Tens of thousands of people seeking asylum have journeyed to make their lives in Israel, many having heard of its democratic system and treatment of refugees. Currently, 43,000 Africans live in Israel having fled persecution in countries like Sudan and Eritrea, having made their way through Sinai to reach Israel. Most of them live in the Tel Aviv area.
The Israeli government, however, has labeled them ‘infiltrators’, and many have been subject to sustained periods of detention. Unlike most other countries, even veteran asylum seekers, people who have been living and working in Israel for many years, can be taken into detention at any time.
Refugees and people seeking asylum are among the most disadvantaged and discriminated against sector in Israel. The lack of certainty around their legal situation, relatively low incomes, and poor access to healthcare and welfare services makes them uniquely in need of support.
Spotlight: Hotline for Refugees and Migrants
The Hotline for Refugees and Migrants is Israel’s leading organisation advocating for the rights of people seeking asylum and refugees, working to advance vulnerable individuals, particularly those in detention, to uphold their rights.
Over the years, the Hotline has aided and represented people seeking asylum through its important walk-in clinic. It has also led major petitions before the High Court of Justice that has seen the government’s ‘Anti-Infiltration Law’ overturned three times.
In addition, Hotline’s impact litigation has secured the release from detention of countless people. It has also achieved refugee status for a number of people seeking asylum, which has served as community-wide precedents, thereby changing the lives of thousands of people.