Aid Organization for Refugees and Asylum Seekers in Israel

ASSAF’s petition against the Minister of Social Affairs and Social Services (December 2016)

In December 2016, ASSAF petitioned against the Minister of Social Affairs and Social Services (Ministry of Welfare), in order to make social services departments throughout the country available to asylum seekers. This petition deals with the Minister of Welfare and Social Services’ duty to enable people with no official status and who legally reside in Israel, particularly asylum seekers, to receive welfare services according to their needs.

 

Asylum seekers constitute one of the weakest, most vulnerable populations in Israel. Many of them face various difficulties and post-trauma due to the highly traumatic experiences that they endured in their countries of origin and on their way to Israel, such as rape, kidnapping, torture and abuse. As a result of the deliberate policy of the State of Israel, which defined the asylum seekers’ residency in Israel as temporary and as such does not entitle them to any rights, many of them are in a perpetual state of survival.
 

Nevertheless, social services units do not provide asylum seekers in need, as they are defined by the law and regulations, with any social treatment, except for in limited cases. This is due to the directives of the Minister of Social Affairs and Social Services. The State Comptroller has criticized this policy harshly in the State Comptroller's Report 64C (2014) and in the follow-up report (2018). This is a policy that contradicts the law in Israel, as well as some international conventions to which Israel is a signatory. It is an administrative decision that was adopted without any authorization, enforcing discrimination and violating international law and the Basic Laws of the State of Israel.