Aid Organization for Refugees and Asylum Seekers in Israel

Welfare and Health

Health services
  • Asylum-seekers have no access to health services and medical care, except in emergency situations. In the absence of accessible health care and preventive care, asylum-seekers go to hospitals when their condition deteriorates and requires urgent intervention. Since the National Health Insurance Law does not apply to asylum-seekers and the great majority have no private insurance, the hospitals are absorbing the cost of treatment and hospitalization and accumulating uncollectible debts.


Asylum seekers in Israel without access to welfare services

A survey of groups within the asylum-seekers population affected by lack of access to welfare services, based on Assaf's experience in the field: minors, female victims of abuse, victims of trafficking and torture in Sinai and individuals with health problems.


Asylum seekers in Israel - the housing plight and the homeless: survey and current state of affairs

Many asylum-seekers released from detention lack familial and community support networks, and find themselves without aid and without housing. Dozens of them spend their nights in the Levinsky Park near the main bus station in Tel Aviv, without a roof over their heads, surviving on a meager and often starvation diet. In winter 2011-2012 we published a survey of the housing plight and of the situation of homeless asylum-seekers in Tel Aviv. We submitted it to a UN representative who came from Geneva to examine the issue of the homeless in Israel.

Efforts to Prevent the Deportation of Children in Outside Home Placement

With the commencement of the deportations to Sudan, described by the Ministry of the Interior as "voluntary return",  Assaf began to receive appeals regarding children from South Sudan in placement outside the home (boarding schools), whose families were about to be deported, On June 20 2012, we submitted a petition to the High Court against the Ministries of Welfare and the Interior through Adv. Yonatan Berman (of the Human Rights Section of the Ramat Gan Academic Center), demanding that boys and girls removed from parental custody voluntarily or by order of the youth court be returned to their parents only after an examination by the professional welfare authorities or alternatively after the youth court decided that they were no longer at risk . In response to the petition, the two ministries announced that children in placement outside the home would not be returned to their parents until after application of the procedures specified by law, and that the welfare authorities would examine whether the child would be at risk if returned to the parents. We at Assaf withdrew our petition and have closely observed the conduct of the two ministries in order to ensure that they are complying with the law.

Children and Minors

The rights of child asylum-seekers in Israel are contravened on a daily basis in almost every way.

In 2013 we wrote a report on the contravention of the rights of child asylum-seekers. We presented the report to the UN Committee on the Rights of Children (Geneva) as part of a wider report on violation of children's rights in Israel.

In May 2013, the State Comptroller's report included his opinion on the treatment of status-less minors. He exposed the failures and omissions of the Ministry of Welfare with regard to minors without status, including the children of asylum-seekers and pointed out various  grave flaws. The Comptroller emphasized the Ministry of Welfare's disregard for its responsibility towards these minors, pointed out its direct responsibility and stated that the Ministry's Director General should take immediate action to regulate treatment of these minors. He declared that the Ministry's policy was in violation of the provisions of Israel's Youth Law and possibly also of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.