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asylum seekers

  • Netanyahu exploiting south Tel Aviv's hardships to attack asylum seekers

    Netanyahu has asylum seekers right where he wants them. He can exploit the hardships of south Tel Aviv residents to continue inciting against the Supreme Court, the media, and human rights organizations. By Yossi Dahan After years in which Netanyahu did not set foot in south Tel Aviv, the prime minister came to the area last week for two visits. The first visit was highly publicized, and the second — with Interior Minister Aryeh Deri — was undercover. For Netanyahu, the timing of the visits was perfect: a week after Israel's High Court ruled that asylum seekers cannot be deported to third…

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  • Why is Israel refusing to teach African asylum seekers Hebrew?

    Israel’s ‘Holot’ detention facility for asylum seekers, which is intended to rob them of so much hope that they’ll leave the country, refuses to provide Hebrew lessons as part of its education program for detainees. The result is empty classrooms and a parallel, asylum seeker-run program. By Omri Du-Nour Israel’s desert detention facility for asylum seekers, “Holot,” has been controversial ever since it was first opened four years ago. The primary aim of the facility, as declared by then-Interior Minister Eli Yishai, who initiated its construction, was to drive African asylum seekers to a state of despair, so that they…

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  • This summer's wave of protests gives us reason to be optimistic

    From asylum seekers demanding their wages to protests against the Gaza blackout to raising awareness over disappeared Yemenite babies, this summer's protests give us every reason to stay optimistic about this place. It's hot outside. The Israeli summer often brings with it a new wave of social and political protests, and yet it looks like summer 2017 will be a special one. [tmwinpost] Since the social justice protest of 2011 — and its successors in the following years — there has been a sense that Israeli citizens have lost faith in their ability to influence, change, protest, and get results. Meanwhile, the strengthening of…

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  • 10 must-read articles for World Refugee Day

    A selection of articles and stories about asylum seekers and refugees in Israel on the occasion of World Refugee Day. (Full disclosure, I couldn't include just 10) It has been more than a decade since refugees from Darfur first began making the dangerous journey across the Sinai desert in order to seek asylum in Israel. Since those early years, Israeli society and successive Israeli governments have become increasingly hostile toward the asylum seekers from Sudan, Eritrea and elsewhere who sought safety and dignity in the country. On the occasion of World Refugee Day, here is a selection of articles about…

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  • PHOTOS: Thousands protest law punishing African asylum seekers

    African asylum seekers march through central Tel Aviv to protest a law that deducts 20 percent of their wages. Photos by Yotam Ronen / Activestills.org Over 3,000 Sudanese and Eritrean asylum seekers marched through central Tel Aviv Saturday night against a new law that docks 20 percent of their salaries, which will be repaid only when they leave the country. Marching alongside Israeli activists, business owners who employ asylum seekers, and residents of south Tel Aviv, the protesters chanted "We are refugees — not slaves!" as they walked through Rothschild Boulevard, the city's main thoroughfare. The members of Knesset behind…

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  • WATCH: African asylum seekers, Israelis stage play at detention center

    For the second time, a group of African asylum seekers and Israelis put on the 'Holot Theater' — a staged performance at the Holot detention center in southern Israel, where thousands of asylum seekers are being held without trial. Read more: PHOTOS: Asylum seeker theater troupe re-imagines life in Israel Photo diary: Inside 'Holot' detention center for asylum seekers

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  • Israel's new tactic for forcing out African refugees — dock their wages

    A new law compels African asylum seekers to deposit a fifth of their wages into a fund they can only access if they leave the country. It's just the latest in a long line of methods the Israeli government is using to push black asylum seekers out. By Noa Kaufman African asylum seekers in Israel will now have to deposit 20 percent of their salaries into a fund they will only be able to access if they leave the country, after an 2014 amendment to the Prevention of Infiltration law took effect on May 1. Their employers will also have…

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  • Israelis, treat us as humans — at least until we can go home

    The Israeli government continues to pass discriminatory laws against African asylum seekers, turning the Israeli public against us. But how could it be that Jews have forgotten the word 'refugee?'  By Monim Haroon A new law that went into effect starting on May 1 stipulates that the state will take 20 percent of asylum seekers' monthly salaries, and 16 percent from our employers, putting the money into a fund that will only become available to us the moment we board a plane that flies us away from Israel. If we refuse to leave the country, the Administration of Border Crossings, Population and…

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  • 'Israelis won't rent to us, they're disconnecting us from electricity'

    The Petah Tikva municipality disconnected dozens of apartments where African asylum seekers were living from electricity, the mayor doesn't like seeing black people in public, and casual racism has a common occurrence. Faisal, a refugee from Darfur, describes what it's like to live in a city where he is unwanted. By Yael Marom The following testimony was sent to us by Faisal, an asylum seeker who came to Israel in 2008, and who now lives in the Israeli city Petah Tikva after spending two years in Holot detention center in southern Israel. His testimony comes on the heels of a new…

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  • What will happen to Eritrean asylum seekers after Israel deports them?

    The Israeli government must not withhold information from the public about the dangers faced by Eritrean asylum seekers it is planning to deport. By Sigal Avivi Emanuel, an Eritrean asylum seeker whom Israel deported to Uganda half a year ago, agreed to take the risk of being interviewed on camera for one reason: he wanted the Israeli Supreme Court justices to look into his eyes as he told them what happens to asylum seekers who succumb to Israel's policy of pressuring them to “voluntarily” leave the country. [tmwinpost] Emanuel's desire to do this overcame his fears that should his filmed testimony fall into…

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  • Photography as protest in Palestine/Israel

    "Activestills: Photography as Protest in Palestine/Israel," edited by Vered Maimon and Shiraz Grinbaum, Pluto Press (2016) The first time I truly began to grasp the potency of photojournalism was on Tel Aviv's Rothschild Boulevard in June 2011. It was barely a few days after a group of young Israelis decided to pitch tents on the city's most recognizable thoroughfare, launching what would soon come to be known as the social protest movement. By the end of that first week, Rothschild began to look like a cross-section of Jewish Israeli civil society, with activist groups from every strain imaginable setting up…

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  • Israeli teens charged for brutally beating asylum seeker to death

    Darfuri asylum seeker Babikir Adham-Uvdo was beaten to death by two teenagers after he was allegedly seen speaking to a group of young women. Why aren't more Israelis talking about it? By John Brown* Emmett Till was an African-American teenager from Mississippi who was lynched on August 14, 1955 during a visit to his relatives. His murderers mutilated him and threw his body into the Tallahatchie River after he reportedly flirted with a 21-year-old white woman by the name of Carolyn Bryant. [tmwinpost] After they were were acquitted, Till's killers admitted to the crime in an interview, claiming that they did not believe…

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  • Keep Israel's militarism away from asylum seeker children

    Contrary to what some activists claim, Defense Minister Liberman's decision to forbid soldiers from volunteering with children of asylum seekers is a good one. By Dror Mizrachi Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman caused controversy this week when he acquiesced to requests by activists in south Tel Aviv and ordered the IDF chief of staff to stop soldiers from volunteering with asylum seeker children. The anger against Liberman was justified: volunteer work is a positive thing, especially when it is for the benefit of the weakest segments of society. But the question that needs to be asked is how, from the get go,…

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