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0202 – Points of View from Jerusalem


News Digest on The Deportation of Asylum Seekers: [1]

“Is there anyone here who thinks he shares moral perspectives with me and can sympathize with the expulsion of asylum seekers? I try to be open to the thought that this is not evil, and I attempt to give those [who support the expulsion] the benefit of the doubt, but I find it difficult to relate to arguments circulating throughout public discourse [that support the expulsion].”

– Roie Ravitzky

[Selected Comments:]

“In the end, any claim in favor of the expulsion is annulled by the fact that the country is already beginning to look for foreign workers who will replace those who will be deported. Refugees, infiltrators, migrant workers, whatever they call them, the facts on the ground are that they are needed in Israeli society. There is little logic in their expulsion just to replace them with others that arrive in a more orderly manner. Without going into moral and human considerations at all, the simple and cheap solution is simply to regulate the status of those who are already here.”

“There is a debate about the facts on the ground, and it is very difficult for those who do not have real access to the data to decide. The issue itself has been sent up to the High Court of Justice, and to a special panel, so it is hard to say that the decision was taken lightly and without consideration and discretion. Besides, I think that many can agree with me on the fact that not every African in this country is a refugee. A significant portion are workers. To present things in a black and white fashion, undermines the possibility of reaching agreements and finding a solution to the complexity of the situation.”

“Every day we teach our students to respect the ‘other’, to see the ‘other’ in ourselves and to see the sufferings of others in our suffering.
We do this because we are the sons and daughters of refugees, out of understanding and familiarity under the backdrop of generations, complemented by Israel's inception as a result of our peoples' status as stranger:' And you shall not oppress a stranger, for you know the feelings of the stranger, since you were strangers in the land of Egypt’ [Exodus 23:9]
We try to educate our students about the injustices of the past. We remind them of the commandment: ‘there is a place where there are no people to judge each other’ [Avot 2: 6]. [This commandment] takes on special significance in the light of the unique history of our people. We expect the students to make the moral decisions and take responsibility for their future and their country. They should educate one another to take on meaningful and to contribute value to society. We ask them not to succumb to social pressures and explain to them what endorsing the status quo means for society as a whole.

We require decision-makers to make the moral and correct decision. There are things that can not be repeated, things that will be a moral stain for generations, to which we will all share – those out of submission to social and political pressures, those out of indifference and alienation and those who did so in in the moment due to external pressures.”

– Ziv Lison
“ Dear friends!

'Ending the Expulsion' [2] will organize house-to-house meetings where we can meet with asylum seekers from Sudan and Eritrea who will be deported to Rwanda, to tell us their personal stories. We will also talk about alternative solutions to the expulsion and the distress of the residents in the neighborhoods in South Tel Aviv.” [3]

– Posted to ‘Nachlaot’ Group

[Selected Comments:]

“ If everyone from the Nachlaot neighborhood were to move to New York, to achieve a better financial situation, would they be given this option? No! There are very strict regulations regarding work permits and nobody is complaining about that. A lot of them [the Asylum seekers] are only here to improve their financial situation […]”

“[…] They’re here already. And they are 38,000. There is no ‘demographic threat’ [4]. This whole business of jailing them and deporting them is costing us more than just giving them work permits and integrating them into society […] And if they are really all just ‘migrant workers’ then why is the government deporting them to a ‘third-country’ and not back to their homelands’ hmm..??”

0202 Editor’s notes:
[1] The Population Authority has announced that as of April, enforcement action will begin against asylum seekers who are being required to leave Israel and against their employers. Asylum seekers who don't leave will be placed in a detention center and their employers will be fined. Moreover, the $3,500 government grant that has been given to those leaving the country will be gradually reduced from the beginning of April.
[2] In response to the Israeli government's decision to deport 38,000 asylum seekers, who are mainly from Eritrea and Sudan, a growing movement among students called "Otzrim Et HaGerush," or "Ending the Expulsion," held a week-long series of events, concerning the issues that asylum seekers and refugees face, on university campuses throughout Israel.
[3] The largest community of asylum seekers congregate in South Tel-Aviv. Residents of S. Tel-Aviv have attributed the high levels of poverty, prostitution, drugs and general infrastructural decline almost entirely to asylum seekers from Sudan and Eritrea.
[4] In the political and media spheres, the asylum seekers from Africa are considered a ‘demographic threat’ to the Jewish State of Israel.

#Refugees #Expulsion