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  • On left-wing NGOs and asylum seekers, 'Jerusalem Post' is all doublespeak

    In an editorial published Tuesday, 'The Jerusalem Post' accused left-wing NGOs of bringing African asylum seekers to Israel in order to undermine the state's Jewish majority. By accusing the Left of such Machiavellian tactics, the Post's editorial board is, quite simply, inciting against those whose political views it disagrees with. The Jerusalem Post saw fit to publish what is ostensibly a critical editorial about the recent protests by African asylum seekers in Israel on Tuesday, but which amounts to little more than a poison-pen letter to the country's left-wing NGOs. Using the familiar trojan horse of the demographic threat Africans pose…

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  • Despite landmark High Court ruling, asylum seekers are only cautiously optimistic

    Monday's High Court ruling provided a major blow to the state's attempt to hold asylum seekers in detention. However, despite the decision, asylum seekers are still not entitled to basic benefits such as health insurance, social services, housing and the freedom to work. By Elizabeth Tsurkov Refugees in Israel reacted with delight to the news of the nixing of the Anti-Infiltration Law by the High Court of Justice. Under the law, nearly 1,700 asylum-seekers, most of them Eritreans, are currently detained under the law in either the Saharonim or Ktziot internment camps in the Negev. All asylum seekers who entered Israel…

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  • Cracks in the detention regime: Refugee advocates see string of court wins

    Although the Israeli government is actively pursuing a detention regime meant to snare as many asylum seekers as possible, some recent legal victories provide a ray of light during an increasingly dark time for asylum seekers and refugees in Israel.  By Noa Yachot and Adi Lerner The last year hasn’t been a good one for refugees and asylum seekers in Israel – or for those advocating on their behalf. Since an amendment to the Prevention of Infiltration Law was passed in January 2012, almost all change in the field of refugee rights has been for the worse, with the nascent…

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  • Court prohibits detention of Sudanese refugees days before mass arrests begin

    A Jerusalem court issued a temporary injunction on Thursday, prohibiting the detention of Sudanese refugees. The group was slated for arrest and forced transfer to a prison camp in the Negev desert beginning on October 15. The court's move comes in response to an October 3 petition, filed by the Clinic for Migrants’ Rights at the Academic Center of Law and Business, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), the Hotline for Migrant Workers, ASSAF Aid Organization for Refugees and Asylum Seekers in Israel, the African Refugee Development Center (ADRC), and Kav La’Oved, as well six African asylum seekers. The petition was filed against Interior…

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  • Police distort crime data, inciting violence against refugees

    By Sigal Rozen Several Sudanese and Eritrean nationals were recently arrested in two separate cases involving the rape of Israeli women and the murder of an Eritrean woman. The media extensively covered these horrible crimes, followed by a long line of politicians quoting frightening police claims that Africans account for 40 percent of Tel Aviv’s crimes. Those politicians are led by Interior Minister Eli Yishai, who dared to say in an interview this week that most "African infiltrators are criminals." The press similarly reported in early May that “asylum seekers are involved in 40 percent of crimes,” relying on police…

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  • NGO threatened with arson and violence for helping Africans

    A human rights organization that assists foreigners received threats of arson and rape within hours of Interior Minister Eli Yishai's remarks that African asylum seekers are "infiltrators" and most are "criminals" who "damage the Zionist project." The NGO has filed an incitement complaint against Yishai. The Hotline for Migrant Workers received three phone calls yesterday from unknown individuals who threatened to burn the office and seemed to threaten sexual violence against volunteers and employees. The calls came less then three hours after Yishai's remarks on Army Radio. According to the Hotline, the first caller asked, "Is this the hotline that…

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  • South Sudanese get last-minute reprieve from deportation

    On Thursday, a Jerusalem District Court judge issued a temporary injunction preventing the Ministry of Interior from revoking the group protection of South Sudanese. The move effectively delays the deportation of South Sudanese refugees, which was set to begin today. Families, including Israeli-born children, are among those facing deportation to South Sudan. Human rights organizations say thousands of South Sudanese face expulsion; the number cited at a recent protest against the deportation was 700. The judge, Yigal Marzel, issued the order in response to a petition filed by the Aid Organization for Refugees and Asylum Seekers in Israel (ASSAF), the African Refugee…

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  • Knesset passes draft law to criminalize paying for sex

    Spearheaded by Kadima Cabinet member Orit Zuaretz, a draft law was recently passed making the solicitation of a sexual act a criminal offense. First brought to the table in 2009, this law received its first green light on the path to becoming official. Under this law, first time offenders will be sent to an educational program while second time offenders can be sentenced to up to six months for visiting prostitutes. This law follows the ‘Nordic model’, which was pioneered in Sweden and has since been adopted by many European countries. Until now, prostitution has been legal in Israel; however,…

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  • Proposed law would indefinitely jail refugees seeking protection

    Israel was created 64 years ago by refugees and for refugees. But despite its young age, the state seems to suffer from memory loss when it comes to dealing with the refugees who seek its protection today. By Sigal Rozen The Refugee Convention is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year. The young State of Israel was one of its enthusiastic supporters, hurrying to sign and ratify it, thereby legally binding itself to the convention's principles. During the 60 years that have passed, Israel has not legislated a refugee law, and all attempts made to that effect by Israeli human rights…

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  • Israel policy myth #3: trying to stem a flood of migrants

    To justify draconian and inhumane measures against refugees, the Israeli government claims the country is flooded by work migrants from impoverished countries. The facts do not bear this out, to put it mildly. In Israel today, there are two classes of immigrants. One is composed of those who come under the Law of Return, which supposedly grants automatic citizenship for Jews and their immediate relatives (the myth surrounding this law will be discussed in the final installment of this series). The second class is composed, well, of everyone else. How do they fare? Quite badly, in fact. Children who have…

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  • Court ruling forbids deportation of migrant workers who gave birth

    Under the current policy, a pregnant worker would be deported either after the sixth month of her pregnancy if she is not currently employed, or once she gives birth if she is employed. Justice Jubran: The regulation "isn't becoming of a democratic state." By Elizabeth Tsurkov In a landmark ruling, the Israeli High Court of Justice declared last week that the Israeli government's "pregnant worker regulation" is "unconstitutional", "disproportional and therefore unreasonable" and "must be abolished". The regulation entails deporting female migrant workers once they have given birth and allowing their re-entry only if they leave their child behind. The…

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