IDC students face threat of deportation to S.Sudan

Future of 3 students hinges on school president's last-minute appeal to Interior Ministry for student visas or delay of deportations.

Gabriel (L), William (R), S.Sudanese students_390 (photo credit: Ben Hartman)
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 successful.
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 Sudan.”
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 Government.
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 infant.
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 release forms.
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.
Menyeal said 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 week.
“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.”