Aid Organization for Refugees and Asylum Seekers in Israel

Director's Forward

Tali Ehrenthal, MSW, ASSAF's Executive Director (photographer: Daniel Dotan). T-shirt slogan: "Proud to Support Refugees"

As I was studying to become a social worker, refugees from Sudan and Eritrea started to arrive in Israel in large numbers. 

As a descendent of Holocaust survivors who lost their loved ones and lived for many years as refugees, I saw great importance in supporting those who experienced loss and displacement due to harsh circumstances, and found themselves in a foreign land, without assistance from its authorities. I therefore made up my mind to combine my vocation as a social worker with my desire to help refugees and asylum seekers in Israel.

Over the years, I took on a number of positions in the field, as a volunteer and an employee, and among other roles, directed the psycho-social department at ASSAF. I gained valuable, extensive experience in working with refugees, and became deeply familiar with their harsh living conditions in Israel.

Today, I am proud to lead ASSAF organization, which supports those who escaped dictatorships, genocide and war – women and men who have been persecuted, kidnapped, survived horrendous torture in their homeland and en route when seeking asylum. I am proud to head the dedicated and professional team of this NGO, which works tirelessly to advance the welfare and rights of asylum seekers in Israel, seeking to benefit Israeli society as a whole.

Many challenges still face us in our struggle for the rights of asylum seekers: the detention and deportation policy is yet to be revoked, and the fear of its execution is constant; the cruel Deposit Law, which appropriates a share of asylum seekers’ salaries, continues to push them into  extreme poverty; the authorities continue to deny access to basic rights for asylum seekers, disproportionately affecting the most vulnerable among them, such as torture survivors and women. While many asylum seekers continue to struggle with their traumatic past, the abusive and discriminatory policy of Israel’s recent governments makes it difficult for them to rehabilitate and stand on their own two feet.

For some time now, the political atmosphere in Israel has allowed for infringement on the rights of minorities and marginalized groups, as well as activists and NGOs working to advance their rights. In this environment, we at ASSAF renew our commitment to never stand idly by in the face of political and social injustice. We are determined to continue fighting for asylum seekers, providing them with humanitarian and psycho-social care, and acting to change policies affecting their lives.

The work of our organization could not have succeeded without our dedicated team of volunteers and the support of individuals and foundations who care about refugee and human rights. I invite you to take part in some of our activities, either by volunteering or donating, and join us in supporting the community of asylum seekers in Israel.


Tali Ehrenthal

November 2019