There are about 38,000 asylum seekers in Israel, mainly from Sudan and Eritrea. In January, 2018, the Israeli government advanced plans to deport the thousands who had not yet succeeded in applying for asylum status or who had applied but were rejected.
In April, Prime Minister Netanyahu announced a deal with the United Nations to grant temporary asylum to around 16,000 asylum seekers and to send the rest to Western countries – including Canada – prepared to accept them, rather than to dangerous places like Uganda and Rwanda.
Just hours after signing the historic deal, Netanyahu caved to right-wing pressure and suspended its implementation.
Read about the situation here:
African Migrants to Netanyahu: ‘You are playing with our lives’ – The Jerusalem Post
A letter from Jewish Clergy against the deportations
This report, “Better a Prison in Israel Than Dying on the Way,” was compiled from testimonies of refugees “voluntarily” deported to Rwanda and Uganda.
NIF’s Global Response to the Refugee Crisis
Since 2007, the NIF family of affiliates has supported Israeli human rights organizations working with asylum seekers, including:
As the situation for asylum seekers deteriorated, NIF affiliates in the US, UK, Canada and Australia mobilized:
Emergency Funds: $15,000 in emergency grants was been allocated to organizations assisting thousands of refugees in their asylum application process or in appealing the decision to deport or jail them; running public opposition campaigns; doing advocacy and legal work.
Community Action: NIFC and NIF branches joined the global Jewish community to express opposition to the practice of deporting asylum seekers into situations that place their lives at risk. We signed a series of open letters asking Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to reverse the plan.
Supporting Israelis: Core NIF grantees — and others supported by Shatil—are mobilized Israelis to speak out against the deportations.
Legal Action: Hotline sought an injunction to prevent the deportation of refugees who attempted to apply for asylum status.
Spotlight: New Israel Fund of Canada
Refugee rights are profoundly important to the Canadian Jewish community. In recent years, synagogues and Jewish groups have mobilized to sponsor Syrian and other refugees from war-torn countries.
NIFC has funded Shatil, NIF’s on-the-ground organizing arm in Israel, to provide training and services to organizations that work with, and on behalf of, asylum seekers.
This project supports the work of several of Israel’s leading refugee rights organizations. Future NIFC funding will support Shatil’s coordination of these organizations as they continue to create change in a volatile social-political situation.
Current Funding Needs
NIF branches worldwide have created a global emergency fund to assist Israeli NGOs fighting the deportations, and have already raised $67, 000. We’re currently seeking funds to further support this emergency fund.
The funds we raise will be used to support public advocacy and other activities in the field, fight the deportations and provide vital assistance to the asylum seekers whose lives are in jeopardy.