Israel's African-Migrant Crisis

(Tablet) Liel Leibovitz - As of October 2017, there were 38,000 migrants living in Israel who crossed the Egyptian border without permits, the vast majority from Eritrea and Sudan. The Hebrew word for this group is mistanenim, or infiltrators. Israeli courts have ruled in a way similar to their colleagues in the European Court of Human Rights, which ruled last year that the expulsion of Eritrean asylum seekers from Switzerland would not breach the European Convention. Rather than see the migrants as helpless refugees, the Israeli government ascertained that the overwhelming majority arrived in Israel simply to find better work, which explains why an overwhelming number are young single men. When human rights groups appealed to Israel's Supreme Court, they were rebuked by the justices there for painting a patently false picture of the fate that awaits the migrants in Uganda and Rwanda. "After examining the evidence," wrote former Supreme Court Chief Justice Miriam Naor, "it is my opinion that the appellants did not succeed in proving that the [countries to which the migrants will be deported] are unsafe or that they are in any danger." Naor also stressed that most migrants do not meet the criteria of asylum seekers. Many of those deported will then leave their African destination in the hope of making it to Europe. But to argue that any tragedy that befalls them in their attempt is in any way the responsibility of the Israeli government is absurd. The Sudanese and Eritrean migrants struggling to stay in Israel aren't Anne Frank. Thinking in these terms is morally unserious, intellectually dishonest, and politically unwise.

2018-02-09 00:00:00

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