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Pre-army students to Netanyahu: Stop deportation of refugees

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.

African asylum seekers participate in a silent demonstration in front of the African Union office in Tel Aviv, calling for international support in their struggle for recognition as refugees, January 22, 2014. (photo: Oren Ziv, Yotam Ronen/Activestills.org)

African asylum seekers participate in a silent demonstration in front of the African Union office in Tel Aviv, calling for international support in their struggle for recognition as refugees, January 22, 2014. (photo: Oren Ziv, Yotam Ronen/Activestills.org)

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.

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 strongly encouraged by the government, which included jailing asylum seekers in Holot prison) to a policy of forced deportation of asylum seekers from Sudan and Eritrea to Uganda and Rwanda.

The letter was sent by students at the Telem pre-military academy in Jaffa who recently visited Holot, where they met with asylum seekers and heard their stories. Since their visit, the students at Telem have moved to other pre-military academies, where they have taught classes about the situation in Sudan and Eritrea. “At the end of the lessons, we took down people’s contact information, and now that it was revealed that they are trying to deport asylum seekers, we turned to the same people and got their signatures for the letter,” says Shira Levi from Telem.

Among the signatories are all the students at Telem, most of the students at Minsharim Kalo in Kibbutz Ma’agan Michael and students from other pre-military academies from across the country.

Here is a portion of the letter:

“Over these past months, the Administration of Population and Immigration has been initiating a change in policy, according to which asylum seekers from Sudan and Eritrea will be forcibly deported to a third country under a shroud of secrecy. This move has no global precedent, especially from a democratic country that has signed on to the 1951 Convention and Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees, not to mention a country whose history is one of refugees. This decision does not secure the protection of the asylum seekers in the slightest, and prevents them from securing their rights to life and safety.

“We call on the Israeli government to immediately check asylum seekers’ refugee requests as agreed upon in the Convention and according to international standards. Our hope is that especially at this time, when we mark Holocaust Remembrance Day, the government will learn the necessary and human lessons, and will not remain apathetic to the murder happening in front of our eyes in the asylum seekers’ home countries.

“The government of Israel must immediately cease its humiliating treatment of asylum seekers. We demand it checks requests for refugee status and not send them to danger and death in their home countries by turning them, once again, into refugees and endangering their lives.”

Read this article in Hebrew here.

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    1. Pedro X

      Since when are economic migrants refugees? Only when they come to Israel?

      In March 2015, the British Home Office prepared a Country Information and Guidance report on Eritrea. The report says as a general rule Eritreans do not face persecution or harm if they return home. A recent Danish report found that 90% of Eritreans are not dissidents who face harm if they go home.

      Yet hard leftist websites like 972mag represent these economic migrants as refugees. Ben Dror Yemini notes that Yonatan Jakubowicz, director of public relations at the Israeli Immigration Policy Center, claims that the recent reports prove that human rights groups continue to mislead the public and that we are dealing with economic migration.

      Ephraim Zuroff of the Simon Wiesenthal Center said correctly in 2007 about the Sudanese migrants:

      “Israel can’t throw open the gates and allow unlimited access for people who are basically economic refugees,”

      He further noted that many Sudanese fled to Egypt and then because of tough economic conditions in Egypt decided to come to Israel. He said:

      “Their desire to enter Israel was motivated primarily by the difficult living conditions and bleak economic prospects in that country,”

      A leading lawyer in Israel, Yochi Genison, who is defined as the “primary [jurist] responsible for professional guidance to all lawyers [working in] immigration,” is the most senior official at the State Attorney’s office who deals with the sensitive issue.

      And as Genison makes clear, Israel’s steps to reduce the illegal immigration problem are justified; the migrants are not legitimate asylum-seekers.

      “We need to understand the real story here,” she stated. “This is not about refugees fleeing for their lives, but institutionalized smuggling networks.”

      “There has formed a complete industry based on human trafficking, smuggling humans living in Africa who seek to make a living in Europe and Israel,” she continued. “And the vast majority of coming to Israel are not asylum seekers, but people who already found protection in Third World countries who choose to continue to work in Israel and settle there.”

      The vast majority of these migrants are not refugees and should not be treated as if they were.

      Reply to Comment
    2. John Farmer

      It is encouraging to see Israeli youth Honoring an commitment made to International Law and Order. Troll be gone*

      Reply to Comment
    3. Joel

      Can we deport the Sudani day laborer who stole my heirloom jewelry?
      Can we deport the Eritreans I witnessed stealing wallets on Dolphin Beach?

      Political refugees my fucking eye.

      Reply to Comment
      • Ben

        Love these right wingers with the exquisite sense of justice and outrage about theft when it’s their stuff stolen and the alleged perp is a black guy from Eritrea, but are all relaxed and easy and forgiving about theft in the West Bank when the perp is a white Jewish guy from Brooklyn or Chisinau.

        Reply to Comment
        • Ricky Rocket

          Why the blood hell are you babbling about? Do you have evidence that Joel or anyone else who posts,here stole anything?

          Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            Consider not drinking before you post.

            Reply to Comment