Aid Organization for Refugees and Asylum Seekers in Israel

Women

Women asylum seekers in Israel - situation report
For the most part, women asylum seekers in Israel are extremely vulnerable. They had escaped their home countries following wars, dictatorships and persecution, and many of them survived torture in camps in Sinai, where they were brutally raped and abused. In Israel, they live as a minority, deprived of rights and status, in communities dominated by men. 
 
Most recent data to be found about the number of women asylum seekers in Israel are from 2014-2015. According to the Population and Immigration Authority, more than 7,000 women asylum seekers were living in Israel at the above period, with 3,340 listed as mothers.
 
As a result of their lack of status, women asylum seekers are especially exposed to offensive employment and exploitation by various functions. They are all too likely to experience additional hardships, on top of what they have already been through, including exploitation at work, domestic violence, harassment and sexual assault. Moreover, unlike Israeli citizens, those among them who are single mothers are not entitled to any particular assistance from the authorities in Israel, and they are denied the support of social security and welfare services.
 
Many of the women asylum seekers who turn to ASSAF for help are women experiencing extreme poverty, single mothers, and women who suffer domestic violence. The stress experienced by all family members as a result of past events and their current realty in Israel, the changes in family composition following migration, and the cultural gaps and difficulties arising from the encounter with the absorbing population - destabilize many families and can result in severe domestic conflicts. The lack of traditional community-based mechanisms that can serve as moderators in cases of family disputes makes it very difficult to find organic solutions for these conflicts, leaving the situation as it is and even driving it toward escalation.
 
The only limited help which is granted by the authorities to women asylum seekers who are victims of domestic violence, is at emergency shelters that can provide them with short term protection. However, this sort of help is only given to those who are classified by the authorities as living under immediate danger. 
 
In practice, many women who are victims of domestic violence are not classified as living under immediate danger, and therefore they are not accompanied by welfare authorities. The current system therefore keeps them exposed to continuous assault.
 
ASSAF’s work on behalf of women

ASSAF NGO is standing at the very front of public activity that promotes rights and services for women asylum seekers in Israel.

The scope of our public advocacy work on behalf of women is wide: in the parliamentary arena, we work extensively with relevant Members of Knesset, and with Knesset committees dedicated to women’s status, rights, and well-being.  We maintain ties and collaborate with civil society organizations for women and children’s rights, and advocate for women in front of the authorities.  

Additionally, ASSAF is aiding women asylum seekers directly through various psychosocial aid programs, and specifically through the designated women’s aid program

Selected documents in English:
Shadow report: Briefing to the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) (October 2017)
Report: Abandoned: Single Mother Asylum Seekers in Israel (March 2016)
Position paper: Women Asylum Seekers Victims of Domestic Violence (November 2015)

 

Hebrew readers can find additional material on our Hebrew website.