Crisis Response: African Refugees in Israel
The painful issue of African asylum-seekers in Israel has taken on a new urgency as men, women, and children are incarcerated; as Israel has begun deporting refugees to unstable regions; as politicians continue to introduce xenophobic legislation; and as rhetoric has given way to violence in Israeli communities.
The 60,000 African migrants and asylum seekers in Israel, a country of 7.9 million, do 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.
T'ruah strongly encourage Israeli leaders and representatives to publicly use the term “asylum seekers and migrants” in the place of “infiltrators,” and other similarly misleading and pejorative terms. We support continued efforts to promptly investigate and prosecute perpetrators and instigators of xenophobic attacks against African migrants and asylum seekers in Israel. We urge the government of Israel to sufficiently resource a fair and efficient asylum system. We further encourage government asylum leadership to send an appropriate message to its asylum officers, so the country no longer holds the distinction of having the lowest refugee approval rate in the developed world.