Jewish Groups Slam Israel 'Jail' for African Immigrants

Asylum-Seekers Should Get Fair Hearing — Not Prison

getty images

By JTA

Published February 14, 2014.
  • Print
  • Share Share

An array of U.S. Jewish groups urged Israel’s government to introduce refugee asylum reforms, saying that a major holding facility was indistinguishable from a jail.

The letter sent Wednesday to the office of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu noted that Israeli authorities have ordered asylum seekers to move to the Holot facility in Israel’s south.

“While officially labeled as an ‘open’ reception facility, recent accounts suggest that Holot is virtually indistinguishable from a minimum security prison, where residents may be held indefinitely without judicial review,” said the letter spearheaded by Ameinu and signed by another 14 groups.

“Such indefinite detention stands in contrast with the September 2013 ruling of the Israeli High Court of Justice,” it said.

The letter, signed by leaders of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, the American Jewish Committee, the New Israel Fund and the Reconstructionist movement, also called for improvements to Israel’s asylum approval rate, noting Israel has one of the lowest in the world.

“Such steps would reinforce Israel’s proud reputation as a country built by Jewish refugees and governed by Jewish, democratic and universal values,” it said.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Happy birthday Barbra Streisand! Our favorite Funny Girl turns 72 today.
  • Clueless parenting advice from the star of "Clueless."
  • Why won't the city give an answer?
  • BREAKING NEWS: Israel has officially suspended peace talks with the Palestinians.
  • Can you guess what the most boring job in the army is?
  • What the foolish rabbi of Chelm teaches us about Israel and the Palestinian unity deal:
  • Mazel tov to Idina Menzel on making Variety "Power of Women" cover! http://jd.fo/f3Mms
  • "How much should I expect him and/or ask him to participate? Is it enough to have one parent reciting the prayers and observing the holidays?" What do you think?
  • New York and Montreal have been at odds for far too long. Stop the bagel wars, sign our bagel peace treaty!
  • Really, can you blame them?
  • “How I Stopped Hating Women of the Wall and Started Talking to My Mother.” Will you see it?
  • Taglit-Birthright Israel is redefining who they consider "Jewish" after a 17% drop in registration from 2011-2013. Is the "propaganda tag" keeping young people away?
  • Happy birthday William Shakespeare! Turns out, the Bard knew quite a bit about Jews.
  • Would you get to know racists on a first-name basis if you thought it might help you prevent them from going on rampages, like the recent shooting in Kansas City?
  • "You wouldn’t send someone for a math test without teaching them math." Why is sex ed still so taboo among religious Jews?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.