Holocaust survivors in Israel wrote a letter calling on the government to halt the planned expulsion of nearly 38,000 African migrants.
“We, who know precisely what it’s like to be refugees … homeless and bereft of a state that preserves and protects us from violence and suffering, cannot comprehend how a Jewish government can expel refugees and asylum seekers to a journey of suffering, torment and death,” the 36 signatories wrote in a letter published by Israeli left-leaning newspaper Haaretz Friday.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had announced on Jan. 3 that “illegal immigrants” — namely Eritrean and Sudanese asylum-seekers — should leave voluntarily or face prison.
Last Sunday he defended his decision, saying, “We are acting against illegal migrants who come here not as refugees but for work needs.”
Israel, in small part, recognizes the danger Eritreans and Sudanese people face when returning to their countries of origin, mulling at the possibility of sending them off to Rwanda and Uganda. However, Uganda has already denied this possibility.
According to the Aid Organisation for Refugees and Asylum Seekers in Israel, from a total of 10,000 asylum requests from Eritreans, only seven have been granted it, while only one Sudanese person has been granted asylum.