Rabbis Condemn Israeli Government’s Plan to Deport or Jail Asylum Seekers

RELEASE DATE: January 5, 2018

NEW YORK–The Israeli government announced it will force Eritrean and Sudanese asylum seekers to leave Israel for Rwanda, Uganda, or their countries of origin, or face indefinite jail time.

T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights calls this decision immoral. A country  that was founded by refugees and that played a leading role in the writing, ratification, and adoption of the International Convention on the Status of Refugees (1951) should not flagrantly disregard its responsibilities toward refugees and asylum seekers.

Rabbi Jill Jacobs, executive director of T’ruah, commented, “The Eritrean and Sudanese asylum seekers have fled to Israel to escape violence, slavery, and other brutal conditions in their native lands. As Jews, we know what happens when countries close their doors to those running for their lives. And we also know that Jewish law demands that we accompany strangers likely to be vulnerable to attack, and that we refrain from handing people over to those likely to kill or enslave them. Sending asylum seekers to their likely deaths, or into the hands of human traffickers violates both Jewish law and the very international conventions that Israel helped to craft in response to our own experience during the Holocaust.”

Israel must immediately begin granting African asylum seekers applications for refugee status and to accept the offers of help being made by Jewish communities and organizations in North America to aid in the support and integration of the African asylum seeker community into Israeli society.  



January 5, 2018


Sarah Garfinkel, West End Strategy Team

sarah@westendstrategy.com; Office: (202) 776-7700

T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights is a network of 1,800 rabbis and cantors from all streams of Judaism that, together with the Jewish community, act on the Jewish imperative to respect and advance the human rights of all people. Grounded in Torah and our Jewish historical experience and guided by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, we call upon Jews to assert Jewish values by raising our voices and taking concrete steps to protect and expand human rights in North America, Israel, and the occupied Palestinian territories.

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