community to make sure Israel respects its commitments under the UN Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, thus ensuring that the Israeli government ceases rounding up and imprisoning asylum seekers without trial, and that it releases inmates already held under the revised anti-infiltration bill. In a press release sent on Sunday , the protest…Read More... | 20 Comments
In an unprecedented protest, some 20,000 African asylum seekers march to Rabin Square to demand that Israel examine their asylum claims and stop arresting and detaining members of the refugee community. Over 20,000 asylum seekers, mostly from Eritrea, assembled in Tel Aviv's Rabin Square Sunday morning to demand recognition as refugees. Across Israel, asylum seekers went on a three-day strike, and more protests were planned. In recent weeks, the government stepped up the arrest and imprisonment of African asylum seekers who entered the state without permits. Several months ago, Israel's High Court of Justice struck down a law authorizing the state…Read More... | 30 Comments
In protest of new law authorizing indefinite detention and a wave of roundups in south Tel Aviv, asylum seekers declare general strike and three days of protests. Thousands of African asylum seekers met in a south Tel Aviv park Saturday night to plan a three-day general strike protesting Israel’s asylum and immigration policies. Their central demands are an end to the practice of indefinitely detaining asylum seekers and that Israel individually examine their requests for asylum and refugee status. Read: Asylum seekers claim a place on the Israeli political map Currently Israel does not examine the asylum claims of Sudanese…Read More... | 8 Comments
When a group of Jewish Israelis set out for the Holot 'open prison' in the Negev, they were hoping to sing Christmas carols to the asylum seekers. But by the time they got there, the things they saw and heard made it clear that there was nothing to sing about. By Ayla Peggy Adler When asylum seekers from Eritrea and Sudan walked out of the Holot prison last week, they walked out of obscurity. Until then, even people like myself who had been involved in their community six years ago when they first arrived to Israel—and who, three years later,…Read More... | 45 Comments
Photos by Activestills, text by Haggai Matar Over 6,000 African asylum seekers and Israeli activists hit the streets of Tel Aviv for a silent march to protest Israel's immigration policies Saturday night. The protesters called for the release of all refugees imprisoned under the revised "anti-Infiltration Law," which permits indefinite detention in an "open" facility, and demanded recognition of their rights as refugees. The demonstrators marched with candles and signs while others brandished the official numbers given to them by the government. One Eritrean asylum seeker was seen walking alongside an Israeli who, as a reserve soldier, caught him at the…Read More... | 11 Comments
In Israel's most vibrant demonstration ever to take place on the refugee issue, and in two bold escapes from an 'open prison,' African asylum seekers are starting to present themselves as a political force to be reckoned with. Saturday night was something like no one in Israel had ever seen before. It was supposed to be a small demonstration - a quiet march of several hundred Israeli activists and African asylum seekers, coming on the heels of two Marches for Freedom that took place earlier in the week (both of which were intercepted and suppressed by immigration authorities). Initially, it didn't seem…Read More... | 11 Comments
Photos: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org, Yotam Ronen/Activestills.org Text: Haggai Matar Approximately 2,000 African asylum seekers and Israeli activists marched from Levinsky Park in south Tel Aviv to Rothschild Boulevard Saturday night to protest the arrests that took place during two "freedom marches" earlier this week. They blocked major intersections in the heart of the city while chanting "freedom!" At least three protesters were arrested. Earlier this week, a group of approximately 150 asylum seekers went on a two-day "freedom march" from the Holot "open prison" in Israel's south to the Knesset in Jerusalem. Upon their arrival, the group was arrested, placed on…Read More... | 4 Comments
The past two Israeli governments successfully turned the issue of African asylum seekers into a threat posed by infiltrators, who were subsequently criminalized. A short examination of the country's history with infiltrators, however, can give us some important insights. By Eitan Bronstein Aparicio Interior Minister Gideon Sa’ar, who’s in favor of expelling refugees from Africa, devised a catchy slogan - “A country of all its infiltrators” – in order to condemn those who defend asylum seekers in Israel. By using that concept he is trying to show the absurdity of those who support giving refugees asylum and rights - because nobody…Read More... | 23 Comments
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