According to the legislation, anybody crossing Israel’s border without a permit is detained and transferred to an “open facility.” Once in the open facility, thrice daily roll-calls make it almost impossible to leave or work. Migrants can be held indefinitely. As has been the case for some time, Africans with legitimate claims to asylum status are not receiving individual hearings as required by international law.
Immigration policy is controversial everywhere and Israel is no exception. NIF advocates for a sensible policy that respects human rights and balanced the ideal of the Jewish homeland with the Jewish obligation to help the stranger. While the influx of 60,000 refugees to Israel in recent years creates complicated problems without simple solutions, indefinite imprisonment and severe restrictions on rights is not the answer.
On Sunday, ahead of the rally, NIF made an emergency grant of $3,000 for transportation and sound equipment to support these marginalized voices. We want Israel to live up to the best liberal democratic values. The plight of asylum seekers in a state established by refugees has been making headlines in and out of Israel. Today, the issue received coverage in the New York Times, NPR, and numerous other outlets.
The NIF network of organizations continues their work in attempting to gain official recognition and asylum hearings for refugees and to challenge the current laws in court.