Ahikam Seri, Africans seek asylum in Israel, from PRIVATE 47 – ISRAEL[M]ore and more Africans seek asylum in Israel, risking mortal danger to cross the Egyptian border. They are smuggled over by local Bedouins and brave armed patrols and possible gunfire from the Egyptian border guards. These refugees come from African homelands such as Sudan, Eritrea, Ivory Coast, Ghana and beyond. Some have troubling stories to tell. Those who can prove they are refugees fleeing war or atrocities might be granted asylum, a work permit and a chance for a new life.
The Israeli public’s attention to this issue had risen as a result of the arrival of refugees from Darfur. The Jewish history is a cause of the sparked internal debate over the state’s moral obligation to provide shelter for such refugees. The fact that many of them are Muslim adds another layer to the current test that Israel faces. Until the Israeli authorities come up with an official policy, the asylum-seekers move from one framework to another. Some wind up in the newly-built detention facility within the already-existing Ketziot Prison compound, designated for African asylum-seekers. Some are less lucky and are arbitrary released by the army along the main road going North. Others reach civilian settlements ready to give them work and shelter. At times they are absorbed in the growing community of foreign workers in the metropolis of Tel Aviv.