NIF was an early supporter of Israeli organisations standing up for the rights of minority communities in Israel. We seek to empower all those that make up Israeli society, irrespective of race, religion, or gender.

Recent policy changes have meant the rights of asylum seekers are being threatened – they are facing an unbearable choice between indefinite detention or deportation. Most have been living in Israel for over a decade, an established community who have integrated into society and built a life for themselves.

NIF are continuing to provide additional emergency funding and professional guidance to step up to the needs of the moment‭, ‬standing up for the rights of the asylum seeker community in Israel‭.‬‬‬

Help us go further‭ ‬‮–‬‭ ‬donate to our emergency appeal today‬‬‬

Funds donated to our emergency appeal will ensure that our partner organisations in Israel have the resources they need to provide indispensable assistance to asylum seekers facing imminent deportation.

Here are some examples of how we are mobilising Israelis to support and stand up for the rights of the asylum seeker community.

"All of the years that I felt safe walking in the street and I felt safe sleeping at night. I want to pass it forward to every kid and every kid in the future."

Monica’s Story

Monica Joseph is a 17-year-old Sudanese asylum seeker who came to Israel at the age of seven. Currently in the 12th grade at Bialik Rogozin School in Tel Aviv, she wants to enlist in the army alongside her friends.

Monica is one of the 38,000 people who have fled their countries of origin in Africa, and are seeking refuge and protection in Israel.

Our work, together with the strong response from the Israeli public and Jewish communities, has already made an impact as some groups of asylum seekers have received temporary reprieve. Recent government announcements confirmed that - for now - deportation notices will not be issued to women, children, fathers of children, anyone recognised as a victim of slavery or human trafficking, and those who requested asylum by the end of 2017 but have not yet received a response.

Yet, the timeframe for this change in policy is unknown and a retraction is possible at any time. Ten years on since her family fled persecution in Sudan, Monica is faced with a frightening uncertainty that no 17-year-old should have to confront.

Having lived in Israel for most of her life, Monica feels part of the country and would like the opportunity to make a meaningful contribution to Israeli society once she leaves school.

Help us give Monica, and others like her, a voice.

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A generation of progress

“It was an evening of hope, a true demonstration of shared society. The streets of South Tel Aviv were filled with people joining together.”

In January 2018, the Israeli government forced 38,000 Eritrean and Sudanese asylum seekers to make a choice: between deportation to Rwanda, or indefinite imprisonment. A major focus of the work of our partners over the past few months has been to mobilise the Israeli public to speak out against this policy, and to pressure the government to change it.

What’s been happening on the ground?

Mobilising for change: NIF grantee Zazim successfully encouraged more than 10,000 Israelis to pressure pilots to refuse to fly deportees out of Israel.

NIF grantee Power in the Community, founded by south Tel Aviv native and activist Shula Keshet, has worked for years fighting for affordable housing, representing the interests of underprivileged ‘Mizrahim’, and securing improvements for everyone in the neighbourhood. In December, they launched the ‘South Tel Aviv Against Deportation’ campaign, recognising the common interests of the refugees and south Tel Aviv Israelis who often lack basic services and are being priced out of their neighbourhoods.

Marching Together

20,000 protest deportations in South Tel Aviv: On Saturday 24th February, 2018 the campaign took a critical step forward as over 20,000 people stood together in the name of one simple statement: ‘no to the deportation of asylum seekers through policies of incitement.’ Protesters called on the government to fairly examine each individual’s case instead of summarily deporting people to countries where they may face significant danger.

It was an evening of hope, a true demonstration of shared society. The streets of South Tel Aviv were filled with people joining together to convey a single powerful message. Veteran residents of its neighbourhoods standing with asylum seekers, Jews with Arabs, the centre with the periphery, Mizrahim together with Ashkenazim.

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A generation of empowerment

“The last few weeks have been a time of fear like there never was before. Hundreds of asylum seekers are turning to us in desperation.”

The panic that has gripped the asylum seeker community over the last months cannot be overstated. NIF is working with Israeli organisations that provide frontline services and legal advice to asylum seekers.

Our response on the ground

The Hotline for Refugees and Migrants

NIF grantee ‘Hotline’ is Israel’s leading organisation protecting the rights of refugees, migrant workers and victims of human trafficking.

Since the Knesset’s deportation plans have been formalised, Hotline have stepped up efforts to provide resources and support for those asylum seekers fighting to remain in Israel and be granted full refugee status. Reut Michaeli, former executive director of Hotline, makes the situation brutally clear:

‘The last few weeks have been a time of fear like there never was before. Hundreds of asylum seekers are turning to us in desperation. We are working as hard as possible around the clock, visiting immigration detention to advise detainees, managing individual cases, preparing litigation, planning public campaigns and conducting dozens of domestic and international media interviews.’

ASSAF: Aid Organisation for Refugees and Asylum Seekers in Israel

Founded in 2007, ASSAF promote the rights of refugees and provide advocacy and support to those who are living in Israel in a state of destitution - without refugee status or access to basic human rights.

ASSAF’s flagship activity is to provide psychosocial aid for the most vulnerable groups among asylum seekers: minors, survivors of torture, the sick and disabled, single parent families, and women suffering from domestic abuse.

ASSAF have been fighting to ensure that every asylum request is examined according to accepted international standards within a reasonable period of time. Those who deserve asylum must get refugee status together with all the rights and aids associated with it.

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A generation of empowerment
Photo caption‭: ‬Rabbi Charley Baginsky‭, ‬Rabbi Josh Levy‭, ‬Rabbi Oliver Joseph.‬‬‬

“The still-growing list of signatories includes a total of 900 prominent rabbis in the UK, USA, Canada and elsewhere.”

Making our Diaspora voices count

NIF lead British Rabbis’ call on Israel not to deport African asylum-seekers. 65 British rabbis, cantors, and rabbinical students have signed a global letter initiated by the New Israel Fund, HIAS, T’ruah and Right Now to demand that the Israeli government reverse its plan to deport people seeking asylum in Israel from African countries and implement a solution in accordance with Israel’s responsibilities under international law.

The still-growing list of signatories includes a total of 900 prominent rabbis in the UK, USA, Canada and elsewhere and from the Orthodox, Masorti, Reform and Liberal movements.

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Help us give 38,000 asylum seekers a voice this Pesach