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Voluntary Deportation from Israel or Prison: The tough Choice for Asylum Seekers

Asylum seekers in Israel have two options. One, get voluntary deportation from Israel or two, get imprisoned. Those who will refuse to be deported will face a prison sentence. This will affect tens of thousands of people who are now facing a challenging future in Israel.

We are talking about people who have escaped torture in Sudan and other African countries. They risked their lives by walking across Egyptian desert for 11 hours.

This is how difficult it is for people who are seeking safe havens from torture and persecution. Israelis have repeatedly told asylum seekers that they “do not have a place for refugees.

Refugees are referred to as “infiltrators” instead of being given asylum that they badly need. The people who are unmarried or have no children are at the top of the list of those who can be easily be deported.

At the moment, Israel has 38,000 African asylum who are facing deportation. The Prime Minister of Israel had in the past said that people are responsible for increased crime and poverty rates in Israel.

More than 90% of the asylum seekers are from Eritrea and Sudan. Those asylum seekers who agree to be deported will be paid USD$3,500 and then be sent either to Uganda or Rwanda.

Early on, Israel government gave visas to arrivals (asylum seekers) which was renewed every few months.

Asylum seekers in Israel face a lot of challenges including a language barrier because they do not speak Hebrew and majority have no work experience.

Many asylum seekers live in South Tel Aviv where they get jobs and accommodation. Observers have seen shop signs written in Tigriniya competing with shops bearing Hebrew signs. There are salons and barbershops which serve the demands of black customers.


Refugees from Africa have reported that there is a lot of discrimination in Israel.  The natives do not want to sit near African in buses or eat food cooked by African chefs.

Out of 12,200 applications submitted, only 10 Eritreans and 1 Sudanese were granted refugee status since the year 2009. This is saddening considering that Israel is “a signatory to the refugee convention.”


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