The Numbers Speak for Themselves

Understanding the Israeli Asylum Process

Aug 15, 2020

0.06% is the recognition rate of refugees in Israel. Why is this number so low? Much has been written about the narrow interpretation of the Refugee Convention adopted by the Israeli Ministry of Interior and the overall policy toward asylum seekers in Israel. In this report, we seek to present the quantitative data and try to explain how, bureaucratically and substantively, over 99% of asylum claims are rejected or not handled. As we shall see, most requests are rejected in speedy proceedings and thousands of other applications never receive a determination.

HIAS Israel operates a program that provides pro-bono legal representation to asylum seekers wishing to gain legal status in Israel. This report examines Israel’s Refugee Status Determination (RSD) Regulation, providing an explanation about articles in the Regulation and how they are applied in practice, and what this can teach us about handling of asylum claims under a regulation that is intended to guide the process of examining them, while in reality, mostly providing tools for rejecting applications.

Authors: Gil Zuker and att. Nimrod Avigal

Data collection: Att. Aelad Cahana, Guy Raviv and Tal Cittone

English translation: Elizabeth Tsurkov

Financial support for this project was provided by UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency

Search HIAS