We need to take urgent action to help refugees in Israel

The sustained Israeli government pressure on refugees has taken a new turn: asylum seekers are now being forcibly deported to Rwanda.

At first, asylum seekers were denied the right to work. Then they were locked up in Manus-style detention centres in the Negev.

Having fled persecution, genocide and some of the most despotic regimes in the world, the 35,000 asylum seekers in Israel are now being sent to Rwanda against their will.

Some of the asylum seekers who have already left under similar policies have been lied to and sent back to danger in Sudan. Others were placed in detention or found in torture camps. Three were killed by Islamic State in Libya while trying to make their way to Europe to seek asylum.123

Can you help us fund a $20,000 grant to provide assistance to asylum seekers in Israel?

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Refugee organisations have seen a 200% increase in requests for assistance. They’re putting on additional staff to try to get as many asylum requests processed as possible.

Despite promising to process asylum applications, the Israeli government has continually stalled. While virtually all Eritreans are given refugee status in Europe, only 0.1% were successful in Israel, a result of the government’s desire to drive asylum seekers out of the country.

One of the organisations we are making a grant to is the Hotline for Refugees and Migrants. They’re adding two more staff members to their clinic, which has a long track record of helping asylum seekers with applications for refugee status, getting them out of detention and preventing deportation.

With the Israeli government moving quickly to deport refugees, we need to move just as fast to counter it.

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As a people who were once refugees, and were once strangers in a strange land, we believe we have a special obligation toward refugees, whatever their religion or race.

We will continue to fight for the rights of asylum seekers and refugees as enshrined in the International Refugee Convention and in Jewish law and values, and to allow those asylum seekers already residing in Israel to live in dignity until it is truly safe for them to return.

Thanks for all that you do.

  1. As Israel prepares to deport African migrants, deportees divulge dangers - Times of Israel
  2. Torture, Death at Sea: What Awaits Asylum Seekers Israel Deports - Haaretz
  3. NGO: 3 killed by IS in Libya had sought asylum in Israel - Times of Israel