J. Weekly: Troubled Road Ahead for Israel’s African Migrants

In an August 27 story on Israel's release of 1,200 african migrants from the Holot detention center, J. Weekly cites concerns raised jointly by HIAS and the Reform movement, who issued a statement earlier this month calling on the Israeli government to re-examine its asylum policy for African migrants.

Noting in a press release that the groups are “longstanding friends of Israel and committed advocates for the well-being of the Jewish state,” Union for Reform Judaism President Rabbi Rick Jacobs questioned why Israel approves a dramatically lower percentage of asylum applications from Eritreans and Sudanese than do other developed countries.

“We are deeply concerned because Israel currently accepts less than 1 percent of refugee claims. In other developed countries, 82 percent of Eritrean applicants and 68 percent of Sudanese applicants are recognized as refugees,” Mark Hetfield, president and CEO of HIAS, said in the news release. “We urge the [Israeli] government to set an example by treating African migrants with dignity and respect.”

As the story notes, "Most of Israel’s African migrants are from Eritrea or Sudan and cannot be deported due to fear that they could face persecution or because their homelands have no diplomatic relations with Israel."

Read the full story here.

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