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S. Tel Aviv residents protest against African asylum seekers

Approximately 50 south Tel Aviv residents protested last night against the  presence of African asylum seekers in their neighborhoods.

Protesters waved Israeli flags and held signs that read “I voted for Bibi and I got screwed,” “We want a solution here and now,” and “Bibi, you asked [for us] not to take the law into [our] hands. What have you done?” Another sign punned on the Hebrew word for minister (sar) to declare Interior Minister Eli Yishai a “Tzar” who will face “Judgment Day.”

The group marched to the police station in Jaffa and called on the state to deport African refugees.

Protesters wear surgical masks to symbolize their belief that Africans carry contagious diseases (photo: Mya Guarnieri)

Some of the demonstrators wore surgical masks. Protesters explained that they were meant to symbolize that Africans carry contagious diseases, a claim Yishai made in 2009.

The protest was smaller than previous demonstrations of its kind, giving the impression, perhaps, that things have quieted down. But there have nonetheless been isolated incidents of violence against African asylum seekers in recent weeks. In early June, following the May 23 race riots in south Tel Aviv that left dozens of Africans injured, a Sudanese refugee was attacked in south Tel Aviv. According to the Hotline for Migrant Workers, the injuries were so severe the man had to be hospitalized.

Less than two weeks ago, a Jerusalem apartment that is home to Eritrean refugees was set on fire. Two people were injured in the attack, including a pregnant woman.

Israel is home to around 60,000 African asylum seekers, a majority of whom have fled to Israel from Eritrea and Sudan. The state is currently deporting South Sudanese and Yishai and other government officials have vowed to rid the country of Africans. A massive prison camp for Africans is currently being built in the south of Israel.

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    1. Berl

      these 2 women in the pic are really disgusting

      Reply to Comment
    2. mose

      it such a shame labeling africans cary contegeous diseases is recist in nature,remember you more jews people scattered all over over the world than africans . dont forget ur history .

      Reply to Comment
    3. Kozinsky

      You realize the consequences of all this Afro-Bashing?

      a) Jews everywhere will be seen as elitist racists who only pretend to be Liberal in a Christian European/American context.
      b) The Holocaust will have been cheapened to the point no one cares. Indeed it will be seen as cheap cynical manipulation – No more emotional blackmail.
      c) The notion of Jews pretending to be Liberals when in fact they are playing a delaying tactic so the Zionist project can keep rolling on.
      d) If Nazis do come to power again, no one will care what they say about Jews ruling Europe and America because of how they treated the African refugees and Palestinians.
      e) Noam Chomsky and Einstein will be seen as all the more remarkable to have come from an intolerant petty racist culture…as displayed by Israelis.

      Reply to Comment
    4. Jack

      That pic is indeed disturbing, if that pic was posted in a western newspaper and the treatment and attacks on blacks, surely the support for Israel would be reduced definately.
      Intrestingly Israel and Sudan recently struck many deals, apparently the leadership in Sudan (South) care little about its people.

      Reply to Comment
    5. Susan

      There was a time Jews were refuges fleeing atrocitiesin the country they left ,floating on a boat till they were GIVEN a home and refuge.

      Reply to Comment
    6. Netta

      As a nation that hold the holocaust so dear, to treat others with the same contempt that our grandparents received is disgraceful.
      Deportation centers which now exist all over the world, are more than inhumane.

      Reply to Comment
    7. Kanadi

      One thing I find incredible is how, according to the official hasbara history of Israel, Palestinians were so terribly at fault for rejecting the Zionist project instead of embracing it, after all the Jews were going through. The same people turn around and declare that it’s THEIR country, and no goddamn refugee is going to have one single inch of it. Can you imagine the rhetoric if the Africans claimed a historic right to the land, and began organizing to buy up as much land as possible, organizing militias to defend it, and the UN declared its intentions to give them a freaking homeland in Israel? Jews would go ballistic. There would be riots and massacres. And yet according the the official history, all the Jews ever wanted was a home of their own and to live in peace and security, and the Palestinians should have just shut up and quietly acquiesce to their sorry fate without raising so much as a peep.

