Young Israelis of the year: Nic Schlagman, 29: Spreading the welcome mat

Nic Schlagman, 29 Sprea

Nic Schlagman has dedicated his life to the cause of assisting the country's African refugees. He heads the Israel Activists Group which is based in south Tel Aviv, and recruits volunteers from around the country who wish to help the thousands of asylum-seekers who have arrived here. Schlagman is very much connected to Jewish history and believes that history obligates the Jewish nation-state to treat refugees who seek refuge within its borders with dignity and respect. He feels at home in Tel Aviv's Naveh Sha'anan neighborhood, home to many of the refugees. The neighborhood is filled with colorful sights and smells from Africa and Asia. Schlagman has spent years helping Eritreans, Sudanese, Ivorians and many others find their first steps in Israel, and has focused his efforts on helping them obtain shelter, food, employment and education. He has called on the government to come up with a clear-cut and compassionate policy on refugees. Schlagman says, "'You shall not oppress a stranger... for you also were strangers in the land of Egypt.' If you replace Egypt with Eastern Europe, you would be talking about today."