Israel’s African Question

An interesting opinion article in today’s Haaretz by Craig D. Smith, a doctoral candidate in political science at the University of Toronto and a research fellow in the department of international relations at the Hebrew University:

“Some 60,000 Africans have crossed the Egyptian border into Israel over the past five years, most of them from Eritrea. Like the world’s other 30 to 40 million ‘irregular’ migrants, they came uninvited, and Israeli society has largely decided they are an unwelcome addition to an already fractured cultural landscape. There are no channels for integration under Israel’s Jewish-only citizenship laws, no political appetite for blanket amnesties, and no chance for migrants to go about their lives without being noticed.  Israel thus faces an ‘African question’: What to do with a growing number of people who are inassimilable and unwanted, and how to prevent more from coming? Politicians have decided the answer includes withholding asylum status, deporting the most expedient cases, interning the remainder – and, most significantly for Israel’s neighbors, sealing the Egyptian border. While such tactics face resistance from a vocal minority, they enjoy support across most of the political spectrum. In the meantime, African migrants in Israel face assault, destitution and intimidation, encouraged by the rhetoric of democratically elected politicians….”

Click here for full article.

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Filed under Analysis, Israel

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