      If Israel wants to be a real country in the real world, it has to do its part. It has signed the refugee convention of 1951. Hell, it practically WROTE the refugee convention of 1951 – refugees show up at your doorstep, you allow them to seek asylum, and while you asses their claim you give them basic rights and services. Right now Israel gives Eritreans and Sudanese (90+ percent) group protection, allowing them nothing other than to not be deported. This is a tacit admission that if they did assess their claims, they would find them valid. Why else would they not do it?

      Reply to Comment
    8. Shimon Ovad

      Sorry but what are they doing in israel? Let them go to europe or other african countries. We have made it clear we dont want them, yet they keep on coming. Its their own fault. They obviously have no self respect or dignity, why else impose themselves on others? Just leave, you will never be welcomed in israel.

      Reply to Comment
    9. DaBkr

      I’d like to know what proof the author has that these two girls were wearing masks to “symbolize” anything. In the article she claims the interior minister was being protested and that it was he that made the comment about africans and disease. (this statement-taken in or out of context-at least can be attributed) How do we know these girls arent protesting what the minister said. what an amatuer. No backup source no proof of anything. She is strictly preaching to the +972 peanut gallery and we all know you posters like to play in your own litter box

      Reply to Comment
    10. Kanadi


      Palestinians made it clear that they didn’t want Jews in the early 20th century, I suppose under your logic they should have just stopped coming eh? “What are they doing here, these white invaders?” they asked. Why impose themselves on us?

      The Africans are refugees. The Israeli government knows their asylum claims are legitimate, which is why they have no policy in place to hear the claims of 90+ percent of them. They signed the refugee convention, which means that if they hear the claims and they ARE legitimate, they must grant them permanent residence. In the rest of the world, between 80-95 percent of Eritrean refugees are granted asylum when their claims are heard.

      To be very clear, Shimon, your personal opinion or anyone’s does not matter one bit. Israel has a responsibility as a nation in the community of nations do take in refugees when they show up. It can reneg on it, sure, but then it has absolutely no moral ground to stand on – If Canada tomorrow were to turn on its Jews, say they’ve had enough with us, and try to send us back to Poland, you would have no moral leg to stand on in your outrage.

      Reply to Comment
    11. feka

      Shamon I believe the Palestinians feel the same way about you, or is it only Israelis who are allowed to say these racist things and it be okay. Palestinians probably think, “Sorry but what are they doing in israel? Let them go to europe or other african countries. We have made it clear we dont want them, yet they keep on coming.
      Its their own fault. They obviously have no self respect or dignity, why else impose themselves on others? Just leave, you will never be welcomed.” Oh wait is that attitude not allowed when refering to your ethnic group, but it’s okay to say about other groups.

      Reply to Comment
    12. Vadim

      I find SHIMONs remark disgusting and stupid.

      Regardless – you’re assuming that most of those people are asylum seekers or refugees. How do you know? My basic assumption is that they simply seek work, to allow a better life for their families. There’s nothing morally wrong here – but there is also nothing morally wrong in deporting illegal immigrants (just like other countries do). Is your data based on facts or do you simply assume they are all refugees because it’ll make Israel look bad?

      Had there been less of them, checking the claims of true asylum seekers would have been much easier.

      Regarding violence, you make it look as if peaceful Africans suffer daily from brutal attacks of Jews. Which is far from the truth. There are areas in Tel Aviv which became frightening to walk at nights, where police is afraid to enter, where citizens suffer daily robberies, rapes and harassment by Africans.

      How did you put the Holocaust in this? Every country deports illegal immigrants, but everything Israel does is racist or reminds the holocaust?

      Reply to Comment
    13. joel

      I saw the demonstration too. A few adults leading a few youths carrying limp signs.

      There were so few demonstrators that I had to do a double take and make sure it wasn’t a bus stop queue.

