In a move unprecedented in Western countries, Israel's outgoing interior minister announces plan to compel asylum seekers to leave the country. Israel's High Court has repeatedly struck down laws that authorized the indefinite detention of asylum seekers. Asylum seekers from Sudan and Eritrea will face deportation to third countries or face unlimited imprisonment in Israel under a new Interior Ministry policy set to be implemented in the coming days. Israel will provide asylum seekers 30 days notice, at the end of which, if one refuses to leave, they will face indefinite detention, according to a statement released by the ministry's…Read More... | 15 Comments
The Supreme Court recently ordered that the rule of law be enforced when it comes to Tel Aviv shuttering businesses on the Sabbath. But the court is inconsistent with its own demands, only ordering that 'the law is the law' when it's convenient. These are confusing times. Our friends don't know what to think, and opinions on Facebook are mixed. We are here to analyze things honestly and, as always, though the most important prism – the prism of migration. Last week the Supreme Court ruled that the Tel Aviv-Jaffa Municipality's policy of not enforcing the municipal bylaw barring the…Read More... | 6 Comments
Israel's judges rarely question whether the Interior Ministry may not actually be an expert on immigration matters, or whether it might be making decisions without asking the right questions - even when someone's life is on the line. The courts generally accept any, or nearly any, factual claim provided by the Interior Ministry regarding individuals whose requests for status in Israel were rejected. Judge Daphne Barak Erez's dissenting opinion in the verdict recently handed down by the Supreme Court reveals (a small portion of) the techniques used by the Interior Ministry to review facts. The dissenting opinion, presented in light…Read More... | 2 Comments
Since it began processing requests itself, Israel has approved only one asylum request, an albino girl from the Ivory Coast. Now the RSD unit is recommending that another albino asylum seeker be recognized as a refugee. Spread the word – albinos of Africa unite and come to Israel, you'll be recognized as refugees here. On the other hand, if you're black Africans, you'll find nothing here. Breaking news: the Interior Ministry's Refugee Status Determination (RSD) Unit, which deals with asylum seekers, will recommend – for the third time in three and a half years – that an individual be recognized as a…Read More... | 6 Comments
The Interior Ministry declared Sanait Tesfauneh, an asylum-seeker from Eritrea, a 'threat to public security' and placed her in administrative detention after she was suspected of purchasing a forged work permit. Now, several organizations are attempting to challenge the detention system that deprives asylum seekers of their civil liberties. Victor Hugo's Les Misérables was published in 1862. Over the years the book became the most famous indictment against the treatment of the weak by society, authorities, and the law. Hugo tells the tale of Jean Valjean who was unable to find work to support his family, so he smashed a…Read More... | 16 Comments
The Interior Ministry, which processes applications for asylum, is by now well-known in Israel and the world for its lack of credibility. But it has a friend in the courts. We have discussed in the past the ways that the Supreme Court rules on refugee-related matters without any reference to refugee law. Since then, many similar decisions have been taken, and if it seems that we neglected to report on these rulings, it’s because they have become, in our eyes, trivial – courts are disinterested in refugee law. Judges purport to rule in accordance with international law without bothering to…Read More... | 11 Comments
Dear Honorable Minister, Following coalition negotiations, free of Natan Eshel and other evils, you will be sworn in as Israel's interior minister. Having seen the hardships faced by a number of Israel's interior ministers, let us give you three recommendations to ensure that your tenure is pleasant: 1. Don't let lawyers shape policy for you. As we are afflicted with the severe defect of legal thought and reasoning, let us assure you that the lawyers around you will always try to take the reigns to determine policy and dictate your conduct, under the guise of legal advice (sometimes in the…Read More... | 2 Comments
The distortions in Israel's asylum system ensure a refugee recognition rate of zero. Not only does this place asylum seekers at risk, but it exposes what appears to be a concerted effort to overhaul the system so as to deport as many people as possible. In an article written a decade and a half ago, Dr. Sandy Kedar described the manner in the 1950s in which the courts participated in the national project to take over land held by Palestinians. This transpired through a series of rulings that altered the laws pertaining to the statute of limitations on acquisitions, as…Read More... | 3 Comments
In its response to a petition filed by human rights organizations and six African asylum seekers, the State Attorney's office said today that the government has not made an official decision to arrest Sudanese refugees. The reply also said that Interior Minister Eli Yishai, who stated publicly that asylum seekers have until October 15 to leave the country on their own accord, spoke without government authorization. According to the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, one of the organizations that filed the petition in hopes of preventing the state from detaining asylum seekers: The State Attorney emphasized in its reply…Read More... | 1 Comment
Despite the fact that the child, born to migrant workers in Israel, has lived her whole life here and is integrated into the public school system, the Interior Ministry applied its rigid deportation criteria for the first time since the postponement period on deportations ended - and without even providing the father with the chance to properly depart from his child In my current capacity as foreign media coordinator for the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), I worked on a story yesterday that seems more like a movie than real life. Tuesday night, a Filipina woman who has been living…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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