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Holot

  • Netanyahu's gift to anti-deportation activists

    Netanyahu inadvertently told the entire country that there is a better alternative to his policies. Now that the alternative is within reach, the work of anti-deportation activists will become easier. The terrible thing about Netanyahu’s UN deal, and its subsequent cancellation on Tuesday, is that behind the political flip-flopping are people — thousands of families wavering between joy and despair, buffeted by decisions over which they have no influence. Political drama in Israel is addicting, but those most affected by it are human beings. When an advisor whispers in Avigdor Liberman’s ear that a harsh response to Palestinian protesters will…

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  • In lead-up to mass deportation, Israel closes Holot detention facility

    For the past four years, asylum seekers and their supporters have demanded that the Holot detention center be shut down. Now it’s finally happening, but not at all how they envisioned. The Israeli government shut down the Holot detention facility, the open-air, desert detention facility built for African asylum seekers, on Wednesday after four years of operation. More than 13,000 asylum seekers were imprisoned in Holot without trial over the course of its operation, as part of the Israeli government’s efforts to force African asylum seekers out of the country. [tmwinpost] The hundreds of asylum seekers who remained in Holot…

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  • Pushed out by Israel, asylum seekers find only limbo in Uganda

    By Oren Ziv KAMPALA, Uganda — “Why should Uganda take in the people Israel doesn’t want?” asks Ssemujju Ibrahim Nganda, a Ugandan member of parliament who joined us in a cafe in central Kampala. “If they’re being sent by the UN, they’ll be treated like all refugees, in a temporary manner because of the problems in their countries,” Nganda continues. He insisted on meeting us, after hearing that a small delegation of Knesset members was visiting his country from Israel. “Uganda will not become a dumping ground that whoever thinks they cannot host people — that you throw them in…

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  • Hundreds of asylum seekers march to desert prison to protest deportations

    Hundreds held in Israel's desert detention facility march to nearby Saharonim Prison after seven asylum seekers were transferred and imprisoned there indefinitely — for refusing to leave the country.  By Oren Ziv / Activestills.org Hundreds of asylum seekers detained in Holot, Israel’s desert detention facility for African asylum seekers, marched to nearby Saharonim Prison on Thursday after seven asylum seekers were imprisoned there for refusing to be sent an unnamed country in Africa, widely presumed to be Rwanda, as part of a “voluntary” deportation program. The demonstrators chanted “We are refugees not criminals,” “We are human beings,” “Bring back our brothers,” “Stop the…

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  • Israel to deliver asylum seekers to the hands of human smugglers

    Even as it invokes the Holocaust at every turn, Israel is feeding the people who most need its protection to a brutal human smuggling industry. In doing so, it becomes an active player in the worst migration crisis since the Jewish people’s near-extinction. Exactly one decade ago, liberal Israelis were boasting of their government’s treatment of the refugees who had recently begun entering the country, largely from Sudan. In the face of the genocide in Darfur, Jewish organizations all over the world had enlisted to move the international community to act. Israelis got on board, motivated by what Haaretz’s Bradley Burston…

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  • The Holot detention facility was a moral failure from day one

    Holot was meant to hide the fact that the State of Israel sees African asylum seekers as enemies, as a demographic threat, as a foreign body to be expelled at any cost. It is expected to close in the coming months.  By Omri Du-nour The Israeli government’s recent decision to close the Holot detention center in the next few months should not surprise anyone who has followed the country's treatment of the African asylum seekers. Holot, built by exploiting a loophole in the law, was always under threat of closure, it’s legal status murky from the beginning. [tmwinpost] Moreover, Holot exemplifies…

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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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  • The redundancy of Israel's 'Jewish Nation-State Law'

    The Israeli government is pushing a law that would force judges to prioritize Israel’s Jewish character over democratic principles. But that has always been the case. The “Jewish Nation-State Law,” which is currently making its way through the Knesset as a proposed Basic Law – the closest thing Israel has to a constitutional amendment – would require the High Court to prioritize Israel’s Jewish nature over democratic principles in its rulings, according to Haaretz. [tmwinpost] The bill asserts that the justices of the highest court in the land must interpret Israeli law with the understanding that the right to self-determination in Israel…

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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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  • WATCH: African refugees rally against Israel's deportation policy

    With Israel's Supreme Court set to rule on Israel's policy of deporting African asylum seekers to countries where they face danger and even death, hundreds of refugees gather in Jerusalem to demand their right to protection. Read more: What will happen to Eritrean asylum seekers after Israel deports them? Despite dangers, Israel sending asylum seekers to home countries

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  • Netanyahu’s wall isn’t about immigration — it’s about race

    Netanyahu's recent boast that he has stopped all illegal immigration to Israel isn't quite true: his southern border wall is only aimed at preventing black people from entering Israel irregularly. By Asaf Calderon The United States is on fire. After two weeks in office, President Donald Trump has already managed to sign a series of Executive Orders that have sparked massive protests. Chief among them are the new ban on immigration into the U.S. from Muslim-majority countries and the order to begin construction of the long-promised “giant wall” on the border with Mexico. While thousands of Americans flooded to protest at…

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  • PHOTOS: Hundreds of African asylum seekers protest Israel's deportation policy

    Hundreds of African asylum seekers gathered outside the Israeli Supreme Court in Jerusalem on Thursday in order to protest the government's deportation policy, which the court is currently deliberating. Hundreds of African asylum seekers, mostly Eritreans and Sudanese, demonstrated outside the Supreme Court in Jerusalem on Thursday in protest at the government's proposed deportation policy. The court is currently deliberating a petition against the policy, which would expand and formalize the government's existing practice of deporting asylum seekers to "third countries" — such as Uganda or Rwanda — where they receive no protection, and from where they are often forced to…

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