1,178 Eritrean and Sudanese asylum seekers will be released from the Holot detention-facility-cum-prison today and Wednesday, but few have any idea where they will live or how they will survive after the government issued a new decree that cuts off many of them from their friends, family and communities.
African Asylum Seekers To Be Released From Detention On High Court’s Orders, But Netanyahu Government Issues Order Banning Them From Tel Aviv, Eilat
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com
1,178 Eritrean and Sudanese asylum seekers will be released from the Holot detention-facility-cum-prison today and Wednesday, but few have any idea where they will live or how they will survive after the government issued a new decree that cuts off many of them from their friends, family and communities, Ha'aretz reported.
They are being released because their detention is illegal and Israel’s High Court of Justice, fed up with trick after trick played by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to skirt previous rulings, ordered it.
After the release, Holot, located in a remote part of the Negev Desert near Gaza, will still have 587 African asylum seekers, all prisoners for less than a year. But the government plans on rounding up thousands more asylum seekers and sending them to Holot as soon as possible.
The 1,178 asylum seekers to be released today and tomorrow face an especially tough road ahead.
Israel’s Minister of the Interior Silvan Shalom of Netanyahu’s Likud Party issued an order barring asylum seekers released from Holot from living or working in Tel Aviv or Eilat, Ha’aretz reported. Those two cities have the highest number of African asylum seekers, and many of those about to be released either lived in one of those two cities before they were sent to Holot or have friends or family there.
The government is reportedly not expected to help asylum seekers find work or housing and the Israel Prison Service, which runs Holot, is not transporting the released asylum seekers anywhere. Instead, they have to find their own way to wherever in Israel they decide to go.
“There are people who have nowhere to go,” Anwar Suliman, an asylum seeker from Darfur told Ha’aretz. “We’re trying to do something so people won’t have problems, so they won’t be in the street.”
Asylum seekers who worked, albeit illegally, in Eilat or Tel Aviv won’t be able to return to their jobs – even though some have been asked to by their former employers – and those who families there will be kept from them.
“The government’s current policy makes things hard on the asylum seekers, but it also hurts the entire Israeli public,” Elisheva Milikowsky of Physicians for Human Rights told Ha’aretz.