Aid Organization for Refugees and Asylum Seekers in Israel


Female asylum seekers in Israel suffer from a particularly high level of vulnerability. They fled their native countries because of war or persecution; many of them survived torture camps in Sinai, where they underwent brutal rape and abuse, and now they live in Israel, deprived of rights and status, a female minority in communities that have a significant majority of men. Many of the asylum seekers who turn to human rights organizations for help are women in situations of extreme poverty, single mothers and women who are abused by their partners. The tension family members experience due to past experiences and the current reality in Israel, changes in family structure following migration, contacts with the local population absorbing the migrants and cultural gaps that undermine traditional family roles - these are all sources of severe conflicts within the family unit. The lack of recognized traditional community structures meant to settle disputes within the family makes it difficult to find natural solutions to these conflicts, leaving the situation as it is or even leading to its deterioration.

The only help available to asylum seekers who are victims of domestic violence, and it is limited and lacking, is the emergency protection in shelters  provided to abused women, for a short time. Many women who are victims of their partners’ daily violence, but are not officially defined “in immediate danger “, do not receive any ongoing accompaniment by welfare officials, and remain exposed to continuous abuse


Abandoned - single mothers seeking asylum in Israel - March 2016

Female asylum seekers, who are also single mothers, and their children, are the most vulnerable groups in the population of asylum seekers. The Abandoned report is the result of research conducted at the ASSAF Center for ​​Advocacy and Support. It examined the characteristics and mapped the needs of asylum seeking single mothers, the ones who approached us. The report details the difficult and complicated situation these women are in: women who suffer from a past that has left them with emotional and physical damages, and from an unbearable reality of life that creates a cycle of terror, they are thus not enabled  to function properly as mothers and to care for themselves and for their children. Currently, the system does not help those women who are left helpless, while their dependence on others brings only to their continued exposure to violence and exploitation.

Position paper: Women who seek asylum in Israel – vulnerable and exploited with no

Below is the position paper we served the members of the Committee on the Status of Women, as part of the guided tour in the footsteps of female asylum seekers we offered on March 13, 2016. The tour began with a visit to the ASSAF offices, continued throughout Neve Shaanan, and concluded with a discussion at the Eritrean Women’s Center. Alongside the committee, representatives of local authorities, social organizations and women from the community of asylum seekers were also present. Asylum seekers in Israel are vulnerable and are exposed to extreme hardship, and many of them are victims of trafficking, torture and domestic violence, and are single mothers. The absence of a systemic response from the authorities, led by the Ministries of Health and Welfare, allows the deterioration of life-threatening situations as the distress becomes even worse.

(Link:) In Hebrew: Position Paper female asylum seekers in Israel March 2016.pdf

A testimony by S., an asylum seeker from Eritrea who came to Israel in 2011 after six

MK Zahava Gal-On (Meretz) read this testimony at the special Committee on the Status of Women to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Domestic Violence.

(Link:) Watch S’s testimony

Women Asylum Seekers Victims of Domestic Violence - Position Paper November 2015

Below is the position paper on the topic of asylum seekers who are victims of domestic violence. We presented the paper to the Committee on the Status of Women and Gender Equality on the 23rd of November 2015, at a special discussion marking the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. Many women asylum seekers fall victim to domestic violence, however without a status in Israel and without access to social services, except for the most extreme cases, they are often left helpless and susceptible to violence against themselves and their children. With no other choice, they are often coerced to go back to their violent partner and to the cycle of violence. Therefore, women asylum seekers who are victims of domestic violence, should be included in any national-level plan in the prevention and fight against domestic violence


 Position Paper women asylum seekers Victims of Domestic Violence November 2015.pdf