The attitude towards African migrants in Israel over the past year has been typified by “racism and xenophobia” and racist statements by parliamentarians and public figures that led to racial violence against the community, according to a report released on Sunday by the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI).
In a section of ACRI’s annual “Human Rights in Israel and the OPT” entitled “Refugees and Asylum Seekers: The Crisis Escalates” the organization says that racist language directed at African asylum seekers reached a new low in Israel in 2012. The report states that in 2012 such language combined with failed or lacking policy towards asylum seekers, leads to friction between them and veteran residents of the neighborhoods they live in.
In addition, the report states that while the asylum seekers are entitled to receive protection and residence permits “on the other hand the state does not examine their asylum requests and treats them as undocumented migrant workers, rather than as asylum seekers."
The report says that b y not allowing them to work legally the state "forces the asylum seekers into poverty and distress and encourages them to concentrate in disadvantaged areas where they can afford accommodation."
“The Israeli government should accept this fact and develop proper and suitable long-term solutions that address the distress and rights of the residents of the neighborhoods and of the asylum seekers,” the report states.