When I meet Jack outside the “Holot” desert detention facility in southern Israel, currently home to some 1,900 asylum seekers from Sudan and Eritrea, the first thing he wanted to tell me is what bothers him about the Israelis that come to visit him and his friends. “Not many people come to visit us at Holot. The few that do come — they help us, and that’s great. But that is not going to change our situation here in Israel. We expect every Israeli to try and affect change through the political system — specifically, the government’s policy toward us, the…Read More... | 16 Comments
Six ways the Israeli government is intentionally making the lives of asylum seekers unbearable. By Elizabeth Tsurkov Since 2008, the Israeli government has been implementing several policies whose purpose is to make the lives of African asylum seekers miserable, in the words of former Israeli Minister of Interior, and to coerce them to leave Israel. Both Israeli and international law prohibits the state from deporting asylum seekers to their countries of origin, leading Israel to adopt the following policies that would compel asylum seekers to leave without forcibly deportation: [tmwinpost] 1. Denial of basic rights: Since 2008, asylum seekers who…Read More... | 18 Comments
A theater troupe made up of both asylum seekers and Israelis puts on their debut performance — and lets the audience choose the ending. Text and photos by Oren Ziv / Activestills.org Nearly 1,000 asylum seekers and Israelis arrived at Holot detention center on Saturday to watch the premier of a play put on by the Holot theater troupe just outside the facility. The play — directed by Avi Mughrabi and Chen Alon, which includes refugees jailed in Holot as well as Israelis — tells the story of Eritrean asylum seekers. The actors depict the escape from forced labor in Eritrea,…Read More... | 1 Comment
The Ugandan government officially denies claims it has signed an agreement with Israel, whereby it would absorb forcefully deported Eritrean and Sudanese asylum seekers. The Israeli government has resisted calls to divulge the details of the agreements it had allegedly signed with 'third countries.' Government officials in Uganda deny there is any agreement with Israel on the deportation of asylum seekers into the country, according to the Hotline for Refugees and Migrants, citing Ugandan daily New Vision. In the report, published Tuesday, Uganda's Permanent Secretary for Foreign Affairs James Mugume is quoted as saying: "Neither the minister [of internal affairs] nor…Read More... | 5 Comments
Video by extremist Sunni group shows execution of three Eritrean asylum seekers coerced into leaving Israel last year. At least three Eritrean asylum seekers who lived in Israel and were deported to a third country were executed by Islamic State militants in Libya this past week, according to family and friends who recognized them in a video released by the extremist Sunni group. The Hotline for Refugees and Migrants is checking the possibility that additional Eritreans deported by Israel were also executed. [tmwinpost] "I recognized my relative, T., from the photos published by ISIS that appeared on Facebook before the…Read More... | 33 Comments
Over 130 students from pre-military academies send a letter to the prime minister, calling on him to learn the lessons of the Holocaust and put an end to Israel's policy of deporting Sudanese and Eritrean asylum seekers. On the eve of Israel's Holocaust Remembrance Day, approximately 130 students in a pre-military academy sent a letter to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu calling on him not to deport asylum seekers to countries where they would face danger. [tmwinpost] The letter was sent in the wake of several reports that revealed the State's plan to change its policy from "voluntary repatriation" (a policy…Read More... | 6 Comments
Israel's leaders are proud of themselves for deporting asylum seekers, while the state continues to trample over their rights and deceive them. What have we come to? By Moran Mekamel On Tuesday, it was announced that the government is planning to forcibly deport Eritrean and Sudanese asylum seekers to "third countries." Those who refuse to leave will be jailed in Saharonim prison for an indefinite amount of time. This latest step is not wrapped in pretty words such as "returning by choice" or "benefit packages," whose goal is to cover up the government-sponsored horror show taking place here. Those behind the…Read More... | 13 Comments
One Ashkenazi leftist’s view of the post-election rumblings of class warfare between the "State of Tel Aviv" and the mainly Mizrahi periphery. Last Tuesday’s election saw Likud’s traditional popular base — Mizrahim in the poor, development towns and cities of the Negev and Galilee, and poor neighborhoods and suburbs of the central region — vote for Likud and Netanyahu in very big numbers. This caused a backlash among many Ashkenazi liberals who voted Zionist Union and Meretz. They’re saying they are through caring about the Mizrahi poor; let them go to Bibi from now on. This, in turn, has caused a counter-backlash…Read More... | 7 Comments
In an open letter, one of Israel's foremost refugee rights lawyers calls on the deputy attorney general to follow her conscience. By Asaf Weitzen Dear Deputy Attorney General Dina Silber: I am familiar with a bit of your academic work, including two books you authored and speeches that you give from time to time. You have demonstrated a deep commitment to basic rights and an understanding that the any government must be checked if and when it seeks to infringe upon basic rights. What I find incomprehensible is the disparity between those views and your intensive involvement in legislating the amendment…Read More... | 10 Comments
As part of a new online campaign Israelis are giving voice to African asylum seekers who have been silenced, locked up and forgotten. By Avi Blecherman If you’re a Hebrew speaker you’re probably asking yourself how your Facebook feed suddenly filled up with quotes from asylum seekers in the “Holot” detention facility. Well, it’s because a new online campaign called "Voices from Holot" launched Sunday, allowing you to to share any number of quotes collected from interviews with asylum seekers from Eritrea and Sudan, all of whom are imprisoned in the “Holot" and “Saharonim” prisons. A number of human rights…Read More... | 4 Comments
Human rights organizations pledge to challenge the latest iteration of the Prevention of Infiltration Law; new poll gives Livni and Labor a chance; Arab parties agree in principle to a joint list; High Court to hear Zoabi's challenge to Knesset suspension. Before disbanding itself ahead of elections, the Knesset on Monday passed its third try at a law that would keep open Israel’s detention center for African asylum seekers. The High Court of Justice struck down two previous versions of the law as unconstitutional and ordered the Holot open prison closed nearly three months ago. The law's fate fell into the…Read More... | 8 Comments
Yair Lapid and Tzipi Livni have one last chance to leave a positive legacy: make sure Israel doesn't continue the administrative detention of African asylum seekers who have committed no crime. There is little doubt that Yair Lapid and Tzipi Livni will be the biggest losers of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s decision to fire them from their senior government posts. After the coming elections Lapid will almost certainly find himself in the opposition heading a smaller party, while Livni will most likely find herself in political exile once again. But despite being kicked out the government, Livni and Lapid still…Read More... | 2 Comments
Far-right protest against High Court decision to close Holot detention center greeted by flower-bearing asylum seekers. Around 100 people, including far-right activists and residents of south Tel Aviv, protested Sunday night against asylum seekers and against the High Court decision to close the Holot detention center within 90 days. Some protesters, among them former extremist Knesset member Michael Ben-Ari and radical anti-miscegenation group Lehava's chairman Benzi Gupstein, waved black flags that said "High Court" on them, drawing the comparison between Israel's highest legal body and the Islamic State, or ISIS. Protestors marched to Levinsky Park, where several refugees awaited them with flowers in hand.…Read More... | 26 Comments
OUR WEEKLY NEWSLETTERSubmit
Full coverage of the BDS movement, international pressure on Israel to end the occupation.
The Beaten Path
Travel writer and tour guide Yuval Ben-Ami deconstructs the Holy Land's tourist trail.
On the challenges facing a growing population of asylum seekers and refugees in Israel.
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