Ameinu, the leading North American progressive Zionist membership organization, expresses its support for the bill, put forward last week in Israel’s Knesset by the Labor Party, which would require Israel to define the status of refugees and determine the number of refugees it can accept.
“This law would be a positive first step for Israel to help the nearly 60,000 African migrants within its borders,” said Ameinu President Kenneth Bob. “For nearly a decade, Israel has struggled to deal with an influx of refugees, with very little success. The time for a solution is long overdue,” he continued.
Labor Party Chair Shelly Yacimovich invoked Israel’s Jewish conscience when she stated that “the Jewish people have experienced persecution and pogroms and it is our special duty to lend a hand and help refugees of genocide.
“For several years, African migrants have been making the dangerous journey from their homelands through Egypt and the Sinai desert into Israel. Until now, Israel has not accorded them the refugee or asylum seeker status that they are seeking, despite Israel’s status as a signatory to the 1951 UN Convention on Refugees. The African migrants, while generally not being sent back to their home countries, are not granted the right to legally work in Israel.
“The situation has grown untenable and many of the Africans in Israel are destitute. The situation is at risk of turning desperate. Ameinu welcomes this initiative and commends the Labor Party for taking a lead role in attempting to bring about a humanitarian solution to this potential crisis,” Bob concluded