Gabriel (L), William (R), S.Sudanese students_390.
(photo credit: Ben Hartman)
Despite the support of their classmates and educators, three Herzliya
Interdisciplinary Center students stand to be deported to South Sudan in the
coming days unless a last-minute appeal to the Interior Ministry proves
After plans to deport Israel’s South Sudanese population were
announced in January, students and faculty contacted the Interior Ministry,
requesting student visas for William Akon, Deng Menyeal and Gabriel Thone – to no avail.
They also created a Facebook page titled
“IDC Students against the deportation of 3 students from South
All three students have insisted that they only want to be able
to stay in the country until the spring of 2014, when they are scheduled to
complete their bachelor’s degrees at the IDC Herzliya’s Lauder School of
In an interview with The Jerusalem Post in February, Akon and
Menyeal said that having a college degree could mean the difference between
returning to a life of poverty in South Sudan and returning home with the
potential to be a leader in their newly formed country.
Menyeal, 30, said
Tuesday that the immigration authorities had arrested him on Monday and released
him, with the instruction that he had until this coming Sunday to leave the
country with his wife and three children, aged four, two and an
Akon said he had yet to be arrested by immigration officials and
had not turned himself in to register for return. He said Thone had gone to the
immigration office earlier this week and asked to stay until after a final
examination at the end of the month, and had left without signing any voluntary
Speaking to the Post on Tuesday, Menyeal said he had not
been to South Sudan since 1987, when he left as a young child for northern Sudan
and then Egypt before crossing into Israel five years ago.
that he, Akon and Thone had met with IDC president Uriel Reichman on Tuesday,
who told them he had launched a final effort to get the Interior Ministry to
either delay their deportations or to grant them student visas so they could
finish their studies.
If nothing changes, however, the three students
could very well find themselves back in South Sudan this time next
“Honestly, if this happens, I will still know that most of the
people in this country, the majority, are good people and support us, and I’ll
never change this opinion,” Menyeal said, adding that “in every nation, there
are good and bad people.”