There are an estimated 61,000 African foreign nationals currently living in Israel. The burden of absorbing the many asylum seekers from conflict-ridden countries has fallen on those living on Israel's social periphery—around 40,000 live in the poorer neighborhoods of South Tel Aviv alone. Israel does not grant asylum seekers work permits or other welfare benefits, and does not have clear policies relating to this growing population, creating a greater burden on the communities in which they live.
Israeli society faces both a practical and ethical conundrum. Media headlines in recent weeks describe riots in South Tel Aviv against Africans and African-owned businesses, members of Knesset denouncing undocumented African migrants as a “cancer” in Israeli society, and the Israeli government’s efforts to repatriate hundreds of migrants to conflict-ridden countries. The New Israel Fund community is taking action in Israel, and the American Jewish community is speaking out.
Hear from NIF flagship grantee the Association for Civil Rights in Israel about these complex issues facing Israel, the roots of the disturbing riots, and what is being done to protect African migrants and asylum seekers in Israel.