The Sudanese refugee community in Israel watched ecstatically as long-time dictator Omar al-Bashir was deposed. But there’s a catch. Listen to the latest episode of The +972 Podcast. Listen here: iTunes/Apple Podcasts | Google Play | Spotify "The uprising in Sudan did not start a couple of months ago, it started years ago," says Mutasim Ali, one of the leaders of the Sudanese refugee community in Israel, who fled Darfur and arrived in Israel in 2009. For Ali and the approximately 7,000 Sudanese asylum seekers in Israel, al-Bashir, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide in Darfur, is the…Read More...
Israeli officials often imply that African asylum seekers sent to Rwanda will receive legal status and the ability to build a life there. Testimonies collected in a new report paint an entirely different — and much grimmer — picture. “I saw 400 people [in the Mediterranean]. They drowned […] many children died, I remember. I don’t have the strength to talk about it.” “[In the Sahara] people died and we buried them […] At night it returns to our head. It returns. I don’t want to remember. It wakes me up, what I saw, people dying, no food.” "[In Uganda] they…Read More... | 2 Comments
The Israeli government has begun the first stages in its planned deportation of African asylum seekers. Refugee activists and advocates are preparing to fight it. The start of the new year marked the first stages of the Israeli government's plan to deport the roughly 40,000 asylum seekers, most from Eritrea and Sudan, currently living in Israel. The government announced in early January that asylum seekers have three months to leave the country; those who remain in Israel after the three months will face a choice: deportation or prison. [tmwinpost] The Population and Immigration Authority also announced that it was recruiting additional inspectors to carry out…Read More... | 3 Comments
Fifty years on, Martin Luther King Jr.’s words resonate more than ever: those who are silent are all part of the problem. It is they who have allowed Israel to neglect south Tel Aviv and to condemn asylum seekers to torture and death. By Sapir Sluzker-Amram On January 15, Americans observed Martin Luther King Day, marking 50 years since the civil rights leader was shot and killed in Memphis, Tennessee. The struggle for equal rights in the United States was not won in court but in the streets — by people who had had enough of the status quo and organized to effect change. In 1965, the…Read More... | 6 Comments
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…Read More...
Six years after he fled Darfur for Israel, Mutasim Ali, one of the leaders of the asylum seekers' struggle in Israel, has been granted refugee status. Ali: 'Now I can live a normal life with dignity.' By Yael Marom Mutasim Ali was in the middle of his law school class when he learned that he would become the first Sudanese asylum seeker to be granted refugee status in Israel. According to the announcement, which was sent by fax to Attorney Asaf Weitzen, who represents Ali on behalf of the Hotline for Refugees and Migrants, Interior Minister Aryeh Deri had decided to…Read More... | 2 Comments
In an open letter, one of Israel's foremost refugee rights lawyers calls on the deputy attorney general to follow her conscience. By Asaf Weitzen Dear Deputy Attorney General Dina Silber: I am familiar with a bit of your academic work, including two books you authored and speeches that you give from time to time. You have demonstrated a deep commitment to basic rights and an understanding that the any government must be checked if and when it seeks to infringe upon basic rights. What I find incomprehensible is the disparity between those views and your intensive involvement in legislating the amendment…Read More... | 10 Comments
Nearly 1,000 African asylum seekers walked out of Israel's 'open' detention facility last week, saying they were headed to a strip of UN-controlled territory along the Egyptian border. This is the story of their march -- full of hopes, determination and desperation. Encampment air hangs hot and still. Under a dry canopy of Eucalyptus it swaddles the crowds of Sudnese and Eritrean asylum seekers who make temporary beds here, some 300 meters from the Israeli-Egyptian border. Hassan Abdaiiah Adam, a 30-year-old asylum seeker from Darfur, passes thick fingers over the yellow whistle that he wears around his neck. He has…Read More...
Sadiq al-Sadiq was returned to Israel earlier this month after finding himself being sent -- against his will -- back to Sudan, from where he fled persecution and genocide. Sadiq is just one of hundreds or thousands of Sudanese who have been pressured to leave Israel. Interior Minister Gideon Sa'ar, who is responsible for the asylum seeker population in Israel, has made it clear that he intends to empty the country of African asylum seekers. "If we treat this [problem] like liberals, we'll lose the country," he has said in the past. Earlier this month, one Israeli activist confronted Sa'ar…Read More... | 4 Comments
This week: remembering Darfur, asylum seekers in Belgium, refusing military service, tear gas in Nil'in, Bedouins face demolitions in the Negev, Palestinian prisoners go on hunger strike, housing struggles in Israel, and Ethiopian Jews protest discrimination.Read More...
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... | 11 Comments
Refugees’ fear of arrest, torture, and death should be sufficient justification for their inability to return their countries of origin. So why is the Israeli government refusing to grant African refugees asylum status? A personal story. By Guy Josif and Anna Rose Siegel For the past three weeks, tens of thousands of African refugees in Israel, along with Israeli activists, have participated in demonstrations, hunger and labor strikes, and continual political engagement in opposition to intensified efforts by Israeli officials to detain refugees without due process. In response to these actions, Prime Minister Netanyahu stated that these people are not refugees,…Read More... | 5 Comments
With Holocaust Remembrance Day upon us once again in Israel, I am republishing a piece I wrote four years ago. I’ve decided not to make any changes because not that much has changed and the spirit of the piece remains true to today. This year, I dedicate it to the people of Syria, may someone or something stop the slaughter and suffering of our neighbors. As a "second-generation Holocaust survivor," Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day) has always been of great importance to me; its lessons were etched into my conscience from the earliest times in my childhood memories. The words, “never…Read More... | 83 Comments
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