Aid Organization for Refugees and Asylum Seekers in Israel

Despite Supreme Court Ruling, New Anti-Infiltration Law Amendment will Detain Asylum Seekers Indefinitely

Date: 3.12.13

Two months after the High Court struck down an amendment that allowed Israel to imprison asylum seekers for up to three years without trial, the Knesset is on the verge of passing a new amendment, which will permit the incarceration of asylum seekers entering Israel for a year without trial, and confinement of old and new asylum seekers in an "open detention facility" for an unlimited period of time. 

This "open detention facility" is in fact a prison run by the Israeli Prison Service, in a remote and isolated part of the Negev desert. Asylum seekers who are held there would be required to present themselves for a count three times a day, and the facility will be completely closed at night. Detainees will not be permitted to work outside of the center. 

The government plans to spend 440 million NIS per year to facilitate this program – money that would be better spent on improved infrastructure and services in south Tel Aviv. A new detention center will surely not alleviate the misery of the 53,000 asylum seekers who are not currently living in jail, nor improve the lives of Israeli residents of south Tel Aviv.