Activists Demand Refuge for People Seeking Asylum in Petach Tikva

13 February 2019

The mayor of Petach Tikva recently urged its residents to call a hotline if they see an asylum seeker.

Rami Greenberg, mayor of Petach Tikva said, “After creating an intelligence infrastructure, the municipality and the Immigration Authority will work together to remove them from the city.”

A number of groups working with people seeking asylum have criticized the mayor’s racist comments. Alva Kolan, Advocacy Director at the Refugee Rights Forum wrote a letter to Greenberg asking him “not to criminalize an entire population.” Kolan wrote that the municipality was asking residents to turn in people seeking asylum who are living in their neighborhoods. “This was based on skin color. This tactic belongs to ignorant regimes and should not exist in Israel.”

The Hotline for Refugees and Migrants said, “This shameful policy is based entirely on racial discrimination, and will serve only to incite the local community against dark-skinned residents. It is true that, when Holot Detention Center closed, 480 asylum seekers were given visas that prohibited them from living and working in seven cities, including Petach Tikva. But even if some of those 480 are currently residing there, there is still no legal or moral justification for a witch hunt against black residents.”

Photo by Yossi Zamir