Jerusalem – Thousands Of African Asylum Seekers Protest In Tel Aviv Against Government Policy

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    African asylum seekers participate in a protest march in Tel Aviv, Israel, 28 December 2013. Thousands of African asylum seekers marched through Tel Aviv in protest against Israel's opening of 'Holot', the new open detention facility in the south, and implementation of the anti-infiltration amendment which allows Israel to jail without charge people who entered the country illegally, even if they are asylum seekers.  EPA/OLIVER WEIKENJerusalem – Around 5,000 African migrants and their supporters marched through the streets of central Tel Aviv on Saturday night to protest Israeli policy towards asylum seekers.

    Though it was planned as a silent, candle-lit march, by about a half hour in the crowd was cheering and chanting “freedom!” and “no more prisons” as they weaved their way down major thoroughfares like Allenby and Rothschild.

    It was the second such protest in Tel Aviv, following one last Saturday night that also drew a few thousand participants. Unlike most protests by African migrants in Tel Aviv in recent years, the crowd was made up predominantly of asylum seekers, who appeared to be in charge and marching to their own beat, as opposed to previous protests that were mainly made up of Israeli activists. It also follows two separate “freedom marches” in the past couple weeks, in which migrants marched from the new open detention facility in the south to Beersheba and Jerusalem, where they demanded Israel hear their asylum claims.
    African asylum seekers participate in a protest march in Tel Aviv, Israel, 28 December 2013. Thousands of African asylum seekers marched through Tel Aviv in protest against Israel's opening of 'Holot', the new open detention facility in the south, and implementation of the anti-infiltration amendment which allows Israel to jail without charge people who entered the country illegally, even if they are asylum seekers.  EPA/OLIVER WEIKEN
    The demonstration Saturday night set out from Lewinsky Park in south Tel Aviv and made its way to Rabin Square, where a protest was held. At Lewinsky Park, an 18 year old Eritrean named Johnny, who said he fled the country before having to be drafted into the army, told the post he was marching “to make a call for freedom, to say that we need equal rights.”

    Holding a sign that said “we shall overcome”, Johnny described how he and his fellow Eritrean migrants lack visas or legal status in Israel, and live in limbo without the ability to legally support themselves.

    The recent protests are a response to Israel’s opening of “Holot”, the new open detention facility in the south, and implementation of the anti-infiltration amendment which allows Israel to jail without charge people who entered the country illegally, even if they are asylum seekers.

    Over the past two weeks, the Population, Immigration, and Borders Authority has made statements that they will begin enhanced enforcement of Israeli labor laws against employing people illegally in the country, and will also start arresting and jailing more migrants illegally in the country. Just over the last week, PIBA sent out three different statements announcing the arrests of dozens of African migrants in Tel Aviv and elsewhere.
    An African asylum seekers carries his daughter during a protest march in Tel Aviv, Israel, 28 December 2013. Thousands of African asylum seekers marched through Tel Aviv in protest against Israel's opening of 'Holot', the new open detention facility in the south, and implementation of the anti-infiltration amendment which allows Israel to jail without charge people who entered the country illegally, even if they are asylum seekers.  EPA/OLIVER WEIKEN
    Standing at Lewinsky Park before marching through Tel Aviv, an Eritrean named Emanuel said they believed this week that a silent march would send a stronger message, and that the candles would be held high because “we are now living in darkness here.”

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    12 COMMENTS

    1. Did you know docotors in the south have to handle stabbings and violence related injuries they never had to deal with before? Did you know the government gives them shelter, etc more than any other regional country, on par with the generous Scandanavian countries. Did you know some city centres do not look like Eretz Yisroel but downtown East Africa? Did you know most come from Muslim countries?

    2. All of those illegal refugees must be deported. The State of Israel was founded as a haven for JEWISH refugees. It was never intended to be a country of refuge for those fleeing third world countries. There are dozens of African ,European, and Moslem countries, which those refugees can seek entry into. Many of them were brought across the Sinai desert by human traffickers, who were only interested in making a fast buck, out of other people’s miseries. Unfortunately, some of those refugees have engaged in heinous criminal acts against Israelis. The State of Israel has enough problems in taking care of Jews. Charity begins at home, and therefore, I must unequivocally state that those African illegal refugees be deported. Every country has the right to enforce its own laws regarding borders and entry. For example, Mexico routinely deports refugees from Guatemala, who have entered Mexico illegally.

    3. #1 Does that mean we have to accept the rapes, robberies and murders perpetrated by those illegals? When you are a guest someplace, you behave. Even more so when you entered illegally. Israel is famous for its humanitarian aid, including medical care for enemy citizens. Does this mean our boarders must be open to everyone, even when they cause us harm?

      Isn’t it interesting that they have signs in English and Hebrew. How do they know either language? Who is helping them and why? Yes, we do need to care for the strangers among us, but they need to follow our laws. If they don’t….

    4. 5,000 protesters? That’s nothing! They estimate that the Rebbes in the NJ warehouse will bring 50,000 protesters! That’s 10 times the amount of the African asylum seekers.

    5. Again the key word here is illegal if they want asylum they should register as soon as they arrive and then decided on a case by case evaluation in the US if you enter illegaly you lose the right to asylum and go directly to jail awaiting deportation. just last week dhs said that they could not even give a report on how many people are illegaly in the country how many are detained or have been deported Israel should at least be allowed to jail and deported illegals as the US does as well as they can. putting them in an open center with free medical find and shelter is treating them much better then most other counties in the world. let them stop along the way in Egypt and see how they are treated there by their fellow moslems Africans.

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