Press Release

ADL Welcomes Suspension of Israeli Plan to Deport African Asylum Seekers

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Update: Upon learning that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu put on hold the agreement with the United Nations to relocate thousands of African Asylum Seekers to Western countries, ADL issued the following statement:

“We are disappointed that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has pulled back on implementing the deal announced earlier today on African asylum seekers. We urge him to move ahead and implement the original U.N. plan.  There’s no other alternative but to find an ethical and humane approach to resettle with the tens of thousands of refugees whose lives hang in the balance.”

The original statement below:

New York, NY, April 2, 2018 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today welcomed the suspension of an Israeli government plan to deport thousands of African Asylum Seekers from Israel to unnamed countries in Africa.

According to an announcement from the Israeli Prime Minister’s office, Israel is working with the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees to find homes in Western countries for around half of the asylum seekers in Israel, while the other half will be granted permanent status to remain in Israel.

“We commend this humane action by the Israeli government to suspend the highly problematic plan to deport tens of thousands of asylum seekers to Africa, where many prior deportees have at times faced violence and even life-threatening conditions,” said Jonathan Greenblatt, ADL CEO.  “Israeli society has spent years grappling with this crisis, and working with the UNHCR and agreeing to absorb tens of thousands of asylum seekers into Israel is both an ethical and Jewish approach to this issue. We applaud the Israeli government for its efforts to resolve this challenging crisis responsibly.”

In an open letter with HIAS to the Israeli prime minister, ADL previously criticized the Israeli government plan and called for it to be shelved in favor of a more humane and responsible approach.