Families from the Kibbutz movement and peripherial towns throughout Israel have volunteered to take in some 2,250 African refugee asylum seekers ahead of their planned deportation. One of the organizers of the project, Dr. Avi Ofer said: “This whole episode makes me understand how the Jews felt in Europe during the second world war.”
Ofer, who is a resident of Kibbutz Maanit in the Galil, said: “Many refugees are already living with families around the country and these families don’t want to be exposed, so I won’t speak about them at length. There are currently three initiatives being undertaken by Ofer and other leaders of the Kibbutz movement to hide African refugee asylum seekers so that they will not be deported back to Africa. According to a report in Ynet, some 2,250 Jewish families have signed up to take in a refugee or a family of refugees.
Kibbutz Sasa in the northern Galilee has taken the first step of any town in revealing in public that it has agreed to take in refugee asylum seekers and that it will offer them fair work in the industries run by the kibbutz. The kibbutz has offered four apartments to refugees, with the first expected to move in before Pesach. The first family that will be moving in is that of a single mother and her two daughters.
Ofer said: “While the planned deportation hangs like a mark of Cain on the country, seeing the immense response of individuals in Israel who are willing to take in a family whom they have never met, in an act which can be interpreted as going against the law, warms the heart. I have never seen such a quick and widespread response such as this, and I’ve been involved in public appeals and campaigns for more than 35 years.”
“While most of the refugees are willing to go to prison and continue the fight from there, rather than return to Africa, some who are weaker, sick, or afraid of prison, have asked for our help to find them shelter and asylum. We are looking for legal work for these asylum seekers and the hopeful solution to the rule of deportation once and for all.”
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)