Contrary to what some activists claim, Defense Minister Liberman's decision to forbid soldiers from volunteering with children of asylum seekers is a good one. By Dror Mizrachi Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman caused controversy this week when he acquiesced to requests by activists in south Tel Aviv and ordered the IDF chief of staff to stop soldiers from volunteering with asylum seeker children. The anger against Liberman was justified: volunteer work is a positive thing, especially when it is for the benefit of the weakest segments of society. But the question that needs to be asked is how, from the get go,…Read More... | 2 Comments
It seems the authorities did everything they could to separate a married Eritrean couple who fled their home country and sought refuge in Israel. By Ofer Attar Meet Awat and Ksenet, asylum seekers from Eritrea who also happen to be a married couple. The state is currently trying to separate them and send Awat to jail. [tmwinpost] After his mother passed away from an illness and his father was killed in the Eritrean-Ethiopian War, Awat, at the age of 16, became an orphan responsible for raising his four younger siblings. He was a gifted soccer player, and as a teenager…Read More... | 3 Comments
Israel is imprisoning thousands of African asylum seekers in a desert detention facility called ‘Holot.’ A group of students and youngsters from Be’er Sheva, in southern Israel, recently organized a soccer tournament with the asylum seekers in an attempt to make them feel less isolated. Israeli authorities systematically deny the Sudanese and Eritrean asylum seekers any chance of getting refugee status, leaving them without any legal status in the country, and often detaining them without charge or trial. Read more on the situation of refugees and asylum seekers in Israel here.Read More... | 4 Comments
Cleaning services are being promoted to potential clients in north Tel Aviv with a flyer that prices its cleaners according to their ethnic origin. The advert also refers to its employees in the feminine only. A service provider offering cleaning and housekeeping in north Tel Aviv has taken the term "human resources" to a whole new level, distributing a flyer that prices its cleaners according to their ethnic origin. [tmwinpost] The advert, which was distributed in one of Tel Aviv's most affluent areas, was first posted on Facebook by political blogger Tal Schneider, who was given the flyer by an…Read More... | 4 Comments
Asylum seekers have long complained about the half-cooked food in Israel's Holot detention center. African asylum seekers held in Israel's Holot detention center staged a walkout from the cafeteria on Saturday night to protest the half-cooked food served at the facility. [tmwinpost] The asylum seekers walked out just as dinner was being served, instead deciding to congregate outside the cafeteria. Only one detainee remained inside. Detainees at Holot have long complained about the food, which they claim is inedible. The daily menu in Holot includes hummus, tuna, four slices of bread and an uncooked egg. T.G.A., one of the asylum seekers…Read More... | 1 Comment
Activestills selects the most powerful, important and moving images of 2015 — in chronological order. Photos by: Oren Ziv, Ahmad al-Bazz, Yotam Ronen, Faiz Abu-Rmeleh, Keren Manor, Hosam Salem, Ezz Zanoun, Anne Paq, Shiraz Grinbaum Editing: Anka Mirkin, Merieke Lauken / Activestills.orgRead More...
It’s been exactly 10 years since I crossed the border into Israel. I’ve been imprisoned, I've become ill, I was forced to renew my visa 62 times, and now I’m back in a detention facility — Holot. Is seeking asylum a crime? By Hassan Rahima This Sunday marked 10 years since I applied for refugee status in Israel. I’ve been waiting since December 6, 2005, the day I crossed the border from Egypt. My journey into the unknown continues. I was 17 years old when my village, Smasm, in the South Kordofan province of Sudan’s Nuba Mountains, was attacked. Most…Read More... | 6 Comments
Drivers entering Jerusalem this week were greeted by an unusual message, which activists hope will jump-start a public discussion about the Israeli government's treatment of refugees. By Raanan Shemesh Forshner A group of activists from Jerusalem altered the official sign at the entrance to the city this week so that anyone driving in saw an unusual message: “Welcome refugees.” The addition of “refugees” was removed after a few hours. [tmwinpost] “We felt like we had to do something for the wellbeing of asylum seekers,” the activists explained. “Dozens of asylum seekers have been killed on Israel’s southern border in recent weeks,”…Read More...
An Israeli court upholds the government’s policy of indefinitely imprisoning African asylum if they don’t agree to ‘voluntary deportation’ to third countries with no legal status. The xenophobia driving Israel's policy is top-down, but there is another way. By Anat Ovadia-Rosner The Be’er Sheva District Court rejected a petition filed by human rights organizations earlier this month, thereby green lighting the indefinite imprisonment of asylum seekers unless they agree to leave Israel for a third country. The term “voluntary deportation” has always described a dubious state of affairs: people who risked their lives to get to Israel, whom the state…Read More... | 37 Comments
The Israeli media shares some responsibility for the hysteria on the streets and the phenomenon of ‘accidental’ attacks against Jews, Palestinians, and now Eritreans. By Hagar Shezaf Habtom Zerhom, an Eritrean asylum seeker, was shot by security forces and then lynched by Israelis in Beer Sheva’s bus station after being mistakenly identified as a terrorist on Sunday. Moments later, Habtom’s identity was revealed, leaving many puzzled: the man who was accused of being the second assailant in a deadly gun attack didn’t match the profile of those behind the latest round of violence between Palestinians and Israelis. The Eritrean community,…Read More...
Activists, asylum seekers and refugee advocates in Israel are pointing to the incitement directed toward African asylum seekers — by politicians, state institutions and the media — as necessary context for the vigilante mob and shooting that killed an Eritrean asylum seeker. An Eritrean asylum seeker was mistaken for a Palestinian during a shooting attack at the Be’er Sheva bus station Sunday night. Habtom Zarhum, 29, was shot by a security guard who thought he was a terrorist and then – as the asylum seeker lay bleeding on the ground – civilians kicked him, cursed and spat on him. A bystander…Read More... | 2 Comments
One by one, day by day, Europe is closing its gates to refugees desperately searching for a way in. Confused, exhausted and frightened, at times they don’t even know what country they are in. Two Activestills photographers follow refugees as they make their way toward Germany. Photos and text by Keren Manor & Mareike Lauken / Activestills.org The train rolls to a stop at a small town on the Hungarian border town, Hegyeshalom. Some 1,500 refugees, the vast majority of them from Syria and Afghanistan, descend and start marching along the tracks in silence. Outside the train station and alongside the…Read More... | 4 Comments
When refugee migration was confined to Turkey and Greece, European leaders stood silent. Now, as hundreds of thousands of refugees stream into Western Europe, those same leaders are being compelled to act. Despite media alarm over a 'humanitarian crisis,' only a political solution will remedy the situation. 'We need the borders to remain open.' By Shahar Shoham (translated by Gila Norich) BUDAPEST — When visiting Budapest's central train station two days prior, I noticed only a scant number of journalists; this despite the presence of thousands of refugees, hundreds of children among them, living on the streets — some for longer…Read More...
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