NGOs commend government’s move to regulate the status of asylum-seekers

Omdim Beyachad has led protests against the planned deportation of African migrants in the past few months and views the new plan to regulate the status of 16,250 of them as a victory.

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April 2, 2018 19:37
2 minute read.
NGOs commend government’s move to regulate the status of asylum-seekers

Tel Aviv protest against the deportation of asylum seekers . (photo credit: MAARIV)

Holding protests and demonstrations can pressure the government and bear fruit, the national director of NGO Omdim Beyachad, Alon-Lee Green, told The Jerusalem Post on Monday.

The movement has led the protests against the planned deportation of African migrants in the past few months and said it views the new plan to regulate the status of 16,250 of them as a victory.

“This is a great victory,” Green said. “It is a victory, first and foremost for the asylum-seekers, and also for the residents of the neighborhoods of southern Tel Aviv.

“It is also a victory for the tens of thousands of activists who showed us in the past few months what determination looks like,” he said.

Omdim Beyachad (Hebrew for “Standing Together”) organized protests throughout the country, with the largest one including over 20,000 demonstrators. Among the protesters were activists, migrants and native residents of the southern Tel Aviv neighborhoods that wished to find an agreed-upon solution to the situation.

“Our protests did not focus on one group against the other,” Green said. “We fought in a united front for all residents of southern Tel Aviv.

We wanted, on the one hand, to prevent the deportation of any individual, and on the other hand to promote the government’s investment in the neighborhoods.”

Green also highlighted the fact that the protests actually bore fruit. “The pressure worked. It is extremely surprising considering the fact that we are used to witnessing how things go in a bad direction despite our protests,” Green said.

“However, this proves the sole thing that we keep insisting on, which is hope,” he added.

“This is why keep on demonstrating and fighting. We do it not because we have to, but because we believe that if we’ll fight, we’ll succeed.”

Not only Omdim Beyachad welcomed the decision, but also other groups involved in combating the deportation of African migrants.

Mickey Gitzin, the CEO of the New Israel Fund, said: “This is a day of victory in the civil society organizations and to the Israeli public, who led an uncompromising struggle against the deportation.

“The New Israel Fund welcomes the government’s decision on its outline to regulate the statuses of the asylum-seekers in Israel. We have claimed throughout the years that the asylum-seekers issue should be regulated on a humanitarian basis, and gladly, after years of struggles, we succeeded,” he said.

Gilad Kariv, the CEO of the Israel Movement for Reform and Progressive Judaism, said that the move is fixing a moral injustice.

“This new policy will strengthen Israel’s values as a Jewish and democratic state that cherishes the past of the Jewish people and asks to be a part of the family of the modern nations. [The move also] shows the state’s commitment to it citizens, and to those who wish to find a shelter within it,” he said.

“The Reform Movement in Israel, its rabbis and members are proud of their involvement in the public outcry and in the moves toward the original move of the government,” said Kariv. “Along with our partners, we will keep watching the government’s moves on both the treatment of the asylum-seekers, and on the plans to strengthen the neighborhoods of southern Tel Aviv and their residents.”


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