"We assure the Israeli public that we are not a threat to Israel or to its Jewish character. We have been labeled with so many names so far, such as economic migrants, infiltrators and so on, expressing in a contradictory way our true reasons for being here."
Please don’t hate us
Op-ed: Eritrean asylum seekers concerned by protests write open letter to Israelis
Haile Mengisteab, et al • Ynet
We are very concerned by what is going on in Israel towards the refugees in general, and particularly by the action taken by some community members in south Tel Aviv on December 21.
We of course respect the rally held against us refugees, but we believe that the Israeli people do not have any information about our real problems, as otherwise they would not hold the rally.
We assure the Israeli public that we are not a threat to Israel or to its Jewish character. We have been labeled with so many names so far, such as economic migrants, infiltrators and so on, expressing in a contradictory way our true reasons for being here.
We are begging the people of Israel and the government of Israel to provide us with protection. We are not here to claim citizenship, but rather, for reasons of safety and protection of our lives which we do not have in our country of origin (and unfortunately not in Israel either.)
The reasons that brought us here have to do with the unstable and unjust political leadership of the regime at home. We were forced to flee, and none of us likes being the victim of exile. We hail from a culture with good norms and values of respecting human dignity. We show a very positive approach towards foreigners in our country, and abide by the law.
We want to make it clear that we are not infiltrators or economic migrants. Rather, we are people with real political problems and we are at the top of the global ranking in terms of asylum seekers in need. In fact, some 88% of Eritrean asylum seekers in other countries are granted refugee status. We strongly condemn the racial or other discrimination that we are facing in Israel, yet at the same time we are ready to talk and negotiate with all who are against us.
At last, we would like to remind you that there is nothing permanent in the world so one day there will be peace and stability, and the good things done to us by the Israeli government and people while we faced adverse conditions will be told in history to generations. Realizing this, we plead with you not to hate us, engage in terror against us or cause us mental distress. We are the right people at the right time, in need of protection.
We therefore politely request the government and the people of Israel to reconsider the steps that have been announced against us, which truly put the lives of refugees in danger.
Haile Mengisteab, Mehari Okubai, Kidane Essak, Tesfai Hadgn, and Keberom Mengistu are members of the Committee of Eritrean Asylum Seekers in Israel.