      First, all the Eritreans need to be rounded up and sent to detention centers on unused IDF bases. There, they should be housed, fed and trained; literacy, construction, agriculture, etc.
      They should be also receive extensive military training.
      Finally, they should be moderately armed and flown down Eritrean border and sent home, a united, disciplined, educated and motivated civilian corp.

      The Eritrean government wouldn’t dare attack an armed ‘peace corp’ of returning civilians.

      Reply to Comment
    14. dankr, see the sentence from above: “Protesters explained that they were meant to symbolize that Africans carry contagious diseases, a claim Yishai made in 2009.” the demonstrators said that’s why they were wearing the masks.

      Reply to Comment
    15. Dregen Jelencovich

      Shimon, should you decide to join the exodus of your lot (which is happening on a daily basis) and you end up at the gates of my country, I’ll take personal pleasure in saying “just leave. you are not welcome in my country”


      Reply to Comment
    16. Kahalani

      People angry at illegal immigrants…who are responsible for making South Tel Aviv unsafe…big shocker!

      Reply to Comment
    17. kahalani: you should check out this article about african asylum seekers’ crime rates, which are remarkably low, standing at approximately 2 percent. http://972mag.com/police-distortion-of-crime-data-encourages-rising-violence-against-refugees/46236/

      south tel aviv has been an unsafe area for decades, due to government neglect. veterans of the south tel aviv neighborhood of kfar shalem recall setting up their own patrols because the state did not assign enough police to the area.

      Reply to Comment
    18. kahalani: i deleted your other comment regarding where i have published as it was totally off topic. and that info appears in my bio which is on the top, right side of the page… so your comment was also redundant. best, mya

      Reply to Comment
    19. Kahalani

      The Africans are in Israel ILLEGALLY, so they should not be committing any crime at all, as they shouldn’t be there in the first place. You can debate the merits of Israeli immigration law, but right now, the law exists as it is, and it is being broken.

      While statistically their crime rate may be lower, all their crime is focused in South Tel Aviv…unlike the general Israeli population. Hence, popular anger.

      Reply to Comment
    20. kahalani: wrong again. african refugees might enter the country illegally but once they’re here, they actually get state-issued visas. so, no, they are not in israel illegally. as for the claim that “all their crime is focused in south tel aviv”… while south tel aviv IS home to a large population of africans, it is not THE only HOME. african refugees live in other places around the country. so, no, “all their crime” does not take place in south tel aviv. the sad truth is that south tel aviv’s residents have suffered from neglect for years. but, rather than addressing their issues, the state is using the african refugees as scapegoats and has been particularly effective at whipping up anti-african sentiment.

      Reply to Comment
    21. Shai

      Population in Israel: 7 million
      Amount that wore surgical masks: 2 people

      Amount of time 972mag spent on the actions of 2 people: More than it should.
      972mag’s purpose: To demonize Israelis.

      Reply to Comment
    22. joel

      I’m in South Tel Aviv right now and see African migrants from my window.

      No one bothers them here.

      Reply to Comment
    23. joel

      Hey Mya,

      Just this evening, on Banana Beach, I witnessed three Eritrean asylum seekers steal the wallets and cell phones of some bathers.


      I really needed to get drawn back into that urban crime cesspool.

      Reply to Comment
      • Geoff

        Hey Joel, I guess its appropriate to assume this racist protest was led by only two girls in masks because Mya only published one picture, but also safe to take your word for it that these ghettoized Sudanese who supposedly stole from some people are the reason for your “urban crime cesspool”. Yeah, nothing biased or ignorant there.

        Reply to Comment
    24. ..::bEEp::..

      Making refugees and asylum seekers into enemies. So pathetic and cowardly.

      Reply to Comment
    25. Disgusted

      The Africans are being scapegoated by Israel’s extreme right government so Israelis won’t pay attention to how they are being ripped off on behalf of wealthy and corporate interests. The occupation of the West Bank and the military siege on Gaza are more examples of this.

      Reply to Comment
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