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…Read More... | 10 Comments
The faces and stories of African asylum seekers indefinitely detained at 'Holot,' Israel's new 'open' prison. Project by: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org, 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…Read More... | 7 Comments
Some 150 Sudanese asylum seekers jailed in the Saharonim prison began an open-ended hunger strike on Sunday. The prisoners, all of whom took part in the March For Freedom last month and were taken back to the facility, announced they would continue to strike until their release. Since Sunday, prison authorities have isolated the hunger strikers, and today four of the leaders were transferred from Saharonim prison to a Be'er Sheva jail. This following is the letter they wrote to the Israeli public. Read +972's full coverage of asylum seekers in Israel Hunger strike for freedom and human rights To the Israeli…Read More... | 16 Comments
The 150 men walk six hours through the Negev desert in bid to reach Jerusalem, are currently in Be'er Sheva and rebuffing authorities' offer to bus them back to the 'Holot' open prison facility that opened late last week. Text by Michael Omer-Man Photos by Yotam Ronen, Oren Ziv, Shiraz Grinbaum/Activestills.org Roughly 150 Sudanese asylum seekers left a new 'open prison' and walked six hours to Be'er Sheva in a mass act of civil disobedience protesting their continued detention without trial and demanding recognition as refugees on Sunday. The asylum seekers were transferred to the new facility, “Holot,” in recent…Read More... | 14 Comments
Respected Israeli journalist Ben Caspit recently launched an attack against African asylum seekers in Israeli national newspapers 'The Post' and 'Jerusalem Post.' A response to the racist incitement and damaging factual inaccuracies. By Natasha Roth and Leah McDonnell A recent article in The Post's Sof Hashavua magazine, which was subsequently translated into English and published in The Jerusalem Post, addressed the topic of asylum seekers in south Tel Aviv. Unfortunately for all concerned, the piece was extraordinarily inflammatory and heavily speculative. Additionally, a great deal of the information used to support the arguments put forward in the piece was factually and…Read More... | 4 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
A Jerusalem court issued a temporary injunction on Thursday, prohibiting the detention of Sudanese refugees. The group was slated for arrest and forced transfer to a prison camp in the Negev desert beginning on October 15. The court's move comes in response to an October 3 petition, filed by the Clinic for Migrants’ Rights at the Academic Center of Law and Business, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), the Hotline for Migrant Workers, ASSAF Aid Organization for Refugees and Asylum Seekers in Israel, the African Refugee Development Center (ADRC), and Kav La’Oved, as well six African asylum seekers. The petition was filed against Interior…Read More... | 2 Comments
Activists believe the deportation of South Sudanese will most probably not lower the number of African migrants in Israel, and it is also a direct violation of Israel's obligations under international commitments. Israeli authorities have begun arresting dozens of African migrants, as reported by +972's Mya Guarnieri. It is the latest in an effort to crackdown on individuals who over the years have entered the country illegally. The move comes despite a court order that the government allow them one week to turn themselves in voluntarily. The one week period expires on Thursday. The government hopes to deport an unspecified number…Read More... | 8 Comments
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…Read More... | 7 Comments
UPDATE: At the end of the Knesset hearing Tuesday, MK (Kadima) Yulia Shamalov Berkovtich said that "All human rights activists should be imprisoned and transported to camps we are building," referring to a facility now being constructed in the south to hold African refugees. She referred to those aiding refugees as "hypocrites" that incite against Jews. After the controversy in which Likud MK Miri Regev denied (documented) footage of her calling Sudanese a "cancer," National Union MK Michael Ben-Ari defends use of the term at Knesset special hearing. On Tuesday morning, the Knesset Committee on Internal Affairs and the Environment…Read More... | 27 Comments
Just a week after an Israeli threw Molotov cocktails at four apartments that are home to African refugees and an African kindergarten in the Shapira neighborhood of South Tel Aviv, another residence has been attacked with firebombs. Two Molotov cocktails were hurled at the home of Nigerian immigrants in the HaTikva neighborhood in South Tel Aviv on Saturday night, according to Maariv (Hebrew). The firebombs did not penetrate the structure, which is located near the HaTikva market. No injuries were reported and no arrests have been made in connection with the incident. The 20-year-old Israeli who was arrested in connection…Read More... | 7 Comments
A video of a gun-wielding IDF soldier swearing he would disobey orders not to shoot Palestinians and Sudanese created a stir in the Israeli blogosphere. The video turns out to be a hoax - but it still teaches us something of how such attitudes are perceived by local audiences. Over the weekend, a short Youtube video (above) became a hit over the Israeli Twittersphere and Facebook. The video was uploaded on May 25th 2011, at he height of the storm that followed the breach of the ceasefire lines under Majdal Shams. It begins with the strident tone of the IDF…Read More... | 1 Comment
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On the challenges facing a growing population of asylum seekers and refugees in Israel.
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Film review: The unending Nakba - three generations of stateless Palestinians search for home http://t.co/lTh64UG5f3
PHOTOS: Inside Israel's 'Holot' detention center for asylum seekers, by @activestills http://t.co/TXuKTYqVfK http://t.co/kcnnE6G1UE
Is the Israeli media pitting the longtime residents of south Tel Aviv against African asylum seekers? http://t.co/udCHxoLG5r
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Palestinian and proud: Celebrating International Women's Day in #Gaza, by @Abeerayyoub http://t.co/PEEHETVGj1 http://t.co/TVeGqPH581