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  • PHOTOS: Asylum seeker theater troupe re-imagines life in Israel

    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 / 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,…

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  • Asylum seeker who left Israel: 'I believed them when they said I could stay in Uganda'

    The following is a redacted version of an affidavit that was attached to a petition filed by Israeli human rights NGOs and the Tel Aviv University Refugee Rights' Clinic against the recently announced policy of indefinitely incarcerating Eritrean and Sudanese asylum-seekers who refuse to leave Israel for Rwanda or Uganda. Under a new policy announced on March 31, 2015, asylum-seekers detained in Holot will be offered to leave Israel for an unnamed third country. If they refuse to do so, after 30 days, they would be incarcerated in Saharonim prison. Dozens of Eritrean asylum-seekers in Holot have since undergone interviews in…

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  • The origins and politics of Israel's refugee debate

    An in-depth look at the historical and political developments that shaped Israel’s current African asylum-seeker crisis — and one way to resolve it that meets Israel’s own needs while doing right by those who most need its protection. African asylum seekers in Israel have brought their struggle into the limelight in recent weeks. Through acts of civil disobedience, public protests and a mass labor strike, the mostly Eritrean and Sudanese nationals are attempting to shift the public discourse surrounding their presence in the country, gain access to a credible process in which they can seek asylum, and challenge a new…

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  • Portraits: Detained African asylum seekers in Israel

    The faces and stories of African asylum seekers indefinitely detained at 'Holot,' Israel's new 'open' prison. Project by: Oren Ziv/, Hotline for Refugees and Migrants This portrait series was taken outside of the Holot prison for African asylum seekers in Israel's Negev desert. Israeli authorities refer to Holot as an 'open facility' because its detainees can leave for a few hours at a time. Prior to their transfer to Holot on December 12 and 13, 2013, all the subjects photographed were held under administrative detention in the "Saharonim" and "Ketsiot" Israeli prisons for periods of more then 18 months. Under current…

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  • Fresh attack on Eritrean pub vandalized in anti-immigrant riot

    A firecracker was hurled into an Eritrean bar in south Tel Aviv late Saturday night, the latest incident in mounting violence against the African asylum seeker community in Israel. On Eritrean customer was injured in Saturday night's incident. The bar, located in the Hatikva neighborhood of Tel Aviv, has been the target of several attacks in recent months, most notoriously on May 23, when a demonstration against the growing African population in Israel turned violent. The bar was one of several refugee-owned properties that were damaged, its windows smashed and contents looted. Read more on that night's events here. Sigal…

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  • Israeli coalition members speak about refugees

    MK Miri Regev, Likud (Video): The Sudanese are a cancer in our body. MK Yulia Shamalov Berkovitch, Kadima (Ynet):  All human rights activists [who protect the Africans] should be imprisoned and transported to camps we are building. Interior Minister Eli Yishai, Shas (Maariv): Muslims that arrive here do not even believe that this country belongs to us, to the white man. (...) Do you know that many women in Tel Aviv were raped and are now afraid to report [it to the police] so that won't be seen as AIDS carriers? Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: The breach of our borders by…

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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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Illustrations: Eran Mendel