Out of the roughly 60,000 African asylum-seekers who have arrived in Israel, mostly from Eritrea and Sudan, only 11 (eleven!) have been granted refugee status over the past 10 years. The rest live in a precarious limbo: Israeli officials, starting at the top with the prime minister, define them as “infiltrators” and refuse to integrate them into Israeli society. Meanwhile, the government’s objective to deport thousands has been curbed by pushback from the Israeli High Court and from domestic and international public opinion.
This issue was examined on 8 January by two outstanding panelists: Mutasim A. Ali, who sought asylum in Israel and co-founded the African Students Organization there, and Prof. Tally Kritzman-Amir, a senior lecturer of immigration and international law in Israel who is currently a Visiting Associate Professor at Harvard University.