There are tens of thousands of African refugees living in Israel, Muslims and Christians from countries such as South Sudan, Darfur and Eritrea. Most live in the Tel Aviv area, and there are a significant number who live and work in Eilat and other towns in the south of Israel. There are about 2,000 who live in the Jerusalem area.
These people live in the worst conditions, work in the worst conditions, and, outside of Tel Aviv, no one is taking care of them. No municipal authorities, no NGO’s, no human rights organizations. We could not let this situation continue. We contacted the Jerusalem Municipality, and they described an unreal situation – they had the space available for an office to help political asylum seekers, but they had logistical difficulties in hiring personnel. Since helping asylum seekers fits within our mandate of empowering all Jerusalem groups to work with service providers and therefore resolving inter-cultural conflict, we decided to step in, and provided the funds necessary to hire a part-time professional. This is the only worker dedicated to helping African asylum seekers outside the Tel Aviv area. It is something we should be proud of.