Urgent action: Israel to jail 15,000 Sudanese refugees on Oct 15

Update 10/13: A judge has ordered a temporary injunction prohibiting the round up, following a petition by six Israeli human rights NGOs.

Eli Yishai, Israel’s Interior Minister, said about the 60,000 Africans seeking asylum in Israel that  ”Until I have the option of expelling them, I will imprison them and make their lives miserable.”

Expulsion isn’t a viable option for the international condemnation that would erupt if Israel sent thousands of people back to war-torn regions. Instead and to appease racist incitement, Netanyahu’s government passed a law that allows for illegal entrants into the country to be jailed for three years without a trial. And on October 15, MK Yishai intends to start first with 15,000 asylum seekers from Sudan.

This from the North American coalition of individuals fighting this inhumane procedure, Right Now: Jewish Americans Advocating for African Asylum Seekers in Israel:

Please join our October 15th campaign by making a call, sending an email, or sending a fax to the following departments of the Israeli government every day until October 15th. The Interior Minister, Eli Yishai, plans on rounding up and detaining 15,000 Sudanese asylum seekers in Israel if they do not “voluntarily” leave by then. 

Hello, my name is _____________ and I live in _____________. I am calling from the Right Now coalition of Jewish Americans Advocating for African Asylum Seekers in Israel. I would like a few minutes of your time. I’m calling to express my deep concern about your plan to round up and detain 15,000 Sudanese asylum seekers on October 15th. I strongly encourage you rescind this plan. Jews and Rabbis across America are deeply upset by the Israeli government’s policies in dealing with some 60,000 African Asylum seekers. It is not a Jewish value to “oppress a stranger.”

Offices to Contact (do as many as you can):

1)    Defense Minister: Ehud Barak

Secretariat Division 03-6976483/4 03-6975241

2)    Minister of Foreign Affairs, Avigdor Liberman & Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon


Tel. 972-2-5303111
Fax 972-2-5303367

Foreign Ministry Consular Department-Irit Shneor


3)     Embassy of Israel to the US-Michael Oren
Tel: (202) 364-5500


4)    Interior Ministry-Eli Yishai

Joseph Edelstein Interior Ministry JosephEd@piba.gov.il

Complaints Department of Immigration and Population Authority
Fax: 02-6294750
Phone: 02-6294701/2 from 13:00 to 15:00
E-mail: info@moin.gov.il

Filed under Israel, Social Justice

7 Responses to “Urgent action: Israel to jail 15,000 Sudanese refugees on Oct 15”

  1. In every photo of these ‘asylum seekers’ I’ve ever seen the percentage of males is overwhelming. Do African countries have some sort of anti-male policies I’ve never heard about?

    Of course if these ‘asylum seekers’ were simply economic migrants that would explain the disproportions. And there’s no law anyone has agreed to that requires any nation to accept economic migrants.

    Dave Boxthorn · October 6th, 2012 at 8:14 pm
  2. That would be the same Eli Yishai who represents thousands of Haredim who make absolutely no contribution to society (apart from producing more mouths to feed) and who will inevitably be responsible for Israel’s economic collapse within a generation.

    Jeff · October 7th, 2012 at 8:00 am
  3. What would be the most desirable course of action for Israel to take regarding these refugees? Where might cooperation be sought. While we complain to the Israeli government about this, should we American Jews perhaps also be reaching out to our senators, congressmen, and president to offer to offer them safe haven?

    Rich · October 7th, 2012 at 10:29 pm
  4. Boxthorn, the Birthright trip that I led in 2010 visited a refugee shelter in Tel Aviv and I asked the same question about the preponderance of men. The answer: “The women don’t survive the walk.”

    That said, my partner is a social worker in a Eritrean women and children’s shelter. See here CNN’s coverage of the abuse and rape women experience at the hands of Sinai smugglers: thecnnfreedomproject.blogs.cnn.com/2012/09/26/stand-in-the-sinai-now-online/

    Rich, the recommendations of African asylum groups is pretty minimal and very simple. “Right Now” advocates the following:

    1) Develop a fair Refugee Status Determination procedure that allows for each individual to apply for asylum and provides protection and support for refugees in line with all other Western democratic countries.

    2) Change its deportation process asylum seekers are not deported and so that they have ample time to prepare for deportation after undergoing Refugee Status Determination.

    3) Cease to build the massive detention center in the Negev desert that arbitrarily imprisons asylum seekers indefinitely.

    Our recommendation for Israel’s RSD policy and procedure:

    Right Now supports an immigration policy in which, through a fair and effective Refugee Status Determination process, the case of each individual asylum seeker is researched and heard resulting in the determination of refugee status on a case-by-case basis. We recommend that Israel create a quota system in which at least 2,500 refugees per year are provided with permanent or long-term temporary residency and awarded support services as refugees in line with the Refugee Convention, including the right to work, the right to an education, the right to health services, and the right to travel freely in and out of the country.

    For those beyond the quota, Israel should make strong efforts to assist them in the resettlement process. They should be resettled to countries that are democratic, where they will receive proper services as refugees, and where they will have their rights upheld. They should not be sent to countries in which their lives are in danger or in which they may be deported to their home countries where their lives are in danger. For those who do not receive refugee status upon going through the RSD process, they should be assisted in determining the safest place available to them

    Kung Fu Jew · October 8th, 2012 at 2:46 pm
  5. Also, all one has to do is compare the acceptance rates of refugees from different origins under other countries’ Refugee Status Determination (RSD) process. Acceptance rates for Sudanese, Eritrean and nearby countries are between 70%-80%; overall asylum acceptance rates are usually 30%-40%; Israel’s overall acceptance rate is barely .02%. (I wrote about Israel’s shameful process of auto-rejection in June.)

    And the orthodox Canadian Jew who taught Israel’s RSD employees is now speaking out in shame.

    Kung Fu Jew · October 8th, 2012 at 2:59 pm
  6. “This from the North American coalition of individuals”
    Where are the organizations? Where are all those lovely groups who patted themselves on the back when it came to Ethiopian Jews? Not such a fan of gentile Africans fleeing oppression?

    Jew Guevara · October 11th, 2012 at 11:00 pm
  7. I’d just like to point out that, back in 2001, a friend of mine, an illegal migrant from Ukraine, was detained and held by the then INS for one year and three months until the Ukrainian government agreed to pay the bill for his repatriation. Otherwise, I suspect he would have been held indefinitely, or until he earned the money to pay for the plane ticket himself (they allowed him to make $1/day doing chores at the detention center).

    I’m not saying holding migrants in detention is just, but it is fairly common. Of course, this solves nothing long term. In 3 years Israel will still have the same 15,000 people who either have to be released from detention, or re-incarcerated, should their countries of origin remain war-torn holes in the ground. I think Israeli taxpayers can find better things to spend their money on than feeding, clothing and housing 15000 people, but that’s just me.

    Victor · October 22nd, 2012 at 7:01 am

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