T’ruah advocates for Israel to institute a program of verifying asylum claims as other countries do, and in accordance with the UN Refugee Convention of which Israel was one of the first signatories. Today, there are approximately 50,000 asylum seekers in Israel, primarily fleeing mandatory lifetime conscription in Eritrea or violence in South Sudan. Instead of hearing asylum claims, per international law, Israel instead incarcerates and deports these asylum seekers. As a result, Israel holds the unfortunate distinction of having the lowest refugee approval rate in the developed world.

A community of fewer than 50,000 African migrants and asylum seekers in Israel, a country of 7.9 million, does not threaten the Jewish character of the state.  A far greater threat to the Jewish character of the state is xenophobic rhetoric, and a failure to follow the Jewish imperative to protect and care for the gerim—the landless sojourners who seek refuge among us—especially when these sojourners have escaped forced military service, torture, and crimes against humanity in Eritrea and Sudan.

T’ruah partners with a range of Israeli NGOs to advocate for the right of these asylum seekers, as well as being the fiscal sponsor for Right Now, a coalition of American and Israeli activists working on this issue.